Pampanga Rep. Arroyo unseats House Speaker Alvarez

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 23) — House of Representatives voted Pampanga Representative and former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as House Speaker on Monday night, ousting Pantaleon Alvarez.

The vote was held after President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address (SONA) when Congress reconvened after some confusion on whether or not Arroyo was successfully sworn into her new position earlier that day. 184 representatives voted for Arroyo, while 12 abstained.

Congressmen had earlier attempted to oust Alvarez when the Congress reconvened after it abruptly adjourned its session after the resumption of the 17th Congress.

Arroyo then took her oath as House Speaker mere minutes before Duterte arrived for his SONA. However, it was Alvarez who took his place beside the President during the speech.

After the SONA speech, the solons returned to the session hall, passed around a manifesto expressing support for Arroyo's election as House Speaker. In the evening, 238 congressmen held another session, where Alvarez was ousted from his post after 184 voted for Arroyo.

Arroyo, who led the country from 2001 until 2010, is the first former president to become House Speaker. Her election as House Representative in 2010, and now as leader of Congress' lower chamber is a stunning return to power for the 71-year-old Arroyo, who spent nearly five years under hospital detention for alleged corruption until the Supreme Court dismissed the case against her and ordered her release in 2016.

Related: Former President Arroyo walks free after 4 years in detention

Before Alvarez, the most recent House Speaker to be removed from office was Jose de Venecia Jr. He was ousted in February 2008, during the term of then-President Arroyo. He was replaced by then-Davao City Representative Prospero Nograles.

Former Senator Orly Mercado questioned the timing of the ouster, saying it "grabbed headlines" from Duterte's SONA.

"Focus is now on unceremonious removal of the Speaker. This will, up to an extent, derail the message," he told CNN Philippines.

Arroyo's former Finance Secretary Gary Teves said, as House Speaker, she will surely focus on economic legislation.

Presidential daughter behind ouster?

Congressmen earlier confirmed to CNN Philippines that first daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, asked for their support in ousting Alvarez and electing Arroyo as the new House Speaker.

Another lawmaker revealed that Duterte-Carpio has been in talks with Arroyo about possibly taking over Alvarez's post since April.

The First Daughter had repeatedly expressed her dislike for Alvarez early this year after the House Speaker allegedly declared her as part of the political opposition when she formed a regional political party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

Alvarez is the Secretary-General of the ruling party, PDP-Laban.

In several social media posts in February, Duterte-Carpio cursed at Alvarez, saying that he "messed with the wrong girl." Alvarez, however, denied calling Duterte-Carpio part of the opposition.

In April, President Rodrigo Duterte assured Alvarez that Arroyo had no plans to replace him amid rumors of plans to oust him.

Duterte was then attending a dinner in a hotel in Pasay City, which was attended by a number of high-ranking government officials including Alvarez and Arroyo.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte respects the turnover of power from Alvarez to Arroyo.

CNN Philippines' Joyce Ilas, Chad de Guzman, and Eimor Santos contributed to this report.