Nograles takes oath as new House Speaker

Nograles, a lawyer, was elected at 1 a.m. today,  after the presiding officer announced that the motion to declare the Speakership vacant was approved by a vote of  174 for, 35 against and 16 abstentions.

Ousted Speaker Jose de Venecia (Pangasinan) nominated Nograles to the post, a nomination immediately closed by Cebu Rep. Antonio Cuenco.  There was no nominal voting, just an affirmation that the House members were “unanimous” in choosing him Speaker.

Accompanied by his wife Rhodora and family members, Nograles took his oath at the Session Hall at 1:18 a.m. and delivered a brief inaugural speech that was over by 1:20 a.m.

Nograles thanked everyone “from the bottom of my heart” and de Venecia “for nominating me.” The crowd applauded.

Nograles said he has known only two speakers while in Congress: the late Ramon Mitra and De Venecia.

“I also wish to thank Speaker de Venecia for all the years of service he has done,” Nograles said.

“I accept this position with all humility,” he said, adding he did ask himself “what will I do with it?”

“This is God’s will. Probably destiny,” he said.

Nograles acknowledged there were “some harsh words.. that were raised. They will all be addressed and answered at the proper time. Not now, not tonight,” he said.
Nograles said he accepts the “challenge to continue to reform.”

Gabriela Women's Party Representatives Luz Ilagan of Davao City and Liza Maza, were among those who voted “no” to the motion declaring the Speakership vacant, explaining their vote is “an assertion of Congress' independence from Malacanang."

Ilagan said the move to oust the Speaker was "no different from a game of chess where pawns are sacrificed to save the queen. It is a move to protect the belaguered Arroyo leadership from unresolved issues of electoral fraud, bribery and corruption."

Nograles was valedictorian in the elementary department of the Ateneo De Davao in 1959 and was a consistent honor student until law school in Manila.

He finished Bachelor of Arts, Major in Political Science at the Ateneo de Manila in 1967 and graduated from Law also at the Ateneo de Manila, with honors.

He was second placer in the 1971 bar exams, obtaining an average of 90.95%.

Nograles was one of the awardees of the annual Ten Outstanding Young Men, for law and human rights in 1975.

Together with  Jesus Dureza (now Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process),  Nograles was among Davao City’s first “human rights lawyers,” having helped the Church in the pursuit for justice for victims of the Catalunan Grande massacre in the late 1970s. Nograles was then president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and Dureza was secretary-general.  

The two would later become political rivals in the first congressional district of Davao City.

Nograles served then UP President now Senator, Edgardo Angara, as Executive Assistant to the President from 1981 to 1982 and as deputy general counsel from 1981 to 1982.  

He won as congressman of the first district from 1989 to 1992 and 1995 to 1998.  He ran for mayor against Rodrigo Duterte in 1992 but lost. He ran again for mayor in 1998, this time against Vice Mayor Benjamin de Guzman but lost. He ran for and was elccted representative of the first district in 2001 and was reelected in 2004 and 2007.  (MindaNews)