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Ifugao solon on g-string: I fight windmills

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By: Vincent Cabreza


@inquirerdotnet

Inquirer Northern Luzon


06:23 AM July 31st, 2016
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BAGUIO CITYCordillerans still tell stories about how their first lawmakers were mocked for
traveling to Manila wearing Americana suit paired with g-string in the early 1900s.
Wearing the g-string soon became a badge of courage for Igorots fighting ridicule and
discrimination.
Act of bravery
The g-string worn by Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat Jr., during President Dutertes first State of
the Nation Address (Sona) on July 25, was also an act of bravery.
Baguilat had thrown his hat in the race to lead the minority block in the House of
Representatives and had actually won until the rules were changed.
Baguilat turned 50 on July 30. A journalism undergraduate of the University of the Philippines
Diliman and an avowed environmentalist, he championed the restoration and preservation of
his provinces rice terraces as president of the Save the Ifugao Rice Terraces Movement (SITMo),
while he rose through the political ranks.
He was 28 when he served as mayor of his native Kiangan town in Ifugao from 1995 to 2001,
before becoming gover nor and representative of the provinces lone district.
But Baguilat said he never expected the spotlight to be thrown his way on the day he wore his
g-string during the Sona.
Earlier, Baguilat had resolved to encourage members of the Liberal Party (LP) to fight for a
credible minority by supporting Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, after former Speaker Feliciano
Belmonte Jr. decided to join a so-called supermajority in the House.
But when I arrived in the meeting they told me that they had decided that [I] should run for
Speaker. Why me? Baguilat said.
Then [Lagman] said we should not have illusions that we would win even the minority floor
leadership But he said it was important [to] expose the plot [to rig the composition of a
minority in this Congress].
I was late so the moral lesson was I should not be late, Baguilat said in jest. But as I was going
home that Sunday night (July 24), I realized my life had changed. I was [also] thinking that I may
have become the sacrificial lamb, but I told myself we were fighting for democracy in Congress,
he said.

Baguilat placed second when votes were cast for the House Speaker on June 25. Tradition
states that the second ranking member to vie for the House leadership automatically becomes
the head of the minority.
Maneuver
But majority leaders intervened, allowing Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez to take control of the
minority.
I didnt aspire to become the Speaker or the minority floor leader not because I didnt think it
was my duty but because I felt unprepared I dont have the eloquence, the gift of gab, the
stature, Baguilat said.
When the first votes showed he had become the minority leader, Baguilat said he felt scared.
I have a mortal fear of speaking in public before the plenary or debating with the luminaries,
he said.
The Ifugao leader said loyalty was a virtue. When I was governor, I had already been a LP
member, he said, so ensuring that the LP become the minority with the defeat of its standard
bearer became paramount.
Baguilat is now allied with eight legislators who, he said, intend to keep a critical eye on the
supermajority.
I mean, sure, super coalitions are bound to happen. I was part of [one under the Aquino
administration] for six years. But that did not mean there should be no opposition [represented
at the time by Lagman and Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares], he said.
Before the leadership controversy, Baguilat had been associated with the fight for a
reproductive health law, drawing the ire of the Catholic Church, and the Bangsamoro Basic Law
(BBL), which became unpopular after the massacre of 44 policemen in Mamasapano,
Maguindanao province, in 2015.
Baguilat also said he would push for an investigation into the growing list of drug suspects
killed in police operations or murdered by apparent vigilantes.
I fight windmills, Baguilat said. That was why I wore the g-string. I started the day with
courage. I thought Id be as brave when the day ended.

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/801274/ifugao-solon-on-g-string-i-fight-

windmills#ixzz4Fx7Bx5T0
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Baguilat cries foul over game fixing in


minority leader elections

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By: Marc Jayson Cayabyab


@MJcayabyabINQ

INQUIRER.net
04:07 PM July 25th, 2016
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Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat cried foul over the supposed machination of the emerging majority
in the 17th Congress to rig the minority leader elections to have a coopted minority bloc in the
House of Representatives.
During the elections for Speaker, Baguilat got the second highest votes in the Speakership race
with eight votes, followed by Quezon Rep. Danny Suarez who got seven votes.
Suarez supposedly was the pick of elected Speaker Pantaleon Bebot Alvarez to lead the
minority in Congress for the bloc to be cooperative with the majority coalition of President
Rodrigo Duterte.
Alvarez won as Speaker with 251 lawmakers. At least 21 lawmakers voted to abstain.
READ: Alvarez elected next Speaker in 17th Congress
Baguilat said he should have handily won the minority race having gotten the second highest
votes for speaker, as per the rules of previous Congresses.
But during the session, Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas, the presumptive majority leader,
acting as presiding majority floor leader said the rules state that the majority and minority
leader would be elected by members of the emerging majority and minority bloc in Congress.
The majority bloc comprises the lawmakers who voted for the winning Speaker, while the
minority bloc comprises the solons who voted for the losing speaker contenders.
Baguilat said the scheme forms part of a sinister plot to propel Suarez as minority leader for
the bloc to be a cooperative bloc instead of being the opposition.
They presented a new set of rules. Ako kasi marami nang kuro kuro (Because I already had
speculations). The anointed one is Danny Suarez, but they werent sure of their numbers,
Baguilat said.
As (Navotas Rep.) Toby Tiangco stated yesterday, there seems to be a move to fix the
elections, he added.
READ: Alvarez denies leading co-opted minority
Baguilat said what the majority-led coalition initially planned was to lend some of its members
to vote for Suarez as the minority bloc.

