IBP says majority vote is needed for declaring Speaker post vacant

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The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said that the declaration the Speakership post as vacant requires majority vote of all members of the House of Representatives wherever they have agreed to convene.

“Yung venue, traditionally, normally, it will be in the halls of our Batasang Pambansa, it will be in the halls of Senate. But puwede naman, ‘pag nag-usap-usap, nag-agree ang majority of all of the members of the House, puwede ho namang magdaos ng session outside of the traditional venue,” IBP national president Domingo Cayosa said in an interview.

This came after Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco was “elected” as House Speaker by 186 of his colleagues at a gathering in the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City.

Section 13 of the Rules of the House of Representatives states that “a vacancy is created whenever any of the officers dies, resigns, or is permanently incapacitated, or when the House declares any office vacant.”

Furthermore, it provides that “the position of Speaker may only be declared vacant through nominal voting by a majority vote of all the Members.”

“Whenever there is a vacancy, the Speaker shall be elected by a majority vote of all the Members,” according to Section 11 of the Rules.

Cayosa said as long as the majority is present, the vote is valid.

“Ang pinakamahalaga sa isang deliberative, collegial political body ay majority. Kasi ‘yun ang rule. Majority prevails in this political body,” he added.

[The most important thing in a deliberative, collegial political body is majority. That’s the rule. Majority prevails in this political body.]

Despite this, the IBP president urged lawmakers to put the public’s interest first instead of their personal interests.

“Sana unahin nila ‘yung interest ng bansa kasi napakahalaga no’ng budget, lalong-lalo na ngayon mayroon tayong pandemya, meron tayong economic recession, ang daming problema, kulang-kulang na ang pera ng gobyerno, lubog na tayo sa utang… Dapat ‘yun ang kanilang pag-ukulan ng pansin,” he said.

[I hope they should prioritize the country’s interest because the budget is important, especially now we are in a pandemic, we have an economic recession, there are too many problems, the government’s money is not enough, we are drowned in debt… That’s where they should focus on.]

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