House approves resolution formalizing Arroyo speakership

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The House of Representatives approved a resolution formalizing the election of Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the new Speaker.

Lawmakers conducted a viva voce vote or a vote of ayes and nays to approve House Resolution No. 2025 (HR 2025) on Wednesday, July 25, two days after the dramatic ouster of Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez and the controversial takeover of Arroyo.

The resolution officially puts into the House records the proceedings that happened on Monday evening, July 23, when Arroyo's allies held a special session where 243 lawmakers were present, declared the speakership vacant, and voted for Arroyo as the sole candidate for the new leader of the House.

A total of 184 lawmakers voted yes, 12 from the Liberal Party abstained, while the no votes from the 7-member Makabayan bloc were not recorded as they were deemed "out of order."

But questions lingered as to the validity of Arroyo's speakership. The mace, which symbolizes the legislative authority of the lower chamber and which the House rules mandate should be displayed during sessions, was missing.

Arroyo's allies in fact had to hold the election twice on Monday because of the lack of a sound system and a secretariat to record the proceedings during the morning session, the first time their move to oust Alvarez was carried out.

With the approval of HR 2025, lawmakers have formalized Arroyo's speakership in a bid to address legal concerns. (READ: Gloria Arroyo's firsts as House Speaker)

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Railroaded approval?

Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Rodolfo Fariñas tried to block the passage of HR 2025.

"As of the last session the other day, I am the majority leader of the House of Representatives and the chairman of the committee on rules. Now may I know if this passed the committee on rules?" said Fariñas.

Deputy Speaker Rolando Andaya, who presided over the session, told Fariñas a new interim majority leader has been elected. This means under Arroyo, Fariñas is no longer being recognized as the majority leader.

"Yes. The majority of the members elected an interim majority leader in the person of Deputy Speaker Fred Castro and that was agreed upon by the majority members of the House," said Andaya.

Castro then moved that HR 2025 be put to a viva voce vote. Shouts drowned out Andaya as he proceeded with the voting. He then slammed the gavel and announced the approval of HR 2025.

Andaya immediately suspended the session.

A visibly frustrated ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio then said over the microphone that it was obvious his protests against the vote were being ignored.

"House Resolution 2025, brazenly railroaded and adopted by the majority in today's session, seeks to admit into the official record of the House the result of the voting that purportedly elected [Arroyo] to the post of Speaker," Tinio said in a statement after the vote.

"It is a blatant admission on the part of the Arroyo camp that the said elections were not part of the official proceedings of the House as required by the Constitution. It is tantamount to an admission that the so-called session that elected her was a mere caucus. The railroading of this resolution is a crude attempt to cure this fatal infirmity," he added.

Read a full copy of HR 2025 below:

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/384657855/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-vXSCCZJcpSfjFFnhGymq&show_recommendations=true " data-auto-height="false" data-aspect-ratio="0.75" scrolling="no" id="doc_49681" width="100%" height="600" frameborder="0">

– Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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