Fariñas: 'No replacements will happen yet' after death penalty vote
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The House leadership will not immediately replace deputy speakers and committee chairpersons who voted against the death penalty bill.
"No replacements will happen, yet," said Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas in a text message to reporters on Wednesday, March 8, a day after congressmen voted 217-54-1 in favor of House Bill 4727. (LIST: How congressmen and women voted on the death penalty bill)
According to the Ilocos Norte representative, he "made a plea" to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez regarding the impending reorganization of the House.
Alvarez previously said that any House leader who would vote no, abstain from voting, or be absent during the proceedings would be replaced.
"I made a plea to the Speaker that he will allow me to handle the matter, which he has kindly granted while saying, 'Only because I trust your judgment,'" said Fariñas.
Asked why he made the plea to Alvarez, Fariñas explained doing so is part of his role as Majority Leader.
"I'm the Majority Leader and I handle affairs pertaining to the Majority, in the same manner that the Minority Leader does with his group. The Speaker is the Head of the House of Representatives and wants to run the House through his majority and minority leaders," said Fariñas.
"I serve at the pleasure of the Speaker, and I am responsible and accountable to him with respect to the members of the majority," he added.
Several of the 54 lawmakers who thumbed down HB 4727 hold prime posts in the House, including Deputy Speaker Gloria Mapacagal Arroyo. It was during her presidency when the Philippines abolished the death penalty in 2006.
A number of committee chairpersons also voted no:
- Kaka Bag-ao, Dinagat Islands (people's participation committee)
- Jose Christopher Belmonte, Quezon City 6th District (land use special committee)
- Evelina Escudero, Sorsogon 1st District (basic education and culture committee)
- Emmi de Jesus, Gabriela Women's Party (poverty alleviation committee)
- Batangas 6th District Representative Vilma Santos-Recto (civil service and professional regulation committee)
- Sitti Turabin-Hataman, Anak Mindanao (Muslim affairs committee)
- Antonio Tinio, ACT Teachers (public information committee)
- Mariano Velarde, Buhay (overseas workers affairs committee)
- Carlos Zarate, Bayan Muna (natural resources committee)
Occidental Mindoro Representative Josephine Ramirez Sato, a member of the House contingent to the Commission on Appointments (CA), voted against the death penalty as well.
Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo, another CA member, skipped the proceedings.
The following committee chairpersons were also absent during the vote:
- Henedina Abad, Batanes (government reorganization committee)
- Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, DIWA (women and gender equality committee)
- Robert Ace Barbers, Surigao del Norte 2nd District (dangerous drugs)
- Amado Espino Jr, Pangasinan 5th Disrict (national defense and security)
- Delphine Lee, AGRI (ethics and privileges)