Fariñas questions resolution on Arroyo's election as House Speaker

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 25) — A technical issue over a resolution on the election of Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as House Speaker marred the third session day of the House of Representatives, ending in a verbal exchange.

Speaking at the resumption of session Wednesday, Ilocos Norte Representative Rudy Farñas said, "The Deputy Speaker introduced a resolution. As of the last session the other day, I am the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives and the chairman of the Committee on Rules. May I know if this resolution passed the Committee on Rules?"

Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya, Jr., deputy speaker, and Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles authored House Resolution 2025. It seeks to enter into the congressional records Arroyo's election on July 23 as the new Speaker of the 17th Congress. It was received on July 25.

Under House rules, the rules committee must first approve any bill or resolution before it can be included in the plenary session's order of business.

Fariñas said he was unaware of House Resolution 2025's existence.

A commotion then erupted as Fariñas voiced his objection to the resolution.

Fariñas told CNN Philippines that he would not give any statements about the events at the House of Representatives until things were resolved.

Interim Majority Leader Fred Castro of Capiz, however, said he is now the majority leader – and in effect, chairman of the Committee on Rules – and he approved of the inclusion of the resolution in Wednesday's session.

Fariñas and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio continued to object, but Andaya, who presided over the session, called for a vote and the resolution was passed by a vote of acclamation. The voting procedure drowned raised voices of objection, including a complaint from Tinio that his microphone was turned off only to be told that he was still on. But the session was by then suspended.

Tinio said the railroading of the resolution was an admission that Arroyo's election as House Speaker was not part of the official proceedings as required by the Constitution.

"Not once, but twice, a cloud of doubt hangs over the legitimacy of Gloria Arroyo's assumption to high office: as President in 2004, and now as Speaker of the House.," Tinio said, referring to Arroyo's controversial victory over closest rival, the late actor Fernando Poe, Jr., during the 2004 presidential elections.

He said this meant the so-called session that elected Arroyo was a mere caucus or a meeting - not an official session.

Tinio added, "House Resolution 2025, brazenly railroaded and adopted by the majority in today's session, seeks to admit into the official record of the House the result of the voting that purportedly elected her to the post of Speaker. It is a blatant admission on the part of the Arroyo camp that the said elections were not part of the official proceedings of the House as required by the Constitution. It is tantamount to an admission that the so-called session that elected her was a mere caucus. The railroading of this resolution is a crude attempt to cure this fatal infirmity."

Nueva Ecija Rep. Magnolia Antonino, however, said the resolution was only meant to put the election on record.

She said Arroyo's election was valid because the ultimate power comes from the majority - or in this case 184 congressmen who voted in favor of Arroyo.

CNN Philippines' senior digital producer Pia Garcia contributed to this report.