UPDATED: PH House Speaker will reportedly be ousted, replaced by former President Arroyo

Photo from ABS-CBN News.
Photo from ABS-CBN News.

(UPDATED), 2nd UPDATE. Former president of the Philippines and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has become the new Speaker of the House of Representatives. She took her oath today, before the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA).

This happened after the lower house adjourned at noon, with Pantaleon Alvarez staying on as House Speaker. But members of the House returned to the hall early in the afternoon, with Deputy Speaker Rolando Andaya speaking at the plenary, saying that the morning session should not have adjourned that early.

CNN Philippines earlier reported that three unnamed congresspersons have confirmed Alvarez’s ousting, even before it happened. The move to replace Alvarez is said to be led by Duterte’s daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Alvarez is a supporter of the president but has had a very public feud with Duterte-Carpio. In February, the first daughter cursed at the house speaker on social media for allegedly calling her a part of the opposition after she created a separate regional political party.

According to ABS-CBN News, several lawmakers were set to meet about the ousting today before the third regular session of the 17th Congress is opened and prior Duterte’s third SONA.

Former president and current Congressperson Arroyo supported Duterte during his campaign for the presidency in 2016.

She became the representative for the 2nd district of Pampanga in 2010, right after leaving her post as the 14th president of the Philippines. She was reelected to the lower house in 2013 and 2016.

Although she’s been able to hold down government positions, Arroyo is also the subject of controversies.

There were allegations that she rigged the 2004 Presidential elections, which gained traction after a wiretapped recording of her conversation with a Commission on Elections official was made public.

In 2012, Arroyo also faced a PHP366 million (US$6,847,335.03) plunder case from the Office of the Ombudsman for the alleged misuse of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s (PCSO) funds, leading to a 4-year hospital arrest.

The case was dismissed by the Supreme Court just a few weeks after Duterte was sworn in as president in 2016.

Arroyo is the first woman to become House Speaker.

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