House minority to be a 'conscience bloc': presumptive leader


Posted at Jul 23 2019 09:39 AM | Updated as of Jul 23 2019 09:57 AM

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MANILA -- The minority in the House of Representatives will be a "conscience bloc," its presumptive leader said Tuesday.

Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante, who is expected to be elected and assume his post later in the day, denied he was fielded by the majority and said he spoke to the 3 Speaker aspirants but remained undecided on who to support.

"I thought about my position in Congress. Praying about it, I said I think it’s better for me to be a fiscalizer and independent," he said.

"I opted to put up a conscience bloc in Congress, being an independent. I don’t have any party at the time."

Abante was nominated for House Speaker against Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano by Iloilo Rep. Janet Garin, a former health secretary, and AKO Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr.

With only 2 candidates for speaker, the loser is expected to become minority leader. The Makabayan bloc was among those who voted for Abante.

Abante said he would give his colleagues freedom to express their advocacy but hoped they would "critically collaborate" with the majority and the administration.

"I would want a minority that is not just for opposing everything but we would like to be a minority that would perhaps objectively, critically collaborate with the administration," he said.

"The thing is we promised the Filipino people that we will fiscalize, we will support the government, and we will support the objectives when we know it is for the interest of the Filipino people."