By Mark Jayson Cayabyab and Gianfranco Geronimo
Perhaps realizing that efforts to make Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo House Speaker would be futile, the administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD has chosen Albay 1st district Rep. Edcel Lagman as its candidate for Speaker.
When asked about his chances of winning the speakership against LP’s Belmonte, Lagman, 68, said he and can count on his allies from Lakas, which remains the dominant party in Congress.
Lagman is currently on his last and sixth term as representative, having previously served from 1987 to 1998, and then from 2004 to the present. He has been consistently received the Outstanding Congressman award from 1987 to 1998, and from 2004 to 2008.
In 1998 he unsuccessfully ran for Senator under Joseph Estrada’s Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino, placing 15th.
Lagman graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines in 1962, and received his Bachelor of Laws from the same university in 1966.
According to Lagman’s website, his principal advocacies, among others, are education, empowerment of local government units, and reproductive health and population development.
Lagman is the author of House Bill (HB) 326, or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2008. Other major laws he authored include Republic Act (RA) 9346, prohibiting the imposition of the death penalty in the country; RA 7731, which abolished the National College Entrance Examination (NCE); and RA 9500, or the University of the Philippines Charter of 2008.
Perhaps the most controversial bill Lagman has authored is House Bill 17, or the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, which has been judged by critics as anti-life and pro-abortion.
Lagman dismissed these allegations, saying the bill strengthens family life by giving parents an informed choice in planning their families. Still, opponents of the Bill, notably the Catholic Church, dispute these claims.
Lagman is the brother of Filemon “Ka Popoy” Lagman, a labor leader was gunned down by suspected communists in front of the Bahay ng Alumni in UP Diliman in 2001, and political activist Hermon Lagman, who disappeared during the time of Martial Law under the late president Ferdinand Marcos. His son and namesake, Edcel Lagman, Jr., has been a Quezon City councilor since 2004. The younger Lagman topped the council race in the city’s 4th district last May.