By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Two days after the controversial leadership fiasco in the Lower House, another commotion erupted in the plenary hall of the House of Representatives.
Following the opening of session on Wednesday (July 25), embattled House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte) quickly questioned House Resolution No. 2025 which pertains to the election of the new House leadership under former president and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last June 23.
Fariñas questioned the measure introduced by Deputy Speaker Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. (Camarines Sur), presiding officer, since it should first pass through the office of the Ilocos Norte solon being the Majority Floor Leader and chair of the Committee on Rules.
“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… I am the chairman of the Committee on rules and I do not know of any such resolution, Mr. Speaker,” Fariñas told Andaya.
Andaya explained to Fariñas that the overwhelming population of House Majority have decided to replace him during Monday evening’s procedure and elected Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro as the “interim Majority Foor Leader.”
The Camarines Sur lawmaker then instructed Castro who is acting in his capacity as the interim Majority Floor Leader and chairman of the Committee on Rules to proceed and continue with the reading the resolution amidst objection from both Fariñas and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio.
Andaya then continued to act on Castro’s measure despite repeated objections from both Tinio and Fariñas and proceeded with the approval of the resolution through a “viva voce” vote. A shouting match among the four lawmakers ensued.
Tinio continued to raise his voice in the floor even after Andaya already banged the gavel right after the voting.
“Peke ito, peke ito! Pinatayan ninyo ako ng mic! May nag-oobject pa rito, ni hindi man niyo kinilala! Kitang kita naman oh! Mahiya naman kayo! I am objecting!” said Tinio.
Andaya then replied: “Nakabukas yung mic, sige na, buwelo ka na. Nakabukas yung mic.”
A total of 184 solons voted in favor of the resolution, which is the same figures when they first elected Arroyo as the 25th House Speaker of the country last Monday.
Arroyo’s supporters initially attempted to unseat his predecessor, Deposed House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez few hours before the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) but the embattled Davao del Norte solon was allowed to co-preside over Joint Session of Congress upon the request of the chief executive.
The former President’s rise to the Speakership was hounded with controversy especially on the manner of how her supporters ousted the former House leader.
On Tuesday, both Arroyo and Alvarez have reached terms and agreed to maintain their “good relationship with each other.”