MANILA, Philippines – Quezon 3rd District Representative Danilo Suarez shrugged off the plan of the House’s so-called “Legitimate 8” bloc to contest his election as House Minority Leader before the Supreme Court.
“Bring it on…. Sasamahan ko pa sila (I’ll even join them),” said Suarez on Wednesday, August 17, a day after Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman reiterated their plan to petition before the High Court to stop Suarez’s minority leadership.
Lagman belongs to the Legitimate 8 bloc, the name of an 8-member group in the House of Representatives that insists that Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr is the true minority leader.
Suarez and Baguilat both ran for House Speaker along with Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez, who eventually won the race with 251 votes. Baguilat got 8 votes while Suarez received 7.
Traditionally, the runner-up becomes minority leader. But House Majority Leader and committee on rules chairperson Rudy Fariñas said that, as per House rules, all those who did not vote for Alvarez automatically becomes a part of the minority bloc that will hold separate elections to determine their leader.
This was how Suarez became the House Minority Leader, but the Legitimate 8 members did not participate in the said elections.
On Wednesday, Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza said Lagman’s group has no right to oppose Suarez’s victory because they failed to join the minority polls.
“Sino 'yun? Bitter 8? Puro bitterness. Hindi naman puwedeng leadership by assertion. Nag-election kami eh. Tapos na 'yan at wala sila doon,” said Atienza.
(Who are they? Bitter 8? They are filled with bitterness. We cannot have leadership by assertion. We had an election. That’s over and they did not attend.)