Removal of CGMA as deputy speaker as 'good as the day follows night' – Alvarez

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Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Twelve congressmen are in danger of losing their posts after voting against the death penalty bill.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has repeatedly said he would replace deputy speakers and committee chairmen who would vote against it, abstain from voting, or were absent during the voting.

He earlier explained it would be awkward if House leaders would not support administration-endorsed bills.

Alvarez vowed to stand pat on this move.

"A policy is a policy," he said, adding President Rodrigo Duterte is aware of his plan.

Alvarez met with Duterte in Malacañang Wednesday night, after the House of Representatives passed the the death penalty bill on third and final reading.

"Sabi niya, ikaw bahala. Ayaw naman nila makialam dito," says Alvarez when asked how the President reacted to his plan. 

House deputy speaker, committee chairmen no more?

House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is among those Alvarez wants replaced

He said this plan "is as good as the day follows night".

Alvarez was Arroyo's Transportation secretary when she was president.

Arroyo refused to comment on the issue for now.

Other congressmen in danger of losing their posts are:

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ACT Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio's Committee on Public Information recently approved the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill.

"I have overseen the approval of the substitute bill on FOI at the committee level in record time and stand ready to sponsor it in plenary. However, the matter of leadership positions in the House is entirely the call of the Speaker," Tinio said

Asked how the change in leadership might affect the passage of the FOI bill, Tinio said he is "not discounting the role that can be played by individual advocates of FOI (myself included), but in the end, whether it will pass or not will largely depend on the House leadership."

Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Carlos Zarate's committee recently approved bills prohibiting mining in two areas in Mindanao.

"We are willing if the leadership so decides na we have to leave, vacate our position," said Zarate.

He added he plans to help the congressman who will replace him to ensure that his pet bills would be approved.

Majority Leader Fariñas said there will be no replacements this week.

"I made a plea to the Speaker that he will allow me to handle the matter, which he has kindly granted while saying, 'only because I trust your judgment'," said Fariñas.

Alvarez said he plans to implement his policy of removing leaders who will oppose the passage of administration measures.

He added the death penalty vote is an indication of how congressmen would vote on other measures such as the lowering the age of criminal liability to 9.

Voting 217-54 with one abstention, House of Representatives passed the death penalty bill on third and final reading Wednesday night.

Some death penalty critics claimed some lawmakers voted in favor of the bill because of Alvarez' threat.

Pro-life but pro-death?

The House is not new to bills that polarized the chamber.

In 2012, it passed the Reproductive Health (RH) bill. Those against the bill were branded pro-life and even called Team Buhay, while those against it were tagged Team Patay.

Interestingly, 18 pro-life congressmen who voted against the RH bill now voted for the death penalty bill.

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"Iba naman iyong karapatan mabuhay at iyong dapat mabigyan ng kaparusahang kamatayan. I think that's two different issues," said Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, a co-author of the death penalty bill.

Suarez said he remains pro-life despite supporting death penalty.