ABANG Lingkod party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen “Caraps” Paduano is the new House Minority Leader.
Members of the Minority group elected Paduano to replace Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante who resigned and joined the majority.
Deputy Minority Leader and Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo announced the decision of the opposition bloc.
“The Bloc welcomes and congratulates the new Minority Leader, Hon. Joseph Stephen ‘Caraps’ Paduano of Abang Lingkod Party-list, who was unanimously elected, with the members looking forward to working with him with the vision that the minority will flourish under his leadership,” Quimbo said in a statement.
Paduano is a third term member of Congress, and has been a member of the Minority bloc since the 17th Congress.
He has always advocated for the welfare of farmers and fisherfolk, and pushed for the protection of the rights of rice and sugar farmers amidst the liberalization of agriculture markets.
With the new leadership under Rep. Paduano, the Minority Bloc is assuring the House and the Filipino people that it will remain loyal to the principles that mould the group in fiscalizing and in providing a potent force to implement checks and balances in the House of Representatives.
The 21-member bloc will continue to support legislation for the people through constructive criticisms and not as obstructionists, as it played a major role in the passing of the 2021 General Appropriations Bill or the 2021 Proposed Budget which was finally approved on Third and Final Reading on Friday, which President Rodrigo Duterte wanted passed constitutionally and legally, and on time, not railroaded, Quimbo said.
“Rest assured that the Minority Bloc will continue working hard in pushing for laws for the benefit of the Filipino people especially at this time of a pandemic where our lives are being challenged to adjust to a new, better normal,” the lawmaker said.
Members of the Minority bloc may have differences due to party affiliations, convictions, beliefs and even ideologies, but it will always unite behind legislation that will redound to the ordinary Filipino.
The bloc vows to work together for the common good of the people, with the principles that had been guiding it, and will not compromise the fiscalizing role of the group, Quimbo said.