Alvarez concedes to Speaker Arroyo

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez has conceded to new Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The ousted speaker from Mindanao accepted Arroyo's takeover of the House leadership on Wednesday, July 25, the same day they met for the first time since Alvarez's removal.

"We cannot undo the past, but we can certainly shape our future. The House of Representatives has chosen a new Speaker in the person of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Alang-alang sa bayan (For the sake of the country), let us get back to work and move on," said Alvarez in a statement.

The whole nation watched as Arroyo's allies toppled Alvarez in a dramatic series of developments that delayed President Rodrigo Duterte's 3rd State of the Nation Address by over an hour on Monday, July 23. (READ: 'Why is he inside?' Tempers flare after Alvarez ouster)

There were last-ditch efforts from the Alvarez bloc to stop the plan to unseat him. But in the end, a total of 184 lawmakers voted yes to an Arroyo speakership, while only 12 abstained. The no votes from the 7-member Makabayan bloc were not counted as they were deemed "out of order."

On Wednesday, lawmakers formalized Arroyo's election as Speaker by approving House Resolution No. 2025, which officially put into the House records the proceedings on Monday evening.

Committee chairmanships in the House will remain for now. Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Albee Benitez, who chairs the housing and urban development panel, said this was the marching order from Arroyo.

"Speaker Arroyo just met with the different committee chairmen and gave the instructions to continue their work. Back to normal po. Basically po Congress is balik trabaho (Basically, Congress is back to work)," he said.

Now, 3 alliances of lawmakers outside the Arroyo-led majority bloc are vying for the minority leadership. Arroyo already said she would let the minority lawmakers – or all those who did not vote for her as Speaker – settle the issue among themselves. (READ: Liberal Party lawmakers claim they're real House minority– Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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