By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Deposed Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has created a confusion among members of the House of Representatives as he stood up in front speaker’s podium during President Rodrigo Duterte State of the Nation Address (SONA) despite being ousted few hours prior to the event.
Alvarez returned to the podium around 5:10 p.m., despite being ousted in an earlier session which elected former president and current Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macagapal Arroyo as the new House leader.
At least 161 solons signed an earlier manifesto of support for the speakership of Arroyo. But her assumption as House leader was put in question since the “mace,” the symbol of authority in the Lower House was nowhere to be found until the arrival of Duterte at the Batasang Pambansa Complex around 3:50 p.m.
House Deputy Speaker Romero “Miro” Quimbo, who abstained during the voting, said the election of Arroyo as Speaker can be questioned by the camp of Alvarez due to technicality since the mace was not present when she was elected.
“It is the symbol of authority. Technically we can’t start any regular session without the mace,” said Quimbo.
But Quimbo also noted that despite not having the mace during Arroyo’s election, at the end, it was still a numbers game.
“The camp of Speaker Alvarez can question President Arroyo’s election as speaker for sure. Pero here in Congress, majority rules. Kung sino ang may bilang,” said Quimbo.
Less than an hour before Duterte’s arrival, Deputy Speaker Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya called the attention of his colleagues present inside the House plenary and move to bring up the manifesto of support for Arroyo which is by that time was already signed by at least 141 solons from the majority bloc.
The House engineering department suddenly turned off Andaya’s microphone, causing him to instead raise up his voice so that his colleagues may hear the manifesto of support they brought up in the plenary.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles made a roll-call of members and later call for a vote despite not having the mace placed in the podium.
At the Arroyo at least 161 votes, which is more than the required number to bag the House leadership.