House purge: GMA ousted | Philstar

House purge: GMA ousted | Philstar
By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 16, 2017 – 12:01am

Reference:
Porcalla, D. (2017, March 16). House purge: GMA ousted. The Philippine Star. Retrieved April 26, 2017 from http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/03/16/1681643/house-purge-gma-ousted

MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and members of the super majority coalition last night made good their threat to remove former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as deputy speaker, along with 11 other committee chairmen of the House of Representatives who voted against the return of the death penalty.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas moved to declare the seat of Arroyo as deputy speaker for Central Luzon vacant, along with the panel headed by former actress Vilma Santos-Recto of Lipa City, Batangas – the civil service committee in the House.

Recto is the wife of Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.

Only the post that was vacated by Sorsogon Rep. Evelina Escudero – mother of Sen. Francis Escudero – in the House purge contained a nomination: Cebu Rep. Ramon Durano, who now heads the basic education committee.

It came as no surprise to Arroyo, however, as her press statement – both in digital and hard copy – was readily available shortly after the proceedings.

She told reporters earlier she relayed her personal position to President Duterte on the matter.

“I thank the President for his expression of understanding late last year regarding my position on the issue. I also thank the Speaker for the honor of having served as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives,” she stated.

“It meant much to me. As a plain congresswoman I will continue to do all I can to support both President Duterte and Speaker Alvarez,” said the representative of the second district of Pampanga.

She defended her vote against the reimposition of the death penalty, saying the issue “is unlike any other, in that it touches the core of each person’s fundamental view of human life.”

“I believe that the issue required a vote based solely on conscience and the deepest of personal convictions. Thus, despite my support for President Duterte and Speaker Alvarez, I voted against House Bill 4727,” Arroyo said in the statement.

Among the other committees declared vacant were those of Reps. Henedina Abad (government reorganization), Sitti Djalia Hataman (Muslim affairs), Carlos Isagani Zarate (natural resources) and Mariano Michael Velarde (overseas workers affairs);

Reps. Jose Christopher Belmonte (land use), Kaka Bag-ao (people’s participation), Emmi de Jesus (poverty alleviation), Emmeline Aglipay-Villar (women and gender equality) and Antonio Tinio (public information).

Alvarez earlier said that aside from Arroyo, those to be replaced include Mindoro Occidental Rep. Josephine Sato, who sits in the Commission on Appointments (CA).

Earlier, Sato said she would not leave her CA post even if Alvarez or Fariñas tells her to because she represents the Liberal Party (LP) in the commission.

She said it is her party that has the authority to replace her.

Alvarez conceded that it is the LP that has the right to change its representative in the CA.

“That is why we will ask them (LP leaders) to nominate a replacement,” he said.

The House overwhelmingly voted to approve the death penalty bill. At least 10 of the 54 who voted against the measure hold leadership and committee assignments.

There were reports that Arroyo is being groomed as the next Speaker to replace Alvarez who will be appointed as executive secretary as part of a Cabinet revamp, according to sources.

The STAR source – a Cabinet official – said yesterday that Arroyo is expected to be elected Speaker when Congress convenes in May while Alvarez would be appointed executive secretary.

The source said current Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea would be appointed to a “very sensitive post” in the government.

In the interview, Alvarez said he did not know if Arroyo would be appointed governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

With Jess Diaz, Paolo Romero, Perseus Echeminada

Published on Headlines | Philstar

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