September 13, 2018 at 01:05 am
Rey E. Requejo and Maricel V. Cruz
Minority lawmakers, led by Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, have asked the Supreme Court to invalidate the minority leadership of Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez and instead install their leader, ABS Party-list Rep. Eugene de Vera, as the duly elected minority leader.
Fariñas’ bloc sought the nullification of the Suarez’s leadership of the minority for being allegedly unconstitutional and a violation of House rules.
But the bloc led by Suarez on Wednesday played down the petition questioning the legitimacy of his bloc as the duly constituted opposition recognized by Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
At a news conference, party-list Reps. Alfredo Garbin of Ako-Bicol and Salvador Belaro Jr. of Ang Edukasyon, both lawyers and members of the 45-man Suarez bloc, said the petition filed by Fariñas would be dismissed.
“I think the Supreme Court will not arrogate upon themselves the power of the plenary which recognized Congressman Danny Suarez and our group as the duly constituted minority,” Garbin said.
Fariñas’ bloc claimed that De Vera should be recognized as the minority leader after most of Suarez’s bloc abandoned the minority by voting for Arroyo during the leadership change at the House on July 23.
The petitioners said Suarez himself voted for Arroyo as Speaker.
Citing House Rule II Section 8, the petitioners said the “members who vote for the winning candidate for Speaker shall constitute the Majority in the House and they shall elect from among themselves the Majority Leader.”
The petitioners said Arroyo and Majority Leader Andaya committed a “grave abuse of discretion” for continuing to recognize Suarez as the incumbent minority leader.
“In recognizing, and continuing to recognize Respondent Suarez as the Minority Leader in the HOR and refusing to recognize Petitioner De Vera as such Minority Leader, Respondents GMA and Andaya have committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction by unlawfully excluding, and continuing to unlawfully exclude, Petitioner De Vera from the full exercise of his mandate and those of his co-Petitioners as the duly constituted Minority,” the petition says.
Impleaded as respondents were Arroyo, Andaya, and Suarez.
The petitioners also sought the issuance of a status quo ante order “in order to preserve the last actual, peaceable and uncontested situation before the controversy” by recognizing De Vera as minority leader, as well as a temporary restraining order against the respondents to cease and desist from recognizing Suarez as such minority leader.