OPINION: As simple as that

Teddy Locsin Jr., ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 28 2016 01:06 AM

It is simple. Congressman from Ifugao Teddy Baguilat is, by the rules of the House of Representatives, by tradition, and in plain logic, the Minority leader.

The House gave the most votes for speaker to Bebot Alvarez of the party of the President. It gave the second most votes to Teddy Baguilat of the Liberal Party, whose presidential candidate came in second also. The least number of votes went to Danny Suarez of UNA, which came in miserably in the last election.

Twenty-one abstained and that took them out of the political equation.

Toby Tiangco of UNA no less explained that the 21 are now independents—until they declare for the Minority under Baguilat or the Majority under Bebot—if either will take them because that is the exclusive priority of each one of the two.

Danny himself voted with the majority for Alvarez. He had a chance to tie with Baguilat but he chose to join the majority instead. That is why the vote came out 8 for Teddy and 7 for Danny.

To be sure, Danny explained that he wrote a letter to Alvarez asking if he could be in the minority, while voting for him with the majority. That way he could act in behalf of the Majority as head of the Minority.

I think the drug problem has reached Congress.

The letter got the reaction it deserved—Bebot ignored it.

Not that Bebot can amend the rules of the House to allow a private letter to change the character of a vote that is cast. Besides, the fiver deputy minority leaders with Baguilat, who are automatic members of the Committee on Rules as Edcel Lagman pointed out, will not let him.

And so Teddy Baguilat became the Minority leader—until yesterday when the 21 people who already voted to be independent met as a putative minority and voted for Suarez to lead them as head of the minority to which Suarez cannot belong because he voted with the Majority. For that matter, the 21 who voted to be independent cannot compose a minority to vote for anything as such. To be sure, Danny could head an independent bloc—if he were not disqualified by having voted with the majority for Alvarez.

Where again does that leave Teddy Baguilat? Why it leaves him exactly where the House vote did; second to Alvarez and therefore head of the Minority.

And so, in dealing with the Minority, in assigning committee seats to them in the House, not to mention forking out the traditional P500 million in pork to the Minority head, the Speaker of the House can speak only to Baguilat and not to Suarez who is a member of the Majority.

Not surprisingly Toby Tiangco, one of the smartest men in the House, bolted from his party, leaving UNA without a shred of the integrity that he alone possessed in that party.

Sticking with Teddy are the most distinguished names in the history of the House, the likes of Edcel Lagman and Raul Daza.

In this country, even after a resounding defeat, ignominy never calls it quits.