Despite party-list expulsion, Harry Roque still a congressman, fellow lawmaker says

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2017 07:48 PM

Even though the Kabayan party list has decided to remove Rep. Harry Roque from its ranks, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said on Wednesday that the embattled lawmaker officially remains a congressman pending a more thorough review of his status.

The House of Representatives has yet to rule on Roque's supposed expulsion from Kabayan and the party list's decision to remove him has yet to even reach the Speaker's desk, Fariñas said. 

"One is contesting or saying that the other has been ousted, but he is still the member (of Congress). So darating kay Speaker yan, ano ba iyong kanilang papers (If this gets to the Speaker, do they have the documents)?” Fariñas said, adding that there are many schools of thought regarding the removal of lawmakers from Congress.

"One is that the Commission of Elections (COMELEC) will decide, the other one says, it's the House of Representatives’ Electoral Tribunal. Pag-aaralan naming mabuti (We will study this carefully), then we will hear both parties."

In the meantime, Fariñas asked Kabayan members to mend fences as soon as possible.

If they don't resolve their issues, Fariñas said, Kabayan will be asked to go on leave from the Committee on Rules, which Fariñas chairs. 

“Call ng chairman or majority leader as to who are the members. Hindi pwede na dalawa ang members ng committee on rules,” he said. 

(It is the chairman or majority leader’s call who to include as members. No party is allowed to have two members of the committee on rules.)

Roque told reporters that he remains a congressman and proof is that he was recognized as such in a committee hearing earlier on Wednesday. Roque and his party's 2nd nominee, Ron Salo, has been feuding since last year over party matters.

Last week, Roque sought the expulsion of Salo from the House after the latter filed a disbarment case against Roque with the Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, Kabayan said Roque was “removed” as representative due to "loss of trust and confidence" and "an overwhelming call among Kabayan party list members and supporters."

The party’s statement further said that "Roque's behavior, acts, and statements (were seen) as severely damaging to the party list.”