MANILA (Mabuhay) – At least for now, members of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) will stay with the majority coalition in the House of Representatives even with the resignation of its standard bearer, Vice President Jejomar Binay, from the Cabinet.
The Vice President’s daughter, Makati City Rep. Mar-len Abigail Binay, said she will only bolt out of the administration coalition if House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. asks her to do so.
“Kung hingin ni Speaker, aalis ako. Kung hindi, ba’t ako aalis?” she told reporters in an interview Tuesday.
Binay, an UNA stalwart, is one of the deputy majority leaders in the House. With the exception of UNA interim president and Navotas City Rep. Toby Tiangco, all of UNA’s remaining nine members are with the majority coalition.
The younger Binay said that while UNA is not allied with the administration, its members can remain part of the majority coalition in the House because of the prevailing party dynamics in the chamber.
To illustrate the unique setup in the House, Binay said Taguig City Rep. Lino Cayetano chose to become part of the Minority bloc even if he is a member of the Nacionalista Party, which is allied with the administration.
“Kahit naman di ka kakampi ng administrasyon, you can still be part of the majority…. Depende naman kasi yun sa mga batas na ipinapasa. May mga batas na pinupush ng administrasyon pero di naman sinusuporthan ng lahat ng members ng majority,” she said.
“Hindi natural consequence ng pagre-resign ni VP Binay ang pagkawala ng mga nasa UNA sa majority,” the Makati lawmaker added.
UNA should choose allegiance
The Vice President tendered his irrevocable resignation from the Cabinet Monday, a move that is widely seen as his way of officially breaking away from the Aquino administration.
He served as presidential adviser for overseas Filipino workers’ affairs, and chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
While the younger Binay isn’t keen on leaving the majority coalition, Liberal Party vice chair for political affairs Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice said it is high time UNA distinguishes itself as an opposition party by distancing itself from the administration’s stalwarts in Congress.
“They (UNA members) have to realize that their part belongs to the opposition. They can’t continue sailing in two rivers. They have to choose their allegiance,” he said in a text message.
Administration allies Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, however, said they are leaving it up to UNA members to decide whether or not they want to transfer to the minority bloc.
“It will be UNA’s call if they want to stay in the [majority] coalition. That’s something they would have to decide among themselves,” said Castelo, an LP member.
“We’re not preempting either Representative Binay or UNA if they want to leave the majority bloc. That decision is up to them. We in the House are independent, and we have various coalitions made up of different parties,” said Batocabe. (MNS)