CONTRARY to reports, former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he is not joining the minority bloc.
In a statement, Alvarez stressed that his decision not to vote for Speaker meant that he doesn’t want to be aligned with any party.
Alvarez, a Davao del Norte representative, remained the secretary general of the PDP-Laban.
His partymate, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, was voted as Speaker after more than 186 solons ousted Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.
“The claim that I joined the minority, or one of the three minority blocs, is not true.
First of all, I am not part of the minority and, consequently, cannot be part of any minority bloc,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez admitted that he abstained from voting for or against the candidates for Speaker of the House.
The former House leader pointed out that right from the very beginning of the 18th Congress, he has been vocal about the term-sharing agreement and its effect of dividing the House of Representatives and causing unnecessary obstacles in the immediate passage of important legislative items.
To date, the House minority has at least 16 members – seven from the opposition Liberal Party, the six perennial opposition party-list representatives of the Makabayan bloc and three from the Villar-led Nacionalista Party (NP).
Its leader, Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante resigned and joined the majority bloc.
As for his membership, be it majority, minority, or otherwise, he cited the last paragraph of Rule II., Sec. 8 which categorizes members who opted for a course of action resulting in a membership categorized as “independent:”
“Members who choose not to align themselves with the Majority or the Minority shall be considered as independent Members of the House. They may, however, choose to join the Majority or Minority upon written request to and approval thereof by the Majority or Minority, as the case may be,” he pointed out.
“I am not part of any of those blocs.
Instead, I am an independent member of the House of Representatives.
“Further, there is no such thing as an “independent minority” based on the Rules of the 18th Congress, House of Representatives,” he said.