Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. resigned last night as minority leader as he declared support for the pro-people agenda of newly installed Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

abante 1024x682 - Former minority leader Abante joins the House majority
House Minority Leader Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr. (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Abante served 15 months as head of the House of Representatives’ group of fiscalizers.

Earlier, minority bloc members Reps. Bonito Singson (Probinsyano Ako); Bayani Fernando (PDP-Laban, Marikina City) and Joseph Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod)  voted for Velasco as speaker.  Under the House rules, they are now considered members of the majority bloc.

Singson, together with independent Rep. Lito Atienza (Buhay Partylist), was a staunch supporter of Velasco.  Both were outspoken in demanding the ouster of former Speaker and Taguig- Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.

With Abante’s resignation, the minority bloc will elect a new leader. 

Sources said there are three senior members being considered for the vacated position. They are Senior Deputy Minority Leader and Iloilo Rep. Jannette Garin; Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, and Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo.

Abante made public his resignation as minority leader after delivering the “turno-en-contra” speech.

He declared his “full trust in the new leadership in its pursuit of a legislative agenda that is not only pro-people, but more importantly, responsive to the need to provide effective and sufficient interventions to control the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“And there is no better symbol of this trust than an expression of intent to join the Majority so I could be more proactive in providing urgently needed legislation and Congressional oversight,” he said.

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