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House Minority Leader resigns to join Majority

MANILA Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. stepped down as Minority Leader.

After delivering the Minority’s turno en contra for the 2021 budget, Abante said he will be leaving the opposition bloc because he wanted to join the majority group led by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

Abante said he had “full trust in the new leadership in its pursuit of a legislative agenda that is not only pro-people, but more importantly, responsive to the need to provide effective and sufficient interventions to control the Covid pandemic.”

“And there is no better symbol of this trust than an expression of intent to join the Majority so I could be more proactive in providing urgently-needed legislation and Congressional oversight,” Abante said.

He asked the Minority group judiciously choose their next leader.

In separate statement, Deputy Minority Leader and Iloilo Rep. Janette GArin said they accepted the decision of Abante.

“We will have to convene and elect a new leader,” Garin told House media.

Abante thanked his former colleagues in the Minority for their support, and said that the decision to step down as the Minority Leader and leave the Minority Bloc was difficult “as I have come to think of the Minority Bloc as my extended family here in the House.”

“Marami po ang ating pinagdaanan, and I will always cherish the time we worked together,” the longtime pastor stressed.

Addressing the members of the Minority Bloc, Abante said, “tulad ng lagi kong sinabi, magkaiba man ang partido natin, o ang paniniwala natin, o ang idelohiya natin, there are more things that unite us, there are more advocacies we share, and there will always be one thing that will always bind us together: our desire to serve our people.”

According to Abante, under the leadership of Speaker Velasco, “this representation has faith that in the face of the challenges faced by our people, the members of the House will once again coalesce, find common ground, and act in unison for the good of our countrymen.