‘Authentic’ minority in House pressed

AN opposition solon is appealing to the next Speaker of the 18th Congress to let an “authentic” minority bloc emerge.

In an interview, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said they are asking President Rodrigo Duterte to field only one administration candidate.

Doing so, Lagman said, the opposition can challenge the anointed one which would result in having a genuine minority group.

To date, all of the contenders for Speakership position are allies of President Duterte, namely, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales.

According to Lagman they will join the race especially if the President will only allow one candidate from the administration.

“Yes we will field our own candidate, we want to get the Minority bloc,” he said in a press conference.

“What we are calling [for] now is okay, be the President’s man, but you should be able to really protect and respect the emergence and formation of an authentic minority,” Lagman also said.

In the 17th Congress, the leadership did not recognize Lagman’s group as the Minority.

Lagman and 6 other independent lawmakers collectively known as the “Magnificent 7” had unsuccessfully challenged Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez’s election as minority leader before the Supreme Court in 2016.

“If they field a common candidate, then the minority can also have their own candidate who would subsequently become the minority leader,” he said.

“There should be an authentic minority leader who could represent the true minority in the House and who could articulate differing views and alternative agenda, can be a sentinel of the people’s collective welfare and at the same time, should not be beholden to the administration or the supermajority,” he added.