Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is set to become one of the deputy speakers of the House of Representatives for the 17th Congress, which will run from 2016 to 2019.
The former president made the announcement to members of the media during a visit to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) Wednesday morning.
“I’m Deputy Speaker,” Arroyo said when asked by the press if she will be leading any committee in the Lower House. The current House Speaker, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, served as Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications under her administration.
She returned briefly to the government-run VMMC to donate two units of dialysis machines. She was accompanied by her husband, former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo. Arroyo spent most of the last five years under hospital detention at VMMC prior to the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the plunder case against her last month.
The Deputy Speakers are the second highest-ranking officials of the Lower House. During the absence of the House Speaker, one of them can preside over the House of Representatives. During the 16th Congress (2013 to 2016), then-Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. had five Deputy Speakers.
As per the existing rules of the House of Representatives, these are the duties and responsibilities of Deputy Speakers:
- to assume the duties and powers of the Speaker when so chosen by a majority vote or by lot among themselves, as the case may be, in cases of absence or temporary incapacity of the Speaker, until such time that the Speaker returns to office and resumes work; and, in case of resignation, removal, permanent incapacity or death of the Speaker, until such time that a new Speaker is elected and qualified;
- to preside over the session when, even if present, the Speaker does not preside, or has not designated any other Member as temporary presiding officer as provided in Section 15(h) of Rule IV;
- to monitor, coordinate and facilitate action on measures filed, requests, and other concerns of Members representing constituencies to which they may be assigned by the Speaker;
- to recommend to the Speaker appropriate policies, strategies and programs of action to improve the process of legislation and the quality of legislative measures, and to effectively address concerns of Members on matters affecting them, their constituencies, and the overall operations and integrity of the House;
- to appoint personnel of the House when so authorized by the Speaker; and
- to perform such other duties and functions as may be assigned or delegated to them by the Speaker.