Alvarez ousted, Arroyo takes over as Speaker

FORMER president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the Speakership of the House of Representatives from incumbent Pantaleon Alvarez after her colleagues expressed their overwhelming support before 4 p.m. on Monday afternoon.

This developed moments ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s scheduled delivery of his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the BatasangPambansa Complex.

It all started when Rep. Rolando Andaya of Camarines Sur of approached one of the microphones in the session hall to reveal that at least 161 House members from the majority coalition met to make an urgent decision even if the House was not yet in session at 3 p.m. Andaya’s microphone, however, was abruptly turned off. Journalists covering the BatasangPambansa had no way of listening to what he was saying since the plenary hall was cordoned off to journalists in the wake of President Duterte’s arrival.

While his microphone was off, Andaya kept on speaking. Rep. KarloNograles of Davao City, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, then proceeded to calling of roll while holding a booklet with a list of House members. Rep. DoyLeachon of Oriental Mindoro was listing down the votes. As this happened, lawmakers huddled around Arroyo.

Arroyo, accompanied by Deputy Speaker Castro, then climbed the rostrum and took her oath as the new Speaker.

Arroyo, also a former Senator, took her oath before Rep. Dennis Laogan of AngKabuhayan party-list, the youngest member of the House at 27 years old.

Arroyo needed only a simple majority of House members to oust Alvarez.