BATANGAS 6th District Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto is the latest addition to the growing list of deputy speakers at the House of Representatives under Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
Santos-Recto, Rep. Deogracias Savellano of Ilocos Sur, Mujiv Hataman of Basilan, and partylist bloc head Michael Romero of 1-Pacman Partylist, were appointed at Tuesday’s plenary session, bringing to 22 the number of House deputy speakers in the 18th Congress.
The 18 deputy speakers appointed over the past weeks were: Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte, South Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez, Sorsogon 1st District Rep. Evelina Escudero, Antique Rep. Loren Legarda, Abono Partylist Rep. Conrado Estrella 3rd, Surigao del Sur 1st District Prospero Pichay, Antipolo City 1st District Rep. Roberto Puno, Cibac Partylist Rep. Eduardo Villanueva, Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Surigao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Johnny Pimentel, Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Batangas 2nd District Rep. Raneo Abu, Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales, Laguna 1st District Rep. Dan Fernandez, Pangasinan 3rd District Rep. Rose Marie Arenas, Sagip Partylist Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, Misamis Occidental 2nd District Rep. Henry Oaminal, and Cebu 3rd District Rep. Pablo John Garcia.
In an interview earlier this week, veteran lawmaker and National Unity Party (NUP) president Elpidio Barzaga said that despite the growing number of deputy speakers, their specific assignments and expertise would help in processing quality legislative measures.
“[This may have been made out of accommodation] but also necessary in so far as our deputy speakers are concerned, because based on the pronouncement of the Speaker, they would be given specific assignments,” he said.
Barzaga added that Cayetano needed to provide bargaining for some positions for all political parties allied with the administration in order not to “antagonize” the House members.
Two more lawmakers are expected to be named to bring to 24 the number of House deputy speakers, considered the highest number in the history of the House.
Under Section 31 of House rules, the chamber is only allowed 14 deputy speakers, 10 deputy majority leaders, and seven deputy minority leaders. But the inumbens can change the rules to appoint as many officials as they want.