MANILA - Minority Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Wednesday urged the House of Representatives to install a “genuine” minority leader, amid reports that another administration ally is eyeing the post, which has traditionally been given to opposition figures.
Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda earlier said House Majority Leader Fredenil Castro might seek the minority leadership, prompting Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, an opposition figure and member of the Liberal Party, to throw his hat in the ring.
Opposition stalwart Pangilinan stressed that electing a genuine minority leader would provide the House of Representatives “the check and the balance to the majority that is aligned with the powerful administration.”
“It could not just be anybody, including those who only want a position and those masquerading as fiscalizers but are in fact collaborators,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
“The House and the people deserve a real opposition leader, not the Majority's ‘Minority Leader.’”
Pangilinan said while harmony with the majority in legislating measures is not bad, “toeing the administration's line without considering the interest of the people is what we fear with the majority's minority leader at the helm.”
“We assure that the Liberal Party together with its allies at the House will continue to uphold its values and principles in dealing with this leadership issue,” he said.
The minority leadership was also a major issued that hounded the previous Congress, as the post ended up in the hands of Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, a known ally of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat contested Suarez’s election as minority leader all the way to the Supreme Court, saying he should be given the post because he got the second highest post in the Speakership race, which was won by Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.
Suarez again got the minority leadership when Arroyo took over the Speakership in a controversial coup against Alvarez. He retained the minority leadership even though he voted for Arroyo to become Speaker.