By Filane Mikee Cervantes

Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (File photo)

MANILA – The House of Representatives on Tuesday elected Isabela 1st District Rep. Antonio Albano as deputy speaker, replacing former president and Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Deputy Majority Leader Ramon Nolasco Jr. moved for the revamp in the House leadership during the plenary session.

Also removed was Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab as deputy speaker. He was replaced by Lanao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Yasser Alonto Balindong.

There were no objections and the motions were approved with Deputy Speaker Roberto Puno presiding over the session.

Arroyo and Ungab were removed from key positions for not backing and signing a “pivotal House resolution,” which upholds the integrity and honor of the House and expresses solidarity to the leadership of Speaker Martin Romualdez, according to House Majority Leader and Zamboanga City 2nd District Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe.

“The House leadership, in its collective capacity and after careful deliberation, has made the decision to relieve Deputy Speakers Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Isidro Ungab of their leadership positions,” Dalipe said in a statement.

Dalipe said House Resolution 1414 was of “paramount importance” as it manifested the collective intention of the House leadership to rise in unison in defense of the institution.

“This resolution was a response to certain quarters that have recently levied criticisms and scurrilous attacks against the House and its leadership. The unity and strength of the House are crucial in these challenging times, and the leadership believes in the importance of standing together as one cohesive body,” he said.

He said that while the House leadership respects the right of each member to their individual opinions and decisions, leadership positions come with certain responsibilities and expectations.

Dalipe said one of these expectations is to be aligned with the collective decisions of the leadership, especially on matters of “significant importance” to the institution.

“By choosing not to sign the resolution, Deputy Speakers Macapagal-Arroyo and Ungab have demonstrated that their perspectives differ from the collective stance of the leadership. While their contributions to the House are appreciated and respected, the leadership believes that it is in the best interest of the House to have leaders who fully support and uphold the collective decisions and directions set forth by the leadership,” he said.

Dalipe committed that the House will continue to “work diligently on behalf of the Filipino people” and ensure that its leadership would reflect the “unity and direction” needed to effectively serve the citizens.

Ungab said he accepts the decision of the House leadership to remove him from his post as deputy speaker.

“I have been in Congress long enough to understand the dynamics and interpersonal relations among its members. I would like to thank all those who were instrumental in making my tenure as deputy speaker meaningful, memorable and worthwhile,” Ungab said.

Ungab said despite his removal, he would remain supportive of the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and its programs “in the belief that it can bring a better hope and future for the Filipino people.”

“I accept my fate without any rancor nor bitterness. I leave the deputy speakership’s position assured that I have performed my duties well, with the best intentions and great love for my country,” he said.

Arroyo, meanwhile, has not issued a statement as of posting time. (PNA)