By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Embattled ABS party-list Rep. Eugene Michael de Vera has been removed from the roll of members in the House of Representatives.
During Monday’s proceedings in the plenary, Majority Floor Leader Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. manifested that the House secretary-general be instructed to drop de Vera from the roll of members in compliance with a communication from the ABS party-list and directive from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc.
“In view of the foregoing, may I request that the secretary-general be instructed to drop from the roll of members of the House of Representatives Rep. Eugene Michael B. de Vera,” said Andaya.
He explained tge said communication came from ABS Partylist President Catalina Leonen-Pizzaro informing the chamber that of De Vera’s expulsion from their group, “removing him as representative of the party in the House of Representatives.”
He also noted that based COMELEC en banc Resolution No. 18-0842, De Vera was subject within the chambers’ “jurisdiction and is covered by its own rules and regulations.”
The presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Prospero Pichay, acted on Andaya’s manifestation and ordered the House secretariat to delist the solon from the chamber’s roll of members despite objections from de Vera and LPGMA Partylist Rep. Arnel Ty.
Pichay immediately suspend the session after rendering the directive to the House secretariat.
For his part, De Vera stressed the action of leadership was unprecedented and he will surely challenge his removal before the Supreme Court (SC).
“Unconstitutional, illegal and that’s bordering into a criminal act,” he said.
He insisted that only the House Electoral Tribunal (HRET) has the jurisdiction on the matter of removing a sitting member of the lower house.
Legislators loyal to the previous House leadership under ousted Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez led by former Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte) recognized DeVera as the duly constituted Minority Leader since incumbent Minority Leader Danilo Suarez (Quezon Province) himself voted for Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during the House leadership scuffle last July 23.
But Suarez insisted that he was the leader of the minority since only the position of the Speaker was declared vacant during the incident.
De Vera and Fariñas recently went to the high tribunal to question Suarez’s authority in minority bloc.
Ty earlier stressed that by removing de Vera, the court petition will weaken, if not dismissed totally because the petitioner is no longer a legislator.