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House names Vilma Santos as new Deputy Speaker

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto has joined the ballooning list of deputy speakers under the leadership of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

During Tuesday’s proceedings in the House Plenary, Senior Deputy Majority Floor Leader Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla (Cavite) moved for election of Santos-Recto and two others as part of the almost two-dozen ex-officio members of the House of Representatives.

The presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel (Surigao del Sur) acted on Remulla’s motion.

Santos-Recto, wife of Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto is a member of the Nacionalista Party (NP).

National Unity Party (NUP) President and Cavite Rep. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga earlier admitted that the growing numbers of deputy speakers is a form of political accommodation by Cayetano for various entities who supported his speakership bid last month.

Barzaga said Cayetano “was considerate of lawmakers who support him” and “needs to provide some bargaining, some positions for all political parties allied with the administration in order not to antagonize them.”

He said it was a good gesture on the part of Cayetano “considering that there was no fight as far as the speakership is concern” due to the term-sharing deal brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte between the former Foreign Affairs secretary and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

With the election of Santos-Recto and two other congressmen, the number of deputy speakers has now soared to 21. Barzaga earlier hinted that it may reach up to 24.

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