House leaders remove Arroyo, 11 reps from posts

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The House of Representatives leadership makes it move — those who voted against the death penalty bill lose their positions.

Former president and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was removed as deputy speaker. Committee chairpersons who lost their posts are:

  • Vilma Santos-Recto (Batangas 6th District) - Civil Service and Professional Regulation
  • Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman (AMIN Party List) - Muslim Affairs
  • Carlos Zarate (BAYAN MUNA Party List) - Natural Resources
  • Mariano Michael Velarde (BUHAY Party List) - Overseas Workers Affairs
  • Kaka Bag-ao (Dinagat Islands Lone District) - People's Participation
  • Emmi de Jesus (GABRIELA Party List) - Poverty Alleviation
  • Antonio Tinio (ACT TEACHERS Party List) - Public Information
  • Jose Christopher Belmonte (Quezon City 6th District) - Special Committee on Land Use
  • Evelina Escudero (Sorsogon 1st District) - Basic Education and Culture
  • Emmeline Aglipay-Villar (DIWA Party List) - Women and Gender Equality
  • Henedina Abad (Batanes Lone District) - Government Reorganization

Of the 11 lawmakers, Villar and Abad were absent during voting on the death penalty bill.

In a statement, Arroyo said she supports both President Rodrigo Duterte and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez despite their opposing views on death penalty

"The issue of the death penalty is unlike any other, in that it touches the core of each person's fundamental view of human life. I believe that the issue required a vote based solely on conscience and the deepest of personal convictions," she said.

For Zarate, the passage of the death penalty bill was forced on the lawmakers.

"It does not speak well for the House leadership to have resorted to arm-twisting and railroading just to ensure the passage of an anti-poor death penalty bill," he said.

Meanwhile, Cebu 5th District Representative Ramon Red Durano is the new Basic Education Committee chairman. Escudero is the vice chairperson.

Other committees will have chairpersons in May when Congress resumes session.

Alvarez said he asked political parties to submit the names of replacements for committee chairmen.

However, Marikina 2nd District Rep. Miro Quimbo said the Liberal Party is not taking the option.

"Hindi namin kayang gawin iyon sa kasama naming matatanggal na papalitan namin sila … Walang willing pumalit sa natanggal (We can't do that to our colleagues. No one is also interested to replace those who were removed from their posts)," Quimbo said.