Quimbo to challenge Suarez minority leadership before SC

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 07 2018 08:07 PM | Updated as of Aug 08 2018 01:59 AM

(UPDATED) MANILA - Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Romero "Miro" Quimbo said Tuesday his camp will assail the recognition of Quezon 3rd District Rep. Danilo Suarez as minority leader before the Supreme Court.  

Quimbo was among 3 lawmakers seeking recognition as the opposition chief. He said his camp earned the acknowledgment after they abstained during Arroyo's election.

"We have to make a determination because there’s a new decision na taliwas sa desisyon ng Korte Suprema. Hindi lang ito for today but for future Congresses," Quimbo told reporters.

"We expect over the next few days maihain na natin. The respondent will be the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, and the former Minority Leader Danny Suarez.”

Quimbo claimed the Suarez camp made threats to discourage congressmen from joining Quimbo’s bloc.

“Maraming threats nanggagaling din sa minority 'yung, dating minority, 'yung newly recognized fake minority nanggagaling sa kanila ang banta. 'Bakit kayo andiyan, wala ba kayong kalaban sa susunod na eleksiyon, hindi niyo ba gusto magkaroon ng budget?" he said.

Quimbo however held House Speaker Gloria Arroyo to her commitment that she will not give zero budget to lawmakers who oppose her. 

“Hindi nababawasan ang miyembro namin. They're pressuring our members, iba't ibang banta ang ginagawa pero naniniwala kami sa representation na sinabi na ng ating Speaker na 'di niya i-zezero, 'di niya paparusahan sa tindig ng miyembro," he said.

In filing their case, Quimbo said they will argue the SC said in its previous ruling that the House cannot abuse its powers.

”Malinaw 'yung Korte Suprema nung sinabi nila hindi puwede i-abuse 'yung power na ito. Nagiging abusive siya kung binabago mo ang rules pagkatapos na ang botohan," he said.

"Tapos na botohan we were clearly the minority under the rules bigla sinabi nila hindi kayo ang minority dahil gusto namin baguhin as the plenary we can change the rules anytime."

Quimbo said the rules can be changed before any decision is made. 

“Yes, you can so long as the rules are changed before the decision is made," he said.

Quimbo leads a 25-man bloc, which he claims will grow.

'FAKE MINORITY'

In a statement, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat said he supports the plan of Quimbo to file a case before SC, questioning Suarez's installation as minority leader.

“The House of Representatives is doing a harakiri by retaining a fake minority. Choosing Cong. Quimbo over Cong. Suarez would have improved the people’s trust in the lawmaking ability of the lower house," he said. 

With Suarez at the helm of the minority while keeping close ties with Arroyo, Baguilat said there's no real voice of the opposition in the lower chamber.

"Having a true opposition in the House is a vital part of our democratic process. Sadly, that has been compromised because there is no real minority in the House, and there has not been one since 2016," he said.

Despite of it, Baguilat said this will not stop him or other lawmakers from calling out any misconduct during House deliberations.

"That is our duty and I will not shirk from it," he said.

In 2016, Baguilat lost the minority leadership post to Suarez, who was elected in a caucus by those who did not vote for then House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.