Row in Congress delays Philippine president's speech

State of the Nation address marred by leadership battle in House of Representatives

Row in Congress delays Philippine president's speech

World Bulletin / News Desk

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s annual State of the Nation Address was delayed for over an hour Monday by a leadership row in Congress.

A tug-of-war for the speaker position erupted in the House of Representatives by incumbent speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Pampanga province representative and former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Arroyo, in a surprise move before Duterte’s arrival at the headquarters of the House of Representatives, took her oath as Alvarez’s successor while the latter was waiting to welcome the president in another part of the halls of Congress.

Congress’ morning session was abruptly adjourned by Alvarez’ allies to preempt the ouster move allegedly led by presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Due to the unexpected early adjournment, the lower House failed to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which Duterte had been expected to sign into law before delivering his speech. In contrast, the Senate earlier ratified it.

"Give me 48 hours to sign it and ratify the law,” said Duterte in his speech, stressing that the Bangsamoro law is his solemn commitment to Muslim Filipinos.

The signing of the law would have been Duterte’s surprise on the day of his speech, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said but clarified that it is only going through a temporary setback due to the internal leadership issues in Congress.

Hours after Duterte delivered his speech, Arroyo was formally elected by 184 affirmative votes as the new House speaker Monday evening with Alvarez seated behind her.

 

Last Mod: 24 Temmuz 2018, 09:27
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