House coup*

IN a most unprecedented and unexpected manner, the leadership of the House of Representatives changed hands a few minutes before the scheduled State of the Nation Address of the President.

As a result, the much anticipated SONA was delayed for an hour and 20 minutes. Apart from this, a very important law failed to be ratified and there was a quandary among the people present as to who was really the Speaker of the House.

For some of the audience, they were bearing witness to a coup of some sort on the House leadership of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez by supporters of Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The problem lies in how the people would see our House leaders trying to grab power from each other like street urchins trying to outwit each other in a game of basketball or another contest in an alley. Talk about maturity among our lawmakers gone down the drain. This leaves a negative public impression on our leaders.

A lot of people believe that GMA should have relented somehow at the time considering the effect it would create on the SONA. Not only did it delay the President’s address, GMA wanted to assume the position right away.

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Arroyo was sworn in as House Speaker by her colleagues without the benefit of a microphone, which made it difficult for anyone to understand what she was saying, although it was quite apparent that she was being sworn into office.

There was also the absence of the House Mace which signified that the Lower House was in session. According to the official website of the House of Representatives, the Mace of the House is a symbol of authority which is displayed at the foot of the Speaker’s Rostrum whenever the House is in session.

A professor from the University of the Philippines said the absence of the Mace made the incident an unofficial gathering of congressmen. A lot of people believe that GMA got what she wanted.

This corner believes that we may not yet see the end of this power-grab.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/



*Ang mga pananaw sa artikulong ito ay sa sumulat.  Maaring hindi ito ang opisyal na posisyon ng Beyond Deadlines.

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Robert Roque Jr.
Robert B. Roque Jr. is a veteran journalist who started out as a correspondent for Manila Bulletin's tabloid TEMPO in 1983. In 1989, At age 27, he rose to become the youngest associate editor of a newspaper of national circulation. In mid-2000, he took the helm of the paper as its editor until his voluntary retirement in 2012. He currently writes a syndicated column for TEMPO, Remate, and Hataw newspapers, and for this site, Beyond Deadlines. A former journalism lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas from 1992 to 2002, Roque is also an active member of the Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world, having served as head of the Philippine Lions (council chairperson) in Lion Year 2011-2012.

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