MANILA—Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday said he will declare vacant the posts of dissident House leaders who voted against the administration’s priority bill restoring the death penalty when Congress reconvenes in May.
In an ambush interview, Alvarez said he will follow through with his hardline policy of stripping anti-death penalty lawmakers holding key House posts such as deputy speakerships and committee chairmanships.
“Siguro pagbalik na namin from the (Lenten) break,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said that he is just waiting for the respective political parties to submit their nominees who will replace the House leaders who voted against the death penalty bill.
Alvarez said that while he was the one who declared such policy, he directed Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas to implement it.
“I have to observe protocol. Ako nung nilatag ko ung policy, si Majority Leader dapat yung mag-implement ng policy,” Alvarez said.
The lower chamber overwhelmingly passed House Bill No. 4727, or an act imposing the death penalty on drug-related crimes with 217 votes on the affirmative, 54 negative and one abstention.
Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was the only deputy speaker who thumbed down the measure restoring capital punishment. It was during her term as president when the death penalty was abolished back in 2006.
Other House leaders who voted against the death penalty bill include: Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto chairing the committee on civil service and professional regulation; Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte chairing the committee on land use; Dinagat Islands Rep. Arlene Bag-ao chairing the committee on people participation; Sorsogon Rep. Evelina Escudero chairing the committee on basic education and culture; Buhay Partylist Rep. Michael Velarde Jr. chairing the committee on overseas workers affairs; Amin Partylist Rep. Sitti-Djalia-Hataman chairing the committee on Muslim affairs; and Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez Sato as member of the Commission on Appointments (CA).
Three leaders belonging to the Makabayan bloc are also endangered of losing their committee positions, including: Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate chairing the committee on natural resources; ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio chairing the committee on public information; and Gabriela Partylist Rep. Emmi De Jesus chairing the committee on poverty alleviation.
Committee on government reorganization chair Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad was absent during the third reading vote on the death penalty bill and is also at risk of being replaced.