Arroyo, 11 anti-death penalty lawmakers ousted in House revamp

MANILA (Updated) -- Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was ousted as House Deputy Speaker for Luzon while 10 other members of the House of Representatives were stripped of their committee chairmanships Wednesday afternoon for voting against the restoration of the death penalty.

Others stripped of key posts were Vilma Santos-Recto (civil service and professional regulation committee), Evelina Escudero (basic education and culture committee), Arlene "Kaka" Bag-ao (people's participation committee), Jose Christopher Belmonte (land use special committee), Mariano Michael Velarde Jr. (overseas workers affairs committee), Sitti Turabin-Hataman (Muslim affairs committee), Henedina Abad (government reorganization), Emmi de Jesus (poverty alleviation committee), Carlos Isagani Zarate (natural resources committee), Emmeline Aglipay-Villar (women and gender equality committee) and Antonio Tinio (public information committee).

Escudero, who was demoted to vice chairperson of her committee, was replaced by Representative Ramon Durano IV (Cebu, 5th district)

Arroyo, in a statement, said she voted against the restoration of death penalty despite her support for President Rodrigo Duterte and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez because she believed that "the issue required a vote based solely of conscience and the deepest of personal convictions."

"The issue of the death penalty is unlike any other in that it touches the core of each person's fundamental view of human life," Arroyo stated.

She vowed to continue supporting both Duterte and Alvarez.

The revamp was made possible through a motion of House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas to strip the anti-death penalty lawmakers of their committee chairmanships.

The House revamp came early as Alvarez had said in a text message Wednesday that the anti-death penalty legislators would be ousted when sessions resume after the Holy Week break. Congress will adjourn sessions on March 17 and resume on May 2. (MVI/Keith A. Calayag/SunStar Philippines)
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