Isabela Rep. Albano is new House deputy speaker replacing Arroyo
MANILA, Philippines — Isabela 1st District Rep. Antonio Albano was elected as a new deputy speaker of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, replacing Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a former president.
During the plenary session on Tuesday, the House approved a motion made by Deputy Majority Leader Ramon Nolasco Jr. (Cagayan 1st District). to elect Albano.
Nolasco also moved to make other changes to the House leadership, electing Lanao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Yasser Alonto Balindong as another deputy speaker, replacing Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab.
After no House members objected, Deputy Speaker and Antipolo 1st District Rep. Roberto Puno, who was presiding over the session, approved the separate motions.
‘After careful deliberation‘
In a statement following the removal of Arroyo and Ungab as deputy speakers, Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe (Zamboanga City 2nd District) said that the House had made the decision “after careful deliberation.”
Dalipe said the decision stemmed from Arroyo and Ungab not signing a pivotal House resolution sponsored by the leadership.
“This decision stems from the fact that out of the nine Deputy Speakers, only Deputy Speakers Macapagal-Arroyo and Ungab chose not to sign a pivotal House resolution sponsored by the entire leadership,” Dalipe said.
“This particular resolution was of paramount importance, as it manifested the collective intention of the House leadership to rise in unison in defense of the institution. This resolution was a response to certain quarters that have recently levied criticisms and scurrilous attacks against the House and its leadership,” he added.
Dalipe did not mention what specific resolution he was referring to, but the House on Monday adopted House Resolution (HR) No. 1414, which sought to uphold the dignity and integrity of the legislative chamber.
This was after former President Rodrigo Duterte launched tirades against the House, calling it the “most rotten government organization” after the body decided to strip the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd) of its confidential fund requests for 2024.
OVP and DepEd are both headed by Duterte’s daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte.
According to Dalipe, the House respects the right of each member to have his or her own opinions, but he said “leadership positions come with certain responsibilities and expectations”.
“One of these expectations is to be aligned with the collective decisions of the leadership, especially on matters of significant importance to the institution,” Dalipe said.
“By choosing not to sign the resolution, Deputy Speakers Macapagal-Arroyo and Ungab have demonstrated that their perspectives differ from the collective stance of the leadership,” he added.
Nevertheless, the majority leader said they appreciated and respected the contributions of the two former deputy speakers.
“While their contributions to the House are appreciated and respected, the leadership believes that it is in the best interest of the House to have leaders who fully support and uphold the collective decisions and directions set forth by the leadership,” he said.
“The House as an institution will continue to work diligently on behalf of the Filipino people, and we are committed to ensuring that our leadership reflects the unity and direction needed to effectively serve our constituents,” he added.
Arroyo and Ungab’s removal from the deputy speaker post ended speculations that the former president was in danger of being demoted again.
Last May, Arroyo was removed from her senior deputy speaker position and was replaced by a fellow Kapampangan — Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr.
After this, Arroyo said that her actions might have been misconstrued as an attempt to stage a coup against Romualdez. However, she assured Romualdez — her party-mate in the Lakas-CMD — that she fully supported him.
A day after Arroyo was removed from her senior deputy speaker post, Vice President Duterte resigned from Lakas-CMD — which opposition lawmaker and Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman believed was due to Arroyo’s demotion.
Eventually, the apparent power struggle within the House died down after Romualdez, Arroyo, and Gonzales were seen together at the rostrum.
When asked by reporters on Monday as to why her name was not part of the resolution, Arroyo explained through a staffer that she was outside the country.
Arroyo assured the public that she would support Romualdez’s leadership.