Lagman: Petition vs Suarez not about LP seeking power

MANILA, Philippines – Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman denied the accusation of Quezon 3rd District Representative Danilo Suarez that the Liberal Party (LP) is behind the petition challenging the latter's minority leadership before the Supreme Court (SC).

"How can the Liberal Party be accused of desperation to stay in power when those who joined the majority coalition are virtual second class citizens in the supermajority, while those who opted from the very start to be with the minority are so few as to make a run for power?" asked Lagman in a statement on Thursday, November 17. 

The House "Magnificent 7" independent minority bloc, of which Lagman is a member, had filed a petition for mandamus urging the SC justices to recognize Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr as the rightful minority leader following Suarez's controversial election.

The petitioners also want the High Court to compel Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas to recognize Baguilat as minority leader and the rest of the bloc as part of the House minority. (READ: House supermajority rejects Baguilat's claim as minority leader)

Lagman, who previously warned against a "subservient" minority should it be helmed by Suarez, explained they filed the petition to have a "genuine opposition" in the House.

"While not seeking political power since power is a contradiction to a minority status, the authentic minority of 7 members seeks to maintain a genuine opposition who are not beholden to or an adjunct of the supermajority," he said.

"A eunuch of a minority makes the House the courtyard of spineless clowns," added Lagman. 

But for Suarez, the Magnificent 7's petition only shows that the LP, the party of Vice President Leni Robredo and former president Benigno Aquino III, is "monopolizing power at the House of Representatives

Five of the Magnificent 7 bloc members are part of the LP: Lagman, Baguilat, Northern Samar 1st District Representative Raul Daza, Caloocan City 2nd District Representative Edgar Erice, and Capiz 1st District Representative Emmanuel Billones. 

The rest of their party mates in the House signed a coalition agreement with President Rodrigo Duterte's Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan to join the supermajority. 

LP member and Marikina City 2nd District Representative Miro Quimbo is a deputy speaker.

Alvarez and Fariñas, however, dismissed the Magnificent 7's petition against Suarez, with the Speaker himself describing the petition as "garbage." – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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