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174 solons oust JDV; Nograles of Davao City is new Speaker

February 5, 2008 12:43am
Who is Prospero Nograles?

Prospero C. Nograles was born on October 30, 1947, in Davao City.

He finished his primary and secondary education at the Ateneo de Davao. He then studied at the Ateneo de Manila University, obtaining his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1967, and his Bachelor of Laws degree from the Ateneo Law School in 1971.

Nograles placed second in the 1971 bar examinations.

Nograles was elected Speaker of the House past midnight Tuesday after the ouster of Rep. Jose de Venecia as Speaker.

Beginning in 1989, Nograles has been elected to five terms as member of the House of Representatives, representing the 1st District of Davao City.

Nograles was active in the political opposition against former President Ferdinand Marcos. He was involved in the litigation of human rights cases during the martial law years, and was an active campaigner for Corazon Aquino during the 1986 snap presidential elections.

After Aquino assumed the presidency, Nograles sought a seat in the House of Representatives, representing the 1st district of Davao City. Although his opponent Jesus Dureza was initially proclaimed as winner, Nograles was seated in the House in 1989 following a favorable decision of the House Electoral Tribunal.

Nograles gave up his House seat in 1992 to make an unsuccessful challenge to the re-election of Davao City Rodrigo Duterte, but regained the seat in the 1995 elections.

In 1998, Nograles again gave up his House seat to make another unsuccessful bid for election as Davao City mayor, but he again won election to the House in 2001 and was elected for two more consecutive terms.

Early this year, several members of Congress, dissatisfied with the leadership of De Venecia, expressed support for Nograles as the new Speaker.

Past 1 a.m., Tuesday, February 5, 2008, the House of Representatives approved a motion to declare the position of House Speaker as vacant. Nograles was then elected as Speaker. - wikipedia/GMANews.TV

Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr. lost the leadership of the House of Representatives early Tuesday after 174 lawmakers voted to declare the House speakership vacant (Click here to see how lawmakers voted).

It took almost nine hours before former political allies ousted De Venecia and elected Davao City Rep. Prospero Nograles.

A few minutes after his ouster, De Venecia nominated Nograles to become the next Speaker. The nomination was overwhelmingly supported by members of the House.

At about 1:15 a.m., Tuesday, Nograles took his oath as Speaker before Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia.

"It's time to change the image of the House. I will never make promises that I can't keep. The issue is finally settled. Now, its time to get back to work," said Nograles minutes after he took his oath.

The new Speaker said issues that were raised in the plenary during the voting for the declaration of the speakership vacant "will be answered at the proper time."

When asked if he would revamp the House leadership, Nograles said: “We still do not know."

He said he would consult the different political parties before making a decision. "I will listen to everybody. I’ll get concessions...then I'll implement."

Nograles also promised that the House, under his leadership, would "continue to support the (Arroyo) administration."

Arroyo sons

The move to unseat De Venecia was led by the sons of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo — Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo and Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado "Dato" Arroyo — and members of the administration coalition, which included the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino, the President's party.

The 71-year-old De Venecia, president of Lakas-CMD, is the only Filipino politician who held the Speaker’s seat five times.

In 1998, he ran for president but lost to then Vice President Joseph Estrada.

The rift between De Venecia and Mrs Arroyo started last year after the Speaker's son, Jose "Joey" De Venecia III, linked the President's husband, Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo, to the alleged anomalies in the government's $329.48-million National Broadband Network deal with China's Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment Corp. (Click here to watch Joey de Venecia's testimony)

Before his ouster, De Venecia moved to have all positions in the House declared vacant. But he failed to convince majority of the lawmakers.

Widespread corruption

In his speech Monday night (Click here to watch video), De Venecia denounced the alleged widespread corruption in the Arroyo administration.

"What is happening to our country? Everything is for sale, bribery and corruption (are widespread). Is this the Philippines that we want?" he said.

He also said that he knew "there were many attempts to tamper with the results of the 2004 elections."

He, however, refused to further discuss the issue during his speech.

De Venecia also linked Malacañang to the filing of an ethics complaint against him.

He said Roberto Rafael “Roel" Pulido, the lawyer who filed the complaint was a "Malacañang minion."

De Venecia said he refused to act on the impeachment complaint against President Arroyo because it was backed by Malacañang itself.

The ousted Speaker recalled the times when he stood by Mrs Arroyo, defending her, and assuring her continued stay in power.

"In every challenge in the life of President Arroyo, I was there, standing beside her....During the battle for the proclamation of her as president I was there. I stood there and we raised the hand of President Arroyo," he said.

Arroyo's hand

De Venecia accused Mrs Arroyo of orchestrating a vote to oust him because his son had implicated the President's husband in a corruption scandal.

De Venecia has been Speaker for 12 years, becoming one of Mrs Arroyo's most trusted allies. He mobilized lawmakers to defeat three opposition attempts to impeach her on allegations of vote-rigging, corruption and human rights abuses.

His son, ''Joey'' — a losing bidder in a government broadband contract — told a Senate inquiry that Mrs Arroyo's husband was promised a $70 million kickback from the deal, and said he tried to force him to withdraw his proposal.

The deal was eventually scrapped. 'Mike Arroyo had denied the allegation, but the testimony drove a wedge between the two powerful families and set the stage for the Speaker's ouster.

In a speech before lawmakers began to vote individually on whether to declare the speakership vacant, De Venecia gave a passionate speech, televised live nationwide, in which he supported his son's expose and accused Mrs Arroyo of ignoring his letter about an alleged death threat against him and his son after the testimony.

He later said he was joining the opposition and hinted he might spill more beans about corruption.

Arroyo's deputy spokesman, Lorelei Fajardo, said De Venecia's ''emotional outburst'' was understandable, but his accusations must be backed by solid evidence.

A simple majority out of the 239 House members is required to change the speaker of the House of Representatives. - GMANews.TV with a report from AP