Majority leader: many solons favor removal of House leaders vs death penalty bill

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) - House Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas said Monday many pro-death penalty lawmakers wanted House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to make good his threat to remove House leaders who did not support the death penalty bill.

Fariñas said the 217 members who voted in favor of the death penalty held a caucus on Monday afternoon where they decided to give their full support to the House Speaker to do what he wanted with deputy speakers and committee chairmen who either voted against the death penalty bill, abstained from voting, or was absent during the voting.

Read more: House votes on death penalty on third and final reading

"Ang kanila [For them], is to give to the Speaker the prerogative to impose any action he wishes to do and the group gives its full support to the Speaker," Fariñas said.

He recalled that one congressman stood up and said that despite being against the revival of the death penalty, he still voted on its favor because he had to follow the leadership's stance.

Fariñas said that if the lawmaker said the threat is not implemented, that lawmaker warned that he would not follow the orders of the leadership next time.

He added many congressmen wanted the rule implemented to everyone, including Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo -- or to none at all.

Fariñas also said, once the leadership decides to remove committee chairmen, it will be up to the political parties to choose who they want as replacements in the committee chairmanship.

He explained, the distribution of committee chairmanships was based on the membership of political parties.

"For example the Liberal Party has 5 members holding leadership position who voted against, papalitan lang nila ng galling din sa Liberal Party [they will replace vacated seats with Liberal Party members]. We will preserve the equilibrium," Fariñas said.

In fact, Fariñas said, some political parties have submitted a list of replacements for lawmakers who may be removed for voting against the controversial measure.

Meanwhile, Fariñas says Commission on Appointments Member Josephine Ramirez-Sato may not be removed from the CA.

"There are 12 seats in the CA. Each seat is equivalent to 24 members. The Liberal Party has more than 24, so they are entitled to one seat," Fariñas said.