Minority lawmakers Garbin, Atienza trade barbs over EDSA provincial bus ban

AKO Bicol Representative Alfredo Garbin Jr and Buhay Representative Lito Atienza engage in a heated discussion on May 20, 2019.

AKO Bicol Representative Alfredo Garbin Jr and Buhay Representative Lito Atienza engage in a heated discussion on May 20, 2019.

Things got a little heated between two allies in the House minority bloc over the longstanding issue of traffic in Metro Manila.

On Monday, May 20, AKO Bicol Representative Alfredo Garbin Jr was defending his party’s strong opposition to the revocation of the business permits of provincial bus terminals before the House committee on transportation.  

“While the objective of the new MMDA [Metro Manila Development Authority] policy is to ease traffic congrestion in EDSA, in reality, it merely relocates the traffic elsewhere, permanently, burdening the local governments at the outskirts of Metro Manila and the commuting public coming to and from the provinces,” argued Garbin, who is the deputy minority leader.

A few minutes later, however, another minority congressman – a senior deputy minority leader at that – spoke up and actually supported the provincial bus ban in EDSA: Buhay Representative Lito Atienza. (READ: Lawmakers on EDSA provincial bus ban: 'Give it a chance’

“We in the minority would like to stress: We commend the MMDA for trying to find a solution to an otherwise chaotic situation of EDSA, where 47 terminals are located…The government is trying to find a solution. Let’s give it a chance!” said Atienza.

Garbin then interjected, speaking over Atienza’s voice: “I register my objection… Don’t speak of the minority because I also belong to the minority!” (READ: AKO Bicol asks Supreme Court to stop EDSA provincial bus ban)

Atienza was unfazed, telling Garbin to let him finish first. Atienza also reminded Garbin that he holds a higher position than the latter in the minority bloc.

“Let me finish my statement then you can have all the afternoon…I am senior than you are. Let me finish!” said Atienza. 

At this point, Garbin and Atienza were already speaking at the same time, their voices dominating the hall where transportation officials and other lawmakers silently watched them.

House transportation committee chairperson Cesar Sarmiento soon banged his gavel, prompting Garbin and Atienza to stop.

Garbin then let Atienza finish his manifestation without any interruptions. Atienza left the hearing soon after. – 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.