MANILA (UPDATE) — Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. on Friday said he was stepping down as head of the minority bloc to join the House majority under the helm of newly-installed Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
"Ako po ngayon ay sasama sa majority," Abante said.
(I will now join the majority.)
In his final speech as minority leader, Abante expressed confidence in the new leadership, citing Velasco's "pro people agenda."
"[I have] full trust in the new leadership in its pursuit of a legislative agenda that is not only pro people, but more importantly, responsive to the need to provide effective and sufficient interventions to control the COVID-19 pandemic," Abante said.
He then thanked his "minority family" and asked them to "judiciously" pick their next leader.
"I have come to think of the minority bloc as my extended family here in the House... Marami po ang ating pinagdaanan, and I will always cherish the time we worked together," Abante said.
"I trust that the minority family will judiciously choose their next leader."
Abante served as minority leader for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress.
He earlier said the minority bloc was committed to work with Velasco, especially in passing the proposed 2021 national budget.
He said on Thursday he was willing to relinquish his post if ousted Speaker Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano decides to join the minority bloc.
Cayetano's party-mates, however, denied this.
—With a report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News