The Kabayan party-list has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to proclaim another member to replace its representative in Congress, Harry Roque Jr, after the latter was removed from the party-list last January.
In a statement Tuesday, the party-list said it has filed a petition before the Comelec urging the immediate proclamation of its third nominee, Atty. Ciriaco Calalang, as its new representative and replace Roque.
Roque was removed from the party-list after it found his behavior and statements "inimical to the interest of the party-list and gravely tarnishing its reputation as one engaged in principled advocacy."
“The urgency of the petition cannot be underscored considering that, in effect, Kabayan party-list is being represented in the House of Representatives by a non-member since Roque’s expulsion in January 12, 2017,” the petition read.
In seeking the replacement, the party-list invoked Republic Act 7941, which states that the next representative from the list of nominees will take the vacancy in the seats reserved for party-list representatives.
The party-list won two seats in the House of Representatives in the May 2016 elections, with Roque and Atty. Ron Salo as its top two nominees.
Ethics complaint vs. Roque
Salo, meanwhile, on Tuesday filed an ethics complaint against Roque seeking his immediate expulsion.
In a separate statement, Salo said that despite Roque's removal from the party-list, he "continues to cling to his post in Congress.”
Salo recounted Roque's privilege speech in December last year, which “shocked and rocked the entire Congress when he besmirched my person and reputation with false charges against me, and branded the Board of the Kabayan party-list – the same Board that approved his nomination – as dubious.”
The lawmaker said Roque's "shameless" act still leaves emotional and physical scars to him.
“Despite the fact that I have already forgiven him, somehow, from the depths of my soul lies a longing for justice,” Salo said.
“Hence, I am filing this complaint to repair the damage to my person, emotion and reputation, as well as to the reputation of Kabayan party-list and to the entire House of Representatives and its members,” he added.
Salo, in his affidavit, said it was "unfair" and "unjust" to simply subject Roque to censure for his behavior.
“Expelling Roque from the House of Representatives may not be enough, but it is the right step to restore respect, honor and dignity to the House of Representatives, as an embodiment of the aspirations of our people,” he said.
For his part, Roque said he would address the issues raised against him in the proper forum.
"Rep. Harry Roque just wants to say that unlike his second nominee, we feel confident that the proper fora will address the Kabayan Party-list list dispute to our advantage," Roque said in a statement sent to reporters.
The lawmaker's camp also said the House committee on ethics found the six ethics complaints they had filed against Salo were "sufficient in form and substance." — MDM, GMA News