Arroyo, 11 other anti-death bill House leaders stripped of posts

MANILA-- Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo FariAas on Wednesday declared as vacant the posts of Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and 11 other committee chairmen who voted against the death penalty bill.

At Wednesday's plenary session, FariAas moved to declare vacant 10 committee seats including: civil service and professional regulation, government reorganization, Muslim affairs, national resources, overseas workers affairs, people's participation, poverty alleviation, public information, women and gender equality, and special committee on land use.

FariAas also declared vacant the position for Deputy Speaker for Central Luzon, which was previously held by Arroyo.

Meanwhile, Sorsogon Rep. Evelina Escudero, who gave a no vote for the contentious measure, was replaced by Cebu Rep. Ramon "Red" Durano as head of the committee on basic education and culture.

The sudden purge of House leaders happened before the lower chamber adjourned for its month-long Lenten break.

The House leaders who voted against the death penalty bill and were stripped of their titles include: Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto chairing the committee on civil service and professional regulation; Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte chairing the committee on land use; Dinagat Islands Rep. Arlene Bag-ao chairing the committee on people participation; Buhay Partylist Rep. Michael Velarde Jr. chairing the committee on overseas workers affairs; Amin Partylist Rep. Sitti-Djalia-Hataman chairing the committee on Muslim affairs.

Three leaders belonging to the Makabayan bloc also lost their posts, namely: Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate chairing the committee on natural resources; ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio chairing the committee on public information; and Gabriela Partylist Rep. Emmi De Jesus chairing the committee on poverty alleviation.

Committee on government reorganization chair Henedina Abad and Committee on women and gender equality chair Emmeline Aglipay-Villar who were absent during the third reading vote on the death penalty bill were also plucked from their posts.

Meanwhile, the fate of Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez Sato as member of the Commission on Appointments still remains undecided for voting against the administration's pet bill.

Source: Philippines News Agency