Lawmaker admits ordering mic shutdown during House coup

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 26 2018 06:38 PM

Newly-installed House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shouts from the plenary hall rostrum ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 23, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano on Thursday admitted that he ordered the sound system shut down during the session where Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was elected as House Speaker last Monday.

"I just told sound system guys, 'Is the session open?' Eh hindi. (It's not.) 'Close (turn off) the mic. Kung 'di open ang session (If the session is not open), close the sound system.' They followed me," Albano told ABS-CBN News.

Albano refused the appeals of Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. and Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza to switch on the sound system since under the rules, no session means no mic and no mace.

The shutdown of the sound system failed to stop the ouster of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez and Arroyo’s takeover before President Rodrigo Duterte's third State of the Nation Address.

It did, however, create the awkward spectacle of Andaya shouting to continue the session, lawmakers milling in front so they could hear each other, and Arroyo ascending the rostrum and delivering her speech inaudibly to the audience.

MISSING HOUSE MACE

Alvarez’s daughter Paola, meanwhile, spoke out after she was bashed on social media over a picture with the House mace inside her father’s office.

"I don’t know how they think I stole it because if you will look at the CCTV I was there during the whole thing. That picture was after everything," Paola told ABS-CBN News.

"But that aside, kung puwede ko lang 'yun itago para hindi na mapahiya 'yung Pilipinas, gagawin ko. Wala naman ako pakialam na tinanggal nila 'yung dad ko. Ang issue ko wala silang respeto, pati araw ng Presidente hindi na nila nirespeto."

(But that aside, if I can hide that just so the Philippines would no longer be brought to shame, I will do that. I don't care that they ousted my father. My issue is that they have no respect, especially for the day of the President.)

Andaya said there would be disciplinary action.

He said there at least 3 maces. The one supposedly used by former Speaker Sergio Osmeña was the one being used by Arroyo. 

Andaya downplayed the absence of the mace in the first vote, saying this does not diminish the power of lawmakers. 

“Kumbaga sa pulis mace chapa lang 'yun, ang pulis kahit maiwan chapa sa bahay pulis pa rin 'yun," he said.

(The mace is like a police badge. Even when the police officer forgets his badge at home, he's still a police officer.)

Lawmakers on Tuesday vowed to investigate the incident. Arroyo's allies want action on the disappearance of the mace, secretariat and sound system during the session when they elected her as Speaker.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, one of those who rebelled against Alvarez, said the coup did not just happen. 

“Hindi naman ito nangyari overnight (This didn't happen overnight). [The] trigger was when there was a movement to declare the speaker’s office vacant and then they cut it off,” he said.