House coup: ‘No-El’ proposal was the last straw, says Rep. Atienza

Photo from Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez’ Facebook page

Davao del Norte 1st district Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez’ insistence to cancel the midterm elections next year was among the reasons for his ouster as House Speaker on Monday, shortly before President Rodrigo would deliver his third State of the Nation Address, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said.

Majority of her colleagues voted former president and now Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the new Speaker.

The move confirmed reports of plans to remove Alvarez as early as last year.

“No-El (no election) was the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back,” Atienza said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

Alvarez had proposed canceling the elections next year as a way to fast-track the shift to a federal form of government.

“If I were him, I won’t take the seat, mahihiya ako (I’d be ashamed),” the former mayor of Manila said, reacting to the sight of Alvarez taking the seat on the podium of the House.

“As of now, wala kaming magagawa (we can do nothing). We have a spoiled Speaker,” he added.

“The Speaker right now is Arroyo,” he emphasized.

Atienza said Alvarez’ allies moved to adjourn their session at noon Monday to preempt his ouster, in the process causing the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

“He may now sit now but at the end of the day he will be deposed,” he said.

Majority of the House members resumed session after Duterte’s SONA to formalize the removal of Alvarez and the election of Arroyo as Speaker.

Arroyo, the sole nominee for the post, got 184 votes while 12 abstained. She is the first female House Speaker and the first former president to hold the position. (MindaNews)