Lagman: Next Congress should have genuine ‘Minority Leader’

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Incoming House members should pick a genuine Minority Leader not allied with the Duterte government, according to reelected Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.

He asked candidates for Speaker to field only one candidate among themselves to make sure the Minority Leader — who’s usually the candidate with the second highest vote to the Speaker — will truly come from the ranks of the minority.

“A genuine Minority leader can only be assured if he or she is neither a member or a partisan of the administration nor handpicked by the ruling majority,” Lagman said in a statement.

“The Minority Leader must (1) represent the genuine opposition in the House; (2) articulate and pursue differing views; (3) act as a courageous sentinel of the people’s rights and sentiments; and (4) not be beholden to the administration nor an adjunct of the supermajority,” he said.

The current Minority Leader, Quezon Rep. Danny Suarez, is allied with Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Both are on their last term in Congress.

Lagman pointed out that the House members who have declared their intention to run for Speaker all belong to the supermajority and many of them are even seeking the anointment of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Since the declared aspirants, without any exception, are with the coalesced parties of the administration, then they should agree among themselves to field a common administration candidate,” he said.

“A lone Duterte candidate for Speaker would foreclose the eventually of a losing administration aspirant becoming the majority’s Minority Leader, an aberration which happened in the 17th Congress,” Lagman said.