He said this scheme was too obvious and so these members opted instead to abstain from
voting and later they would vote for Suarez as the minority leader.
It was a surprise for me to see people who expected to join the majority, suddenly abstained
May mga kuro kuro na you have a reserve vote, mag-abstain muna tayo just to make sure
(There are speculations that you have a reserve vote, and you should abstain just to make
sure), Baguilat said.
They really wanted to come out with a coopted minority. You cannot just [do that], it really
requires a lot of machinations. The best way is mag-abstain muna yung iba (for others to
abstain first), he added. CDG

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Abstaining lawmakers have no right to call


for minority meet Baguilat

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By: Nikko Dizon


@nikkodizonINQ

Philippine Daily Inquirer


08:58 PM July 26th, 2016
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Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)


MANILA If youre in political purgatory or limbo, what right do you have to call for a meeting of
the minority bloc to elect its leader?
This was the question raised on Tuesday by those who voted for Ifugao Representative Teddy
Baguilat, Jr. in the Speakership race on Monday, after they received a letter from those who

abstained from choosing the Speaker inviting them to a meeting of the minority bloc today at
10 a.m. to choose their leader.
Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza has described the 21 congressmen who abstained from voting
on Monday as akin to those in purgatory who are neither in heaven nor hell.
Why would they call for a meeting? I think its funny, Daza said in his interpellation of Albay
Rep. Edcel Lagman, who pushed for the minority leadership of Baguilat.
I said, how can the independent members of the House constitute themselves as minority and
arrogate to themselves the authority to elect a minority leader? Daza said, adding they did not
have any right or privilege to convene a meeting of the minority.
Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco raised the same point.
There was a paper given to me but I refused to sign it because for me, its a scrap of paper.
They are independents until such time they are accepted as minority or majority, Tiangco said
on the floor.
Lagman, Daza, and Tiangco were among the eight congressmen who voted for Baguilat, who
ran against Alvarez on Mondayto do what is right.
Baguilat voted for himself. The others who voted for him were Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary
Alejano, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, Akbayan partylist Rep. Tom Villarin, and 1-Sagip Rep.
Rodante Marcoleta.
Alvarez received 251 votes, Baguilat, eight, and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, seven.
Eight is more than seven in any mathematical equation, Lagman said.
Buhay partylist Rep. Lito Atienza said a minority leader has not been elected yet and pushed for
the meeting and election on Wednesday.
Atienza was the one who asked majority floor leader, Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farias who
comprised the minority and who was its leader. Farias replied that based on Section 8 of the
Rules, the minority leader would be elected by members of the minority bloc.
But the Baguilat group insisted that by tradition, the one who received the next highest vote to
the elected Speaker would automatically become the minority leader.
Lagman also questioned why Suarez was even being considered as in the running for minority
leader when he voted for Alvarez, automatically making him a part of the majority.
Suarez told reporters that by tradition, a nominated candidate would not vote for himself.

At press time, the congressmen have been debating for nearly three hours to thresh out the
minority leadership.
The Baguilat group believed that the majority bloc tried to manipulate the elections on Monday
to ensure Suarez would become the leader of a friendly minority.
Alvarez and Suarez had both denied that the majority coalition would lend members to vote
for the Quezon representative to ensure that he would have more votes than Tiangco, who
expressed interest in becoming minority leader, and former Speaker Feliciano Belmonte of the
LP. SFM

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Lagman backs LP ally Baguilat for minority


leader

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By: Marc Jayson Cayabyab


@MJcayabyabINQ

INQUIRER.net
08:40 PM July 26th, 2016
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Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman in a privilege speech on Tuesday expressed his support for his Liberal
Party (LP) ally Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. in the race for minority leader of the 17th Congress.
During his speech, Lagman said Baguilat was the automatic minority leader for having won the
second highest number of votes in the speakership race at eight votes against Quezon Rep.
Danilo Suarezs seven votes.
But the majority opted to change its rules and said the minority leader would be elected by the
members of the emerging minority bloc.
This goes against the previous rules of Congress that the second placer in the Speaker race is
the automatic minority leader.
It has been the customary practice or tradition of the House of Representatives to officially
consider the runner-up or the candidate for the position of Speaker garnering the second
highest number of votes as minority leader. The validity of this practice has never been
questioned, Lagman said.
Lagman said Suarez had also disqualified himself from the minority race because he voted for
the winning Speaker Pantaleon Bebot Alvarez. This means Suarez is a member of the majority
bloc, and should therefore not be qualified as a minority leader.

