Alvarez won’t mind losing support after House revamp
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday said he does not mind losing support from some members of the House of Representatives now that he is pushing through with his threat to strip anti-death penalty lawmakers of key House posts.
Alvarez said this even at the risk of losing his Speakership as he declared that the revamp in the lower House would have to wait until Congress returns from its break.
Alvarez said political parties have submitted their representatives to the House committees following an expected revamp of committee chairperson and deputy speakers to replace those who voted no to the death penalty.
Alvarez said he has authorized the Majority Leader Ilocos Norte Rep. Rudy Fariñas to implement this policy under his leadership.
“I have to observe protocol. Ako nung nilatag ko ‘yung policy, si majority leader dapat ‘yung mag-implement ng policy (I am the one laying down the policy, the Majority Leader will be the one to implement the policy),” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said he couldn’t do anything if he loses support from House members by following through with his threat.
“Well, if I’m burning bridges, so be it. Wala ako magagawa dyan (I can’t do anything about that),” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said all House committees chaired by lawmakers who voted no to the administration bill restoring capital punishment would be replaced by lawmakers who voted yes to the administration measure.
“We have asked the respective parties to submit their nominees,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said he would implement the same strong-man policy in other pet bills, such as the bill lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility to nine years old.
The House of Representatives in a vote of 217 earlier passed on its final reading House Bill 4727 that seeks to restore the death penalty for drug-related offenses. Fifty-four lawmakers voted against the bill.
The following Makabayan lawmakers stand to lose their chairmanships for voting against the death penalty. These include Act Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio, who chairs the public information committee; Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate (natural resources); and Gabriela Rep. Emmi De Jesus (poverty alleviation).
Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte, Dinagat Island Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, and Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Sato are also expected to lose their key posts for voting no to the death penalty.
Santos-Recto chairs the civil service and professional regulation committee, Belmonte chairs the committee on land use, Bag-ao chairs the committee on people participation, while Sato is a member of the powerful Commission on Appointments.
Other lawmakers who voted against the death penalty at risk of losing their committee chairpersonships are: Sorsogon Rep. Evelina Escudero (mother of Senator Francis Escudero) who chairs the basic education and culture committee), Anak Mindanao Rep. Sitti Turabin-Hataman (wife of ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman) who chairs the committee on Muslim affairs, and Buhay Rep. Mariano Michael Velarde (son of El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde) who chairs the overseas workers affairs committee.
Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad, the wife of former budget secretary Butch Abad, was absent from the voting. She chairs the committee on government reorganization. Alvarez said even lawmakers who abstained from voting are facing the ax.
Among the House leaders, only Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo stands to lose her deputy speaker post for voting no to the death penalty. It was during her term as President that the capital punishment was abolished.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman had chided Alvarez for reportedly backing out on his threat, but Alvarez said the House revamp would still push through but only at the right time.
The bill passed by the lower House seeks to limit the death penalty on drug-related offenses (except possession of drugs, which is punishable with life imprisonment). JE
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