MANILA, July 25 (Mabuhay) — As expected, Davao Del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez on Monday was elected as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives in a landslide vote of 251 lawmakers.
The gavels were banged around 10 a.m. signaling the opening of the 17th Congress under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
A nominal voting of members ensued which propelled Alvarez to lead the 17th Congress.
Duterte is set to deliver his first State of the Nation Address this afternoon.
Former Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Liberal Party vice chair, initially wanted to run for reelection but conceded to Alvarez amid an exodus of Liberals jumping ship to Duterte’s Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
Belmonte then vied for the minority post, but withdrew from the race Saturday after the decision was made for the LP to join the majority coalition.
A small contingent of Liberal Party stalwarts refused to join the majority and opted to be part of the independent bloc in Congress, led by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat who joined the Speakership race but lost.
Baguilat got eight votes, followed by Quezon Rep. Danny Suarez who got seven.
It was Baguilat who filed a resolution seeking a congressional probe on the spate of summary killings of suspected criminals since the start of Duterte’s war on drugs. (MNS)