WHO IS THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE? Priest & Law professor answers hotly debated issue in FB post


This is the question posed by Fr. Ranhilio Aquino to start his FB post about the power struggle in the Lower House between Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano of Taguig and Rep. Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque.

BTW, if you have no clue who is Fr. Aquino, he is Professor VI of Cagayan State University and Dean of the Graduate School of Law, San Beda College.

Moving forward, Fr. Aquino quickly gave netizens an idea what his say on the debate from the get go.

“In the first place, if there was a gentleman’s agreement, then the parties thereto should act as gentlemen.

“In the second place, it all depends on the Rules of the House.

Fr. Aquino wasted no time in citing a pronouncement from the SC regarding the Rules of the House:

“Corollary thereto, Section 16 (3), Article VI of the Constitution vests in the House of Representatives the sole authority to, inter alia, ‘determine the rules of its proceedings.’ These ‘legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, do not have the imprints of permanence and obligatoriness during their effectivity. In fact, they ‘are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them.’ Being merely matters of procedure, their observance are of no concern to the courts, for said rules may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body at will, upon the concurrence of a majority [of the House of Representatives].” (Brawner v. Alvarez, 2017)

If you recall, Rep. Alan Cayetano called the session wherein Rep. Lord Velasco was elected by 186 lawmakers as as the new Speaker of the House at the Celebrity Sports Plaza a “sham” and “illegal”. Fr. Aquino disagreed with Rep. Alan Cayetano’s opinion.

“So if the Congressmen and women gathered in the gymnasium convene and decide that such a meeting shall constitute a session of the Lower House for purposes of the election of a Speaker, that is really a matter for the House to decide, since the very same House that makes its rules can break and change or suspend them.

And for netizens saying that without the mace, the session conducted at the Celebrity Sports Plaza was invalid, here’s what Fr. Aquino has to say on the matter.

“As for the mace, while it is the ceremonial symbol of the authority of the Speaker of the House, the absence of the mace does not invalidate a session. If this point were insisted upon, in the event that on the day of a session, no mace can be found, the session, despite observance of all rules, would be void. THIS IS A PATENT ABSURDITY AND ITS TOO MUCH OF A CONCESSION TO CEREMONY.

Fr. Aquino wrapped up his FB post by commenting that the issue of Speakership issue boils down to numbers.

“In the end, the question boils down to numbers: Who has the numbers in a session of the Lower House convoked for purposes of electing a Speaker of the House?

Your thoughts?

Source: Ranhilio Callangan Aquino

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