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159 lawmakers pick Joe de V Speaker in ‘sham’ election

July 23, 2007 2:43pm

Tags: Cebu City
It's business as usual in the House of Representatives. A total of 159 congressmen elected Pangasinan Rep. Jose De Venecia Jr as Speaker -- for the fifth time -- in what an administration lawmaker called "a sham election."

The House commenced at 2:17 pm a roll-call vote for the position. In 29 minutes flat, De Venecia was installed speaker as lone nominee.

His declared rival for the post, Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia, was not nominated.

Cebu Rep. Antonio Cuenco nominated De Venecia to the position, seconded by Samar Rep. Sharrie Ann Tan. The nomination was closed by Iloilo Rep. Arthur Defensor.

In an earlier caucus of opposition congressmen, San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora was elected minority leader.

Defensor was also designated as acting majority floorleader and is expected to be elected to the post, along with Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales Jr. as senior majority leader.

Born on December 26, 1936, De Venecia is 70 years old, and secretary general of the Lakas-Christian-Muslim Democrats party that he co-founded with former President Fidel V. Ramos.

Previously tagged as a Marcos crony, De Venecia was implicated in the Landoil Resources Corp. cases, together with other known associates of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, that the Presidential Commission on Good Government had filed.

De Venecia eventually managed to get his name off the PCGG list of Marcos cronies.

Yet it did not seem like his re-installation as Speaker surprised or caught De Venecia unprepared.

Soon after the quickie House vote, De Venecia rushed to the podium to take his oath, and then rendered an extended acceptance speech. He has made a reputation among journalists for delivering inordinately long speeches. - GMANews.TV
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Tags: Cebu City