Still not House speaker? Questions arise as Arroyo elected new House speaker

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 23 2018 11:28 PM | Updated as of Jul 24 2018 02:02 AM

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MANILA - A member of the staff of the secretary-general of the House of Representatives has questioned the re-opening of the House session on Monday amid the coup that shook the lower chamber.

Videos taken by ABS-CBN News showed lawmakers gathered after former President and current Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was elected as new House Speaker.

The session of the House of Representatives was supposedly adjourned until Tuesday.

However, congressmen reopened the session after President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his third State of the Nation Address.

It was in this session that Arroyo took over the leadership of the House of Representatives, ousting Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

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Rep. Edcel Lagman questioned the initial proceedings before voting was held, noting that the rules of the House were not being followed.

"The 'election' of a new Speaker was a sham, a shamefully sham process. Because the rules were not observed, the House was not properly in session, the secretariat was not there to record the proceedings in the journal. The mace was not also displayed in order to authenticate, authorize the proceedings," he said.

"The roll-call is being made not from the official records of the house but from a mere pamphlet. We've all seen that. So this is a gross irregularity," Lagman added.

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Meanwhile, Rep. Fredenil Castro said there should be no question in Arroyo's election since there was a quorum, and majority of those in attendance voted for her.

"There's no question about the quorum, there's no question about the attendance," he told DZMM.

Castro also said there were people who took note of the votes and the attendance of the lawmakers.

"Kasi bago tayo magbotohan, mayroon tayong roll-call. And during the first roll-call, 'yung iba, bumoboto na," he added.

For Rep. Carlos Zarate, what happened in the House of Representatives shows a conflict between pro-Duterte factions.

"Itong rigodon dito sa House, hindi naman ito mangyayari kung walang basbas mula sa Malacañang. Kaya ito, labanan lamang ito ng mga paksyon na may kanya kanyang agenda at interes, at isang paksyon ngayon ang nagtagumpay," he told DZMM.

He also said that the change in leadership will not benefit the people since the House will still push through with the agenda of the Duterte administration.

Some 244 members of the House of Representatives resumed session around 7:30 p.m. to formalize the removal of Alvarez and the election of Arroyo as House Speaker.

Arroyo secured the speakership with 184 affirmative votes, while 12 lawmakers opted to abstain.

Arroyo was the sole nominee for the position. - with reports from Biena Magbitang, ABS-CBN News