MANILA –The minority bloc at the House of Representatives on Wednesday said the Liberal Party cannot become the new minority just by sheer number alone if it decides to bolt out of the supermajority coalition after the second reading vote on the death penalty.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said if the LP House contingent wants to become the new minority, they would have to declare the Speaker vacant first, call for an election and field a candidate.
The House rules state that those who will not vote for the winning speaker and those who opted to abstain will form part of the minority, who will then elect among themselves their own leader.
“If they have enough number, can they be the minority? No, you have to change the Speaker,” Suarez said.
The LP has yet to solidify its position on whether to stay or leave the supermajority in the lower chamber, deferring its decision until after the second reading vote is cast on the bill restoring the death penalty.
This after the major reorganization in the Senate, wherein LP senators were ousted from leadership posts and committee chairmanships.
There are 32 LP members in the House of Representatives, 27 of them belonging to the supermajority coalition.
Meanwhile, the House minority bloc led by Suarez is composed of 18 members.
For his part, Deputy Minority Leader and Kabayan Partylist Rep. Harry Roque said that LP members cannot simply declare themselves as part of the minority because it has to be decided upon by the minority bloc first.
Without their approval, Roque said the LP members would be considered as an independent bloc.
“Even if they declare it vacant, they must have numbers to declare it vacant. They have to be admitted as members of the minority,” Roque said.
“If the minority does not accept them, then they will become independent,” he added.