MANILA - Opposition lawmakers are taunting the House leadership to make good on its threats against congressmen who voted against the administration's death penalty bill.
“Who would be intimidated next time around by a leader who wields a dud? The threat of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to oust those who would vote against the death penalty bill from their key leadership positions has turned out to be a mere scheming braggadocio,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said in a statement.
“The House leadership knew beforehand that the Speaker’s intimidation and pressure could not prevent committed anti-death penalty advocates in voting against against H.B. No. 4727 as they were ready to suffer the adverse consequences of their conscience vote. The real targets of the Speaker’s intimidation were the more numerous members who lack courage and will to defy him," he added.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano also challenged Alvarez to sack the anti-death penalty lawmakers.
“Dapat kung ano sinabi nila dapat tuparin nila dahil sa tingin namin tumayo ang mga nagboto ng no regardless of the consequences kasi tinreathen lahat,” Alejano said.
“They should consummate that para mapakitang sincere sila sa kanilang statements. Of course kapag sinabi niya di niya tinupad, wala ka hong isang salita lalong lalo na pag ikaw ay may mahalagang posisyon sa gobyerno.”
For Alejano, the leadership made a big mistake.
"Doon naman sa simula iyun kung tutuluyan, sinabi nga natin 'di ba magiging takutan na lang iyan, hindi base sa prinsipyo,” he said.
Alejano thinks the threats should have been made privately.
He added that those at the receiving end of threats also put themselves at risk by holding on to their positions.
Reached for comments, House leaders shrugged off the taunting.
House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said of Lagman's comments, "Pure intrigue smacking of a self-proclamation of a monopoly of virtues."
“I cannot believe that a senior and veteran legislators can call his 217 colleagues who did not share his views such insulting and demeaning terms. Yet, they were claiming that my remarks that their amendments were not honest-to-goodness were unparliamentary. I assailed their amendments but most certainly not their character, integrity, honor or motives."
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said, "Too early to say."
ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, chairman of the Public Information Committee and one of those who voted against the bill, said in a statement, "Whether or not the Speaker makes good on his threat to remove those who voted 'no' from leadership positions; whether all will be removed, or some, or none at all, will depend on their assessment of the balance of forces within the super majority."