MANILA, Philippines – Former House majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas made good on his promise to go to the Supreme Court (SC) to contest the minority leadership of Quezon 3rd District Representative Danilo Suarez.
Fariñas, who represents Ilocos Norte 1st District, sent reporters on Wednesday, September 12, a copy of his bloc’s petition for certiorari, prohibition, and/or mandamus with prayer for temporary restraining order (TRO), and status quo ante order against Suarez. They filed it on August 30.
Respondents include Suarez, Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Majority Leader Rolando Andaya.
Fariñas had previously argued Suarez should not be retained as the minority leader because he had campaigned and voted for Arroyo during the House coup that unseated Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.
Instead, Fariñas’ bloc wants Arts, Business, and Science Professionals (ABS) Representative Eugene de Vera to become the duly recognized minority leader as he was the only lawmaker from Suarez’s past bloc who did not vote for Arroyo. De Vera was Suarez’s deputy minority leader.
Independent minority lawmakers had filed a petition against Suarez's minority leadership in 2016, urging the SC to compel the House leadership to recognize Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr as minority leader instead. Baguilat’s group lost the case.
Another group led by Marikina 2nd District Representative Miro Quimbo said it planned to file a petition against Suarez before the SC. (READ: 2 Supreme Court cases loom over Suarez's minority leadership)
What do they want the High Court to do? The Fariñas bloc is arguing that House leaders have committed “grave abuse of discretion” by retaining Suarez for the post and refusing to recognize De Vera instead.
In the petition, the lawmakers want the SC to issue a status quo ante order “to maintain and observe the last actual, peaceable, and uncontested situation which has preceded the controversy” and sustain De Vera as minority leader.
They also want the Court to issue a TRO on Suarez’s performance of his duties and functions as minority leader.
Fariñas’ bloc also urged the SC to compel Arroyo and Andaya to recognize De Vera as the minority leader and the members of their group as the “duly constituted” minority.
“In recognizing, and continuing to recognize, Respondent Suarez as the minority leader in the HOR, and refusing to recognize Petitioner De Vera as such minority leader, Respondents GMA and Andaya have committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction by unlawfully excluding, and continuing to unlawfully exclude, Petitioner De Vera from the full exercise of his mandate and those of his co-petitioners as the duly constituted minority under the framework duly established by the Rules of the HOR,” said Fariñas’ bloc.
Who are the petitioners? Fariñas prepared the petition together with Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Representative Reynaldo Umali, and lawyers Juanito Antonio and Alberto Reyes.
The other lawmaker-petitioners are as follows:
Rodolfo Albano III, Isabela 1st District
Juan Pablo Bondoc, Pampanga 4th District
Monsour del Rosario III, Makati 1st District
Ruwel Peter Gonzaga, Compostela Valley 2nd District
Roger Mercado, Southern Leyte
Mauyag Papandayan Jr, Lanao del Sur 2nd District
Lucy Torres-Gomez, Leyte 4th District
Arnel Ty, LPGMA
Read a full copy of their SC petition below: