MANILA - The House of Representatives has formally recognized on Monday the election of Abang Lingkod party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano as the new Minority Leader of the chamber.
Senior Deputy Minority Leader Janette Garin made the manifestation during the chamber's plenary session in behalf of the 23-man bloc.
Garin was selected in the minority’s own election last month following the resignation of Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante, Jr. from the post.
Paduano addressed his colleagues after his election was recognized.
“On October 19, 2020, members of the Minority convened and decided to elect by a unanimous vote this humble representation, Your Honors, Mr. Speaker. To this, I am very grateful to the Minority Bloc for the overwhelming vote of confidence. This is one of the most diverse House minority - with six members coming from the Makabayan Bloc, eight from Partylist Coalition Foundation, four from Liberal Party, three from Nasyonalista Party, one from National Unity Party and another one from the Nationalist People's Coalition,” he said.
“As a leader, I will not embrace all and every ideologies of the members, but I will surely respect each of them. Considering the distinct party principles, I expect contrasting views and opinions on any issue that we have to discuss and decide upon. But I am determined to find ways in order to harmonize these mindsets whenever possible and put forth a common stand that is acceptable to everybody. However, when dissenting opinions appear to be irreconcilable, I would encourage each minority member to cast their vote on legislations according to the dictates of their conscience,” he added.
“To cite an example, we took different positions on the proposed program fund for National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). While some members of the minority were against it, this representation, void of any personal interest, voted in favor of the Support to the Barangay Development Program of the task force that intends to help more than 800 barangays in the countryside. On the other hand, this same representation, challenged the red- tagging scheme employed by the military against the members of the Makabayan bloc. It is an inherent duty of the institution to protect its members against vicious, baseless and unfounded accusation, unless a substantial evidence is presented, and an appropriate case is filed before a competent court.”
Paduano assumed the minority leadership in October after being elected unanimously by the minority bloc. He replaced Abante who stepped down from his post to join the majority bloc under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.