LIKE his father and elder sister before him, Rep. Pablo John “PJ” Garcia of Cebu’s third district was elected House deputy speaker to represent the Visayas.
The election came Tuesday afternoon, July 30, 2019, at the House of Representatives of the Philippines.
As deputy speaker for the Visayas, PJ will assist House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano “in specific areas of legislation.”
He is the third in the Garcia family to be elected deputy speaker.
Like him, his father Pablo and sister Gwendolyn represented Cebu’s third district.
His father, Pablo Garcia, now 94 years old, was elected deputy speaker in 2008.
His sister, now Governor Gwendolyn, 63, was elected deputy speaker in 2016.
Under the House rules, 14 deputy speakers are chosen by their peers and confirmed and formally elected by the whole body.
“But I understand there might be a few more because House membership has ballooned to around 304,” PJ told SunStar Cebu on Facebook Messenger.
He considers the position “as a platform to advance the interests beyond those of my district, and more of Cebu and the Visayas: more infrastructure for the Visayas and more voice and representation in government.”
PJ, 52, was congressman of Cebu’s third district in 2007 and 2010. He ran for governor in 2013 and for congressman in the newly created seventh district of Cebu in 2016 but lost in both elections.
The current composition of Cebu’s district covers the western towns of Tuburan, Asturias, Balamban, Pinamungajan, Aloguinsan and Barili and Toledo City.
A graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Law, PJ placed fourth in the 1994 bar examinations.
His father, a law graduate of the University of San Carlos, placed third in the 1951 bar exams.
Cebu City’s 1st district Rep. Raul del Mar had also been elected House deputy speaker (2004 and 2007).
The other 13 deputy speakers are Paolo Duterte (Davao City, 1st district), Dinand Ledesma Hernandez (South Cotabato, 2nd), Evelina Escudero (Sorsogon, 1st), Loren Legarda (Antique), Johnny T. Pimentel (Surigao del Sur, 2nd), Conrado Estrella III (Abono party-list), Prospero Arreza Pichay Jr. (Surigao del Sur, 1st), Roberto Puno (Antipolo City, 1st), Eddie Villanueva (Cibac party-list), Aurelio D. Gonzales Jr. (Pampanga, 3rd), Luis Ramon Villafuerte (Camarines Sur, 2nd), Raneo Abu (Batangas, 2nd), Neptali Gonzales II (Mandaluyong City), and Dan Fernandez (Laguna, 1st). (MPS with MVI, RTF)