By Ben Rosario
The PDP-Laban in the House of Representatives quickly regrouped yesterday to extinguish a possible fallout that could threaten party unity as a result of the hostilities triggered by the recently-concluded speakership controversy.
Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez designated as the party whip, revealed that the administration party remains formidable and will continue to play its role as the ruling political group in the House of Reprresentatives.
He revealed that former Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez was not present in the meeting but sent word, through Energy Secretary Al Cusi, that he will continue serving as the party’s secretary general.
Benitez, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, said over 80 of the 119 PDP-Laban congressmen were present at the caucus with many of the absentees pledging to support the new House leadership.
“We will maintain and further strengthen the majority coalition. The Duterte administration’s legislative agenda, particularly the early passage of the proposed national budget, will be our priority,” he added.
The senior administration lawmaker admitted that while there will be changes in committee chairmanship, there will be “no purging” merely because a party member did not show support to Arroyo during the plenary voting for speakership.
Meanwhile, the chamber is preparing for another conflict, this time for the leadership of the minority bloc.
After announcing that he will move to the majority, Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez told reporters that he has decided to stay put as opposiiton leader in the chamber.
It was revealed by Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali that Alvarez is eyeing Suarez’s current post.
Alvarez’s bid to become minority leader will pit him against Suarez, who enjoys the backing of partylist organizations.