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Arroyo, Pia Cayetano lead new House Deputy Speakers

/ 07:14 PM August 15, 2016
Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took her oath as deputy speaker before Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday. Photo by Marc Jayson Cayabyab

Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took her oath as deputy speaker before Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday. Photo by Marc Jayson Cayabyab

FORMER president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led the lawmakers who were elected as Deputy Speakers in the House of Representatives.

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During the plenary session on Monday, Majority Floor Leader Rudy Farinas announced the following lawmakers who were elected as Deputy Speakers in the 17th Congress:

-Pampanga Rep Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

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-Taguig Rep. and former senator Pia Cayetano

-Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia

-Davao city Rep. Mylene Garcia-Albano

-Aambis Owa Rep. Sharon Garin

The new deputy speakers took their oath before Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

After administering the oath, Alvarez gave Arroyo a peck on the cheek.

Arroyo was noticeably not wearing her neck brace, even though she claims to be suffering from cervical spondylosis, a degenerative disease of the bones and cartilage of the neck.

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“I, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the second district of Pampanga, having been elected as deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, hereby solemnly swear that I would faithfully discharge to the best of my ability the duties of my present position and of all others I may hold under the Republic of the Philippines, support and defend the Constitution of the Philippines, that I will bear truth and allegiance of the same… and that I am posing obligation upon myself voluntarily, without mental reservations, so help me God,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo, who was released from hospital detention after four years  when the Supreme Court dismissed her plunder case, had said before that she was elected as Deputy Speaker to lead the Central Luzon bloc in the lower chamber.

READ: Arroyo now a Deputy Speaker

Arroyo said her nomination as Deputy Speaker of the Central Luzon bloc was part of the plan to divide the House of Representatives into 12 federal states to test the waters for a federal system of government.

READ: House to form 12 states in federal bid

Currently, there are five Deputy Speakers chosen to represent the different political parties in Congress: Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan; Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu, Nacionalista Party; Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, National Unity Party; Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo, Liberal Party, and Negros Occidental Rep. Mercedes Alvarez, Nationalist People’s Coalition.

Under House rules, a Deputy Speaker is an ex-officio member of all House committees. The Deputy Speaker is the second highest official in the House of Representatives.

The Deputy Speaker gets to preside plenary sessions in the absence of the Speaker.

Other duties under the rules include:

-To assume the duties and powers of the Speaker when so chosen by a majority vote or by lot among themselves, as the case may be, in cases of absence or temporary incapacity of the Speaker, until such time that the Speaker returns to office and resumes work; and, in case of resignation, removal, permanent incapacity or death of the Speaker, until such time that a new Speaker is elected and qualified;

-To preside over the session when, even if present, the Speaker does not preside, or has not designated any other Member as temporary presiding officer;

-To monitor, coordinate and facilitate action on measures filed, requests, and other concerns of Members representing constituencies to which they may be assigned by the Speaker;

-To recommend to the Speaker appropriate policies, strategies and programs of action to improve the process of legislation and the quality of legislative measures, and to effectively address concerns of Members on matters affecting them, their constituencies, and the overall operations and integrity of the House;

-To appoint personnel of the House when so authorized by the Speaker; and

-To perform such other duties and functions as may be assigned or delegated to them by the Speaker.

Arroyo won a seat in the House as Pampanga lawmaker while in detention for plunder over the alleged misuse of P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office intelligence funds from 2008 to 2010.

She held office at the VMMC for the duration of the last Congress.

Arroyo walked free at 6:30 p.m. on July 22, after the Supreme Court dismissed her plunder case. The High Court ruled that her approval of the P366 million intelligence fund releases was only ministerial and did not constitute an “overt act” to commit plunder.

READ: SC: Arroyo OK on fund release not overt act of plunder

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