By Ben Rosario and Ellson Quismorio, July 24 2018; Manila Bulletin


Image Credit to Manila Bulletin

In a roll call voting, a total 184 House members backed the approval of Arroyo’s nomination as the next House leader. At least 12 congressmen, mostly Liberal Party members who voted along partylines, abstained.

For the second time, Arroyo took her oath of office before Ang Kabuhayan partylist Rep. Dennis Laogan, the youngest House member at age 27.

Earlier, Laogan administered Arroyo’s oath of office when she was declared speaker by 162 votes during a surprise session held following this morning’s abrupt adjournment.

At least 243 congressmen remained at the session hall after President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his State of the Nation Address and resolved the leadership tiff that hounded the Lower House over the weekend.

The holding of an extended session was in compliance with the agreement between Arroyo and Alvarez to conclude the controversy that delayed Duterte’s SONA.

“There was an agreement that we will finish everything as part of the deal that allowed Speaker Alvarez to preside for the Lower House during the SONA,” revealed Deputy Speaker and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro.

Alvarez, together with Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas, failed to show up at the extended session, prompting pro-Arroyo lawmakers to continue with the proceedings.

Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. took over as temporary speaker and presided over the session that started with the sound system cut off, lack of secretariat and unlocated mace.

During the session, Castro was voted to be temporary majority leader.

As the public address system was restored, the session proceeded without the mace, prompting Andaya to declare that it is merely a symbol that can be replaced the will of majority of the House members.

The temporary leadership also directed the House Sergeant-at-Arms Roland Detabali to explain the disappearance of the mace.

The House symbol of authority was returned prior to the announcement of the voting.

Nueva Ecija Rep. Magnolia Antonino quickly moved to declare all position vacant before Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu stated Arroyo as nominee.

With Arroyo as the lone nominee, the House proceeded to formalize the voting.

LP solons welcomed the leadership change but agreed to abstain while three Makabayan lawmakers led by ACT Teachers partylist voted “no.”

The chaired ruled to count the “no” votes as abstention.

Arroyo received the speakership win after partyleaders from various political groups backed her as Alvarez’s replacement.

Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said the National Unity Party, Nacionalista Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Kilusang Bagong LIpunan and the United Nationalist Alliance vowed support for Arroyo.

At least 40 PDP-Laban members led by Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez also backed Arroyo.