Solons appeal to Alvarez: Don't oust anti-death penalty leaders

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2017 08:31 PM | Updated as of Mar 17 2017 01:21 PM

MANILA (UPDATED) - Congressmen who voted against the death penalty bill should not be kicked out of the House leadership.

This is the appeal of several solons amid the threat of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that lawmakers who opposed the reimposition of the death penalty would be stripped of their leadership posts.

Cagayan Rep. Randolph S. Ting discouraged the House leadership from making any changes now.

"I believe that they should maintain the status quo at present because it will not be good for Congress if this will be implemented," Ting said, referring to the Alvarez's threat.

Zamboanga Rep. Celso Lobregat agreed with Ting.

"Well, in a way, tama din si Congressman Ting. More or less you will...no Quimbo, but also Congressman Ting also agreed. Maybe, why rock the boat? For me, I think the Speaker knows best," said Lobregat.

"It was made very clear by the House Leadership that we will vote according to our conscience," added Lobregat, who voted yes to the bill.

House Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo also advised against carrying out the threat against fellow Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and 10 other congressmen in leadership positions.

Quimbo said it was unlikely that Arroyo, who had already suffered detention for several years, would be intimidated by the threat of loss of leadership position.

Quimbo also reiterated that the Liberal Party is standing by Congresswoman Josephine Sato, who earlier today said that only the Liberal Party (LP) can remove her from the Commission on Appointments (CA).

Sato is among those who voted against the death penalty.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, meanwhile, said that members of the CA, whose members have the rank of a committee chairman, are exempted from the policy. He explained that the Commission is a constitutional body whose membership is determined by the number of seats each party occupies, and that the LP has enough numbers in Congress for it to have a member in the CA.

Fariñas also said he does not expect to see changes in the House Leadership anytime soon since the caucus of those who voted for the death penalty bill has decided to send back the matter to Speaker Alvarez for his final decision.

But Fariñas added that there would no exemptions if Alvarez decides to make good on his threat to strip leadership posts from anti-death penalty solons.