Thus, the seven votes Suarez got in the Speaker race should be deemed invalid because he had
aligned himself with the majority.
Representative Suarez had disqualified himself from seeking the position of minority leader
because he unequivocally voted for Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Lagman said.
Moreover, Lagman insisted that the 20 lawmakers who had abstained from voting a Speaker
were not members of the minority but independent members in Congress.
READ: Baguilat cries foul over game fixing in minority leader elections
The majority bloc led by Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farias during Mondays session said even
the 20 lawmakers who abstained were members of the minority bloc.
Baguilat, insisting on his minority post, warned of a plot to have the 20 lawmakers who
abstained vote for Suarez in the elections from among the minority members.
Lagman had also warned of the move by the majority to rig the minority elections to install a
cooperative minority led by Suarez.
READ: Suarez denies sinister plot to rig minority race
The minority leader had already been elected by members of the minority when they case
their votes for the contenders for the apeakership. Accordingly, the Hon. Teddy Brawner
Baguilat Jr. must perforce be recognized forthwith as the current minority leader, Lagman said.
It is utterly suspicious, if not downright anomalous, why there is undue procrastination in
recognizing minority leader Baguilat Jr., he added.
In response, majority floor leader Farias criticized the lawmakers for questioning the rule that
the minority leader should be elected by members of the minority.
Farinas said Baguilat and Lagman should have questioned the rules agreed upon on Monday.
Its the House of Congress that can promulgate its own rules I represent majority of 251
members of the majority. So I think my opinion matters, Farias said.
Farias maintained that Baguilat and Lagman could not claim that the second placer was the
automatic minority leader because what happened on Monday was only the elections for
Speaker.
Meanwhile, Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza said the minority members, including the 20
lawmakers who had abstained, planned to meet tomorrow morning to elect the minority
leader.

Lagman decried the underhanded scheme for a minority elections tomorrow, adding the
majority bent House rules to its own advantage.
Lagman lamented the majority blocs scheme to bastardize the process of selecting the
minority leader.
READ: Lagman warns of co-opted minority bloc
Lagman, Suarezs political foe, first exposed the plot for the majority to lend some of its
members to vote for the latter to lead a coopted minority bloc.
Lagman and Suarez were at odds in the 15th Congress when Lagman accused former President
and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of being behind an ouster move against him
to install Suarez as minority leader.
READ: Lagman quits minority, Arroyo
Lagman and Suarez were on a term-sharing agreement in leading the minority before the start
of the 15th Congress.
Amid the scuffle for minority leadership with Suarez, Lagman in 2012 resigned as minority
leader and chair of Arroyos Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrat. He jumped ship to the Liberal
Party.

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Ifugao brave is new House minority leader


for now

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By: Nikko Dizon

@nikkodizonINQ

Philippine Daily Inquirer


05:53 AM July 26th, 2016
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IFUGAO Rep. Teddy Baguilat of the Liberal Party became the surprise minority floor leader after
getting more votes than Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez.
That is, if tradition and the old rules of the House of Representatives should have been
followed.
But after Davao Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez III of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan
handily won the House speakership, no one was declared minority leader because suddenly,
those who did not vote for the winning candidate, including those who abstained, must meet
again and choose their new leader.
This was according to the majority leader, Ilocos Rep. Rodolfo Farias, when Buhay
Rep. Lito Atienza asked who constituted the minority, shortly after the nominations were made
on the floor.

Alvarez won handily with 251 votes. Baguilat received eight votes, while Suarez had seven.
Baguilat voted for himself, while Suarez voted for Alvarez. There were 21 abstentions.
Baguilat vowed to fight it out, saying he would insist on the rules followed in the 16th Congress
and the tradition that has been followed at each Congress.
We have to follow what has always been our protocol that whoever gets the second highest
[vote] in the race for the speakership, becomes minority leader, Baguilat said.
Since this was the first time in recent memory that this happened, Baguilat said he did not
know whether the voting for minority leader would take place on the floor or if a meeting
among the minority members would suffice.
Asked why the numbers game suddenly became complicated, Baguilat said: Because they
really wanted to come out with a coopted minority and it really requires a lot of machinations.
On Sunday, Alvarez denied that there were moves to manipulate the voting for speakership.
Whether he would be the minority floor leader, he and his colleagues would become a critical
fiscalizing force in this administration, Baguilat said.
On Sunday night, he tweeted: The supermajority and the anointed minority want to make sure
that dissent is controlled and meek. So a few brave souls have decided. I will run for
speakership of the House of Representatives. We wont win. We wont even make it as minority
floor. But doing whats right.

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