'Not authentic minority?' Lagman questions new House minority leader
MANILA – Abang Lingkod party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano should not be the minority leader of the House of Representatives because he voted for Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco, an independent opposition lawmaker said Thursday.
“Under the rules, he's considered a member of majority because he himself admitted he voted for Speaker Velasco then he's not an authentic minority when he was elected minority leader,” Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman told “Matters of Fact”.
Paduano assumed the minority leadership this week after being elected unanimously by the minority bloc. He replaced Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. who stepped down from his post to join the majority bloc under Velasco’s leadership.
The party-list lawmaker can only become a member of the minority by making a written request to the majority leader of his intention, Lagman said.
He expressed concern that when a minority leader is anointed by the leadership, “then their efforts to fiscalize will be extremely limited.”
“It is important that the minority will be cooperative with the leadership of the House but never subservient,” Lagman said.
“That’s why I’ve said that in the House of Representatives, there are 2 blocks in the majority. One is numerous supermajority and another is a small occupation of majority allies who masquerade as minority,” he added.
Although this was done before, citing the example of then Quezon 3rd District Rep. Danilo Suarez who voted in favor of then Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Lagman said such violation can’t be legitimized.
“No violation of tradition or rule of the House can be established as a precedent because such violation can't be legitimized by subsequent similar infractions,” he said.
In an earlier interview, Paduano promised that the minority under his leadership would become an effective fiscalizer.
“The advantage is the minority will have needed rapport with the Speaker and the House leadership without sacrificing the fiscalizer role and the balancing role of the minority,” he said in Filipino.
Paduano also maintained he was elected unanimously by minority bloc members.
“Binoto ako unanimous. How can you influence, how can you co-opt the Makabayan bloc?... We operate in the principle of we agree to disagree,” he said.