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House stands by decision to drop De Vera from rolls

MANILA – The House of Representatives maintained its decision to drop from its rolls Atty. Eugene Michael de Vera as representative of ABS party-list, despite appeals by the latter’s allies and a threat to take the matter to the Supreme Court.

During the plenary session Tuesday, De Vera was no longer called during the roll call of members, prompting LPG-MA Party-list Arnel Ty to inquire from the majority.

“I just want to ask the parliamentary status of Rep. de Vera as i listened to the roll call his name was not mentioned so may i ask the parliamentary status of the case of Representative Eugene de Vera,” he said.

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya then said De Vera’s name has been dropped from the list.

“As I recall it was a request so is that the rule now Mr. Speaker that removing a member from this august chamber is a mere letter and request and all of our colleagues are susceptible to be removed by a mere letter,” Ty said.

“Everything we do here has to have the imprimatur of the plenary. In fact as I recall there was no objection on the matter. Otherwise there was no timely motion on this particular matter it was a ministerial duty of the House to recognize the dropping from the roll once they have been expelled from the party-list,” Andaya replied.

Ty pointed out he raised a point of order and noted there was no quorum. Andaya contended it was not the proper motion. 

Andaya maintained that De Vera’s name was dropped from the rolls because he forfeited his seat when he filed his candidacy for congressman of Marikina’s second district. 

“I will even avoid going to the legalities. The practical reason is the Honorable De Vera filed for district representation in Marikina. Therefore he has abandoned his being member of ABS Party-list. You cannot maintain membership in a party-list system in which you are a nominee and at the same time run for public office claiming to be independent or a member of a political party. Those 2 are mutually exclusive. In effect he has abandoned his being a member of ABS Party-list,” he explained.

Ty insisted the proper venue for de Vera’s removal would have been the House of Representatives Electoral tribunal, citing the rules of the House and the 1987 constitution.

Another De Vera ally, former Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas said that in the past, he also rejected bids by the Kabayan party list to remove Harry Roque as congressman for the same reason. 

Farinas also stressed that the move to remove De Vera’s name from the rolls violated due process. 

“I’m appealing to the body, kayo pong mga kasama sa party-list ‘wag po kayo papayag dito dahil ang ibig sabihin pagka ‘yung mga kasamahan sa party-list magiging tuta kayo they will dictate how to vote,” he said.

Farinas said they will elevate the matter to the Supreme Court. Farinas already has a petition in the SC asking the court to recognize De Vera as the rightful minority leader following the July 2018 leadership change in the House. 

“We will go to the SC again on a matter like this. Masyadong mabigat naman po ‘yun. It violates the constitution,” he said.

In a press conference earlier, Andaya said De Vera “has repudiated or distanced himself from his own party-list” when he sought candidacy for a Marikina congressional seat.

“Umupo ka dito [You served] as a nominee of ABS Party-list representing a particular sector, nationwide representation mo and then you filed for a certificate of candidacy for a regular representative representing a particular district lang na hindi naman in line with your party-list. So, how can you now serve both? How can you now represent ABS when you are now desiring to run for a regular seat? So, totally inconsistent,” Andaya said.