MANILA -- Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said the leadership change at the House of Representatives presented a "strong argument" against a parliamentary form of government.
Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed took over as speaker from Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez in a tug of war that played out on national television and delayed President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address.
"If only for the timing and manner the coup d'etat in the House of Representatives was carried out, I would say it was awkward, ugly, low and disgraceful," Lacson said.
Regardless of the outcome, "what happened yesterday is a strong argument against a parliamentary form of government where patronage politics plays a major, if not the only, role in selecting our country's top leader," he said.
Arroyo was voted to the speakership by 184 out of 244 lawmakers present on Monday.
Alvarez was supposed to be ousted during the opening session, but his allies adjourned the session to stop other members from moving to declare his post as vacant.
"In a manner of speaking, even the traditionally symbolic mace was in a maze yesterday at the Batasan, not knowing whose authority it would represent between the two contending personalities," Lacson said.
With the absence of the mace, it prevented the transition from taking place before President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The mace is a "symbol of authority, which is displayed at the foot of the Speaker's Rostrum whenever the House is in session." The House cannot hold session without the mace in its proper place.
Lacson warned that if Arroyo's speakership was a prelude to becoming prime minister, both the majority and minority in the Senate "have agreed to defend and assert our role under the 1987 Constitution in revising or amending the same."
Sen. Risa Hontiveros echoed Lacson's statement, saying what happened between Arroyo and Alvarez was distasteful and delayed Duterte's SONA.
She also shared Sen. Grace Poe’s comment that the public, most especially public servants, must be conscious of what’s going happen next with Arroyo leading theHouse.