LP may leave Congress supermajority, lawmaker says

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 06 2016 09:29 PM

MANILA – Members of the Liberal Party are now discussing whether the the party will leave the supermajority in Congress, an opposition lawmaker said Tuesday, following Vice President Leni Robredo’s resignation from the Cabinet.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, a member of the "Magnificent 7" at the House of Representatives, said there are now informal talks of a possible split from the coalition that is allied with President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Iyung usapin sa pagkalas... pinag-uusapan na ngayon pero wala pang desisyon kasi yung decision-making process dalawa iyan – House of Representatives saka sa Senado -- then ultimately ang partido kailangan magkaroon ng united stand,” Baguilat said.

Baguilat said there are currently 34 LP members in the Lower House, 5 of whom are in the opposition.

"Thirty-four tayong lahat sa Congress. Lima ang nasa minority, 29 ang nasa supermajority. Mayroong mga naatasan na officials ng partido ang kasalukuyang nakikipag usap sa members ng House of Representatives,” Baguilat said.

Robredo, who was appointed as housing czar five months ago, tendered her resignation Monday after being told to “desist” from attending Cabinet meetings.

Robredo, the highest elected official of the erstwhile ruling LP, said staying in the Cabinet was no longer tenable, citing "major differences" with Duterte and suspicions that a plot was underway to unseat her.

She said she will continue to support government programs but will voice stronger opposition to those “detrimental” to the interests of the Filipinos.

SACRIFICES

Baguilat said LP members at the House supermajority will have to make “sacrifices” in the event the part pushes through with the split, as some of the members belong to various committees.

"There will be sacrifices lalong lalo na’t may kasama na naatasang House leaders. Ngunit napapanahon na kailangan magkaroon ng deep reflection kung saan ba tayo lulugar for the next 6 years in this administration,” Baguilat said.

The Magnificent 7, which calls itself as the real minority in the House, earlier called on the other LP members in Congress to leave the supermajority and build a formidable opposition.

LP senators, however, said they will maintain the status quo at the upper chamber despite the departure of Robredo from the Cabinet.

Baguilat believes that the opposition will be reinvigorated once Robredo takes the lead.

Robredo was recently elected as LP’s interim chair, with Senator Francis Pangilinan as interim party president and Rep. Kit Belmonte as interim party secretary-general.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, another Magnificent 7 member, believes many of their partymates are willing to join them.

"Marami na pero we don’t want to telegraph our punches pagkat alam mo the walls have eyes and ears. Baka mapressure mga kasama naming,” he said.