Bicol solons support GMA speakership
By Rhaydz B.Barcia QUEZON CITY --- Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda said majority of Bicolano solons supported the ascendancy as House Speaker of former President now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Salceda, who is known to be switching party loyalty and membership every election, said that the struggle in the House of Representatives will continue in the next few days following the ouster of former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. Salceda is among those who signed the resolution supporting Arroyo as new speaker of the House of Representatives. He disclosed the ouster of Alvarez was initiated by the President’s daughter Mayor Sara Duterte of Davao. During the grab for power, it was Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando ‘Nonoy’ Andaya who stole the thunder by announcing that the required majority of the House has decided to install Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the new Speaker. Like a lightning, the incident happened minutes before President Rodrigo R. Duterte arrived at the House of Representatives to deliver the annual State of the Nation Address (SONA). “Alvarez’s group was able to maneuver the scenario to prevent his ouster on the day of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) to avoid creating a commotion that will betray the smooth flow of the President’s State of the Nation Address which was scheduled on that same moment. But after an hour of struggle and flexing muscles, 186 members of the congressmen present signed a manifesto endorsing former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to be the next speaker,” the Albay solon said. The start of the President’s address, however, was delayed for almost an hour because of the Speakership showdown. But civility prevailed even for a moment when it was allowed that Alvarez would occupy the Speaker seat to jointly open the joint session with the Senate for the President’s address. Following the ouster of Alvarez, all positions and chairmanships in the house would have to be declared part vacant to give way to the reorganization of the House, Salceda added. He said that almost all of the Bicolano bloc (meaning legislators loosely grouped as those belonging to the Bicol Region) supported Arroyo. According to Salceda the NUP, NPC, LP and NP political parties also supported Arroyo, aside from the PDP-Laban. “The NUP of Enrique Razon, NPC of Danding Cojuangco, LP of former President Benigno and NP of Manuel Villar joined forces to topple down Alvarez in favor of Arroyo,” the Bicolano solon said. The majority bloc is composed of 259 members, or 87 percent of the whole House membership while minority block composed of 18 represents for 5.4 percent. Fourteen, or 4.7 percent, belong to the Independent minority. According to party affiliations, NUP has 17 solons, Nacionalista, 17, NPC with 29, and LP with 46, and PDP-Laban has 114. The rest belong to the Party-List.