Wed, 27 May 2020

Screengrab from News5Everywhere YouTube account.

CHEERS TO ANC's Early Edition and TV5 Aksyon's explainer for reports that underscored the importance of legislative independence in the lower chamber of the 18th Congress. Most of the coverage focused on the aspirants and developments indicating how strongly they were favored by the president.

Early Edition host Christian Esguerra pointed out the importance of the minority leadership. He recalled the house minority row that put Rep. Danilo Suarez (3rd Dist., Quezon), House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's known ally, as minority chair.

Esguerra asked Rep. Edcel Lagman (1st Dist., Albay) about how the opposition could prevent a repeat of a majority-controlled minority. Lagman said they urged the supermajority to field a common candidate, thereby enabling the minority to field its own candidate who will eventually become the minority leader. Lagman added that the next House Speaker should let an "authentic" opposition-led minority bloc emerge, unlike what happened during the 17th Congress.

Esguerra further pointed out how some candidates claim close ties with the president to strengthen their bids. Lagman claimed that there is an "emerging reality" that the speaker can be the rubber stamp of the administration because all candidates seek the "anointment of the president."

Aksyon's explainer was also notable with anchor Ed Lingao's profile of the aspirants and background on their relationship to the Dutertes.

The president's announcement on June 21 that he will endorse someone for the position validated fears that the House of Representatives will serve as a rubber stamp legislature. He will have his pick from his political supporters who won a seat in the last election; among them Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez (1st Dist., Davao del Norte), Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano (1st, Dist., Taguig), Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (Lone District of Marinduque), and Rep. Martin Romualdez (1st Dist., Leyte). There has been little pretense on the part of the administration for providing balance to the president's complete control of the Senate and the House.

But with most reports focused on the campaign of the speaker bets, few were able to point out the implications of a rubber stamp legislature.

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