Rep. Gloria Arroyo of Pampanga, one of the 24 lawmakers who voted against the death penalty bill, has been ousted as deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.
House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte moved to declare Arroyo’s post vacant before the Lower House adjourned for the Lenten break on Wednesday.
Fariñas also filed a motion declaring the posts of the House Committee Chairmen who voted against the death penalty vacant.
Fariñas’ motion was carried without objection. There were 239 lawmakers present during the plenary session on Wednesday.
Arroyo said she does not regret voting against the death penalty bill.
“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. Thus, despite my support for President Duterte and Speaker Alvarez, I voted against House Bill No. 4727 (Death penalty bill),” she said in a statement.
Arroyo also said she has no ill-will against Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who made good his threat to remove House leaders who did not support the death penalty measure.
“I thank the President for his expression of understanding late last year regarding my position on the issue. I also thank the Speaker for the honor of having served as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. It meant much to me. As a plain Congresswoman I will continue to do all I can to support both President Duterte and Speaker Alvarez,” Arroyo said.
Also stripped of their House leadership posts were House Committee on Public Information Chairman Antonio Tinio of Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list; House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna party-list; House Committee on Poverty Alleviation Chairman Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela; House Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation Chairman Vilma Santos-Recto of Batangas; House Committee on People Participation Chairman Arlene Bag-ao of Dinagat Islands; House Committee on Muslim Affairs Chairman Sitti Hataman of Anak Mindanao party-list; House Special Committee on Land Use Chairman Kit Belmonte; House Committee on Basic Education Chairman Evelina Escudero and House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs Chairman Michael Velarde of Buhay party-list.
Escudero was replaced by Rep. Ramon Durano 6th of Cebu.
Santos-Recto saw her ouster coming but clarified that the LP lawmakers allied with the Super Majority who voted against the death penalty will not become opposition lawmakers.
“We’re prepared for it. We knew because it was announced. At the end of the day, it’s your conviction. Its what you believe in. That’s what’s important,” Santos-Recto said.
“But I don’t have plans to join the Minority. We will still be having discussions in the LP. But we are not making any drastic move,” she added.
House Committee on Women and Gender Equality Chair Emmeline Agligay of DIWA party-list and House Committee on Government Reorgnanization Chair Henedina Abad of Batanes were also ousted from her post since they were absent during the voting on the death penalty measure.
Rep. Amado Espino of Pangasian was also absent during the vote on death penalty bill, but he wasn’t stripped of his post as the Chair of the House Committee on National Defense and Security.
President Rodrigo Duterte initially tagged Espino as a politician involved in illegal drug operations but was later cleared by the President.