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Thursday, May 26, 2016
From 3 to 300, PDP-Laban forms ‘supermajority’ in House
From three to nearly 300.
The Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the political party of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, has cobbled together a “supermajority” coalition in the incoming 17th Congress less than three weeks after the May 9 elections.
Incoming Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez said PDP-Laban was close to achieving its goal of creating one of the biggest coalitions in Congress’ history after taking in 37 House members from the independent party-coalition bloc in the 17th Congress.
Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe estimated that PDP-Laban’s Coalition for Change has gathered as many as 260 allies or 90 percent of the estimated 290 members in the next Congress.
Batocabe said this was an extraordinary feat in itself as PDP-Laban started with only three House members on its roster—Valenzuela Rep. Erik Martinez, Lanao del Sur Rep. Jun Papandayan, and Alvarez.
Ako Bicol is among the 32 party-list groups who joined the PDP-Laban as coalition partners. The rest are 1-Ang Edukasyon; AAMBIS-OWA, 1-Care, 1-Pacman, 1-Sagip, Aangat Tayo, Aasenso, Abang Lingkod, ABS, ACTS-OFW, AGAP, Agbiag, Agri, Akbayan, Amin, Ang Kabuhayan, Angkla, A-Teacher, BH, Buhay, Butil, Cibac, Coop-NATCCO, Kabayan, Kalinga, Kusug Tausug, Manila Teachers, Mata, PBA, TUCP, and Yacap. Party-list bloc is made up 73 members. Batocabe explained that 8 other party-list members have been weeded out of the bloc because they joined other political parties.
“Alvarez wanted a clean alliance, not cluttered, because he wants to deal directly with parties and not blocs,” said Batocabe.
Batocabe said Alvarez would recognize the party-list bloc as a political party on its own, which would be entitled to its proportionate share of full, standing committee chairs and memberships for distribution among majority members. Batocabe said Rep. Sharon Garin of AAMBIS-OWA was being groomed as a Deputy Speaker, the first party-list member to hold such a lofty post. Batocabe said Alvarez was also open to converting the special committees on climate change and maritime affairs as full committees.
The PDP-Laban has signed a coalition agreement with Nacionalista Party with 50 members, Nationalist People’s Coalition with 45 members, National Unity Party with 40 members, and Lakas-CMD with four members. The PDP-Laban is expected to emerge as the single biggest party with at least 80 members by the end of its raid on the Liberal Party’s ranks. Alvarez said he expected to reduce the minority bloc to “bite size” or 20 members.
Batocabe said that having a supermajority in the House was important as this would ensure smooth approval of Duterte’s legislative agenda, specifically the reimposition of the death penalty and Charter change to liberalize economic restrictions and shift to federalism.
Aside from the party-list bloc, six House members also shifted to the PDP-Laban. They are Estrelita Suansing of Nueva Ecija, Along Malapitan of Caloocan City, Ricky Sandoval of Malabon-Navotas, Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino of Cavite, Roy Loyola of Cavite, and Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo of Quezon City.