DAVAO CITY—Amid reports that some Liberal Party members are balking at the need to join the super-majority in the House of Representatives, incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez maintained no committee chairmanship will be given to the minority.
Alvarez, the just-elected congressman of Davao del Norte, said even former committee chairmen will not be given any chairmanship if they are in the minority.
“If they will be in the minority, yes [no chairmanship for them], but if they will join the majority there is a possibility that some of them will get chairmanship,” Alvarez told journalists after the Consultative Workshop with the Business Community here.
He said several members of the Liberal Party expressed intention to join the Partidong Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) but incumbent Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. indicated that not all LP members are keen on joining the coalition Alvarez forged in the House.
Belmonte said that while LP members may “eventually” join the coalition, there is no problem with Alvarez stand since restricting committee chairmanships to members of the majority “is the norm.”
Belmonte said it has been a tradition in the House that no committee chairmanships be allocated for the opposition, except for the House committee on ethics.
The House ethics committee is the panel that hears complaints or attends to matters pertaining to the conduct of House members.
Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, 1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III, the designated Labor secretary of the Duterte administration, and Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano III echoed Belmonte’s statement.
“Based on my experience, I think that is the practice, “ Bello said, while Tiangco, president of the United Nationalist Alliance, (UNA) said he hopes the House leadership will preserve the tradition of assigning the ethics committee to a minority member.
“Yes, we hope so, to ensure that it will not be based purely on ‘numbers’ just in case a complaint is filed against any of the members of the House of Representatives,” Tiangco said.
Albano said it is nececssary for the committee of ethics to be headed by a minority member “to level the playing field” and “ensure checks and balances.”
Meanwhile, Alvarez said the Makabayan bloc in the House has also expressed their intention to the coalition.
“We have talked with them [and] they have manifested their intention to join the majority. We are just waiting when can we sign the coalition agreement,” Alvarez said.
The incoming ruling party PDP-Laban has signed a coalition with the Nacionalista Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition, National Unity Party and Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats. Talks are also still on going with Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance party.
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