New Kabayan, Anak Mindanao representatives sworn in
The House of Representatives’ two newest members, Kabayan Rep. Ciriaco Calalang and Anak Mindanao Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan, have taken their oaths on Monday.
Accompanied by their families and their respective party-mates Reps. Ron Salo and Makmod Mending Jr., Calalang and Sangcopan took their oaths before Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia.
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas moved from their proclamation, citing the minute resolutions issued by the Commission on Elections certifying their nomination by their respective party-list groups.
Calalang and Sangcopan took the seats vacated by now-Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and resigned Rep. Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman.
Roque had opposed Calalang’s proclamation, despite the latter being listed as the third nominee on the list submitted to the Comelec. This was part of the infighting between two factions of the party respectively backed by Roque and Salo, who occupies the group’s second seat in the House.
Calalang’s nomination was approved by the party’s Board of Trustees, which Salo claimed was the group’s legitimate governing body under a purported 2015 amendment to the 2017 constitution. Roque’s camp, however, claimed the Comelec certified that the bylaws were never changed and that the decisions of the so-called Party Congress should prevail.
Instead, Roque pushed for his replacement by his chief-of-staff, human rights lawyer Romel Bagares. Roque also kept bringing up the Supreme Court’s 2013 disciplinary ruling which suspended Calalang from practicing law for two years and permanently disqualified him from acting as notary public for notarizing a deed by “ghost” land sellers.
Sangcopan’s assumption as Hataman’s replacement was not as controversial. A former agrarian reform secretary for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Sangcopan had to replace Hataman, after the latter yielded her seat to focus again on community work among the disaffected youth in conflict-weary Mindanao.
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