DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 March) — Three Mindanawon representatives lost their chairmanship in key committees — Natural Resources, People’s Participation, and Muslim Affairs — for voting “No” to HB 4727 or the death penalty bill.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday declared the post of Deputy Speaker for Luzon and the chairmanship of 11 committees vacant, on motion of House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas. The Deputy Speaker for Luzon, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the chairs of 11 committees, including the three Mindanawons, voted no to the restoration of the death penalty.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez Jr. last week warned that those who vote no to HB 4727 would lose their posts.
Stripped of their committee chairmanship were Mindanawons Kaka Bag-ao of the lone district of Dinagat Islands (Committee on People’s Participation), and party list members Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman of Anak Mindanao (Committee on Muslim Affairs) and Carlos Isagani Zarate of Bayan Muna (Committee on Natural Resources).
“This is to be expected and we stand by our principled decision to vote NO against the anti-poor death penalty bill,” Zarate said, adding “it does not speak well for the House leadership to have resorted to arms-twisting and railroading just to ensure the passage of an anti-poor death penalty bill.”
Zarate said Bayan Muna and the Makabayan Bloc “will have to seriously assess the situation and discuss our next move.”
Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was removed as House Deputy Speaker for Luzon. The death penalty, abolished in 1987, was reimposed in 1993 but abolished again in June 2006 under the Arroyo administration.
Also stripped of their committee chairmanship were Diwa party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar (Women and Gender Equality), Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad (Government Reorganization), Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte (Land Use Special Committee), Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmi de Jesus (Poverty Alleviation ), Sorsogon Rep. Evelina Escudero (Basic Education and Culture Committee), Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto (Civil Service and Professional Regulation Committee), and Antonio Tinio (Public Information) and Buhay party-list Rep. Mariano Michael Velarde Jr. (Overseas Workers Affairs Committee),
A total of 49 of Mindanao’s 66 representatives to Congress voted in favor of HB 4727. Nationwide, a total of 217 representatives voted for the bill, 54 voted against and one abstained.
Mindanao has a total of 66 representatives in the House of Representatives, 59 of them representing districts and seven representing party list groups..
The reimposition of the death penalty is a campaign promise of President Rodrigo Duterte, the country’s 16th President and the first Mindanawon to lead the nation. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)