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Aquila Legis brods behind Nograles' coup?

February 5, 2008 7:43pm
It's neither the First Family nor Malacañang that supported Rep. Prospero Nograles' bid for the speakership. It's his frat brods, the lawmaker admitted.

Nograles admitted that his Aquila Legis brothers in the House supported his bid for the speakership.

"They helped a lot. Sila nakipag-usap sa iba," Nograles said.

The Aquila Legis is the premier fraternity of the Ateneo de Manila School of Law. It was founded by 21 junior and senior students in 1949, becoming the first fraternity in the Philippines with a Latin name.

Aquila Legis in English means "eagle of the law," but is commonly translated as "legal eagle."

Through six decades, the fraternity has inducted over 1,500 members, 90 percent of whom are members of the Philippine Bar, Cabinet secretaries, lawmakers, justices and ambassadors.

When asked by reporters how his frat brothers contributed to his election as Speaker of the House, Nograles said they convinced other lawmakers.

The following Aquila Legis fraternity members supported Nograles: Representatives Neptali Gonzales (Mandaluyong), Raul Del Mar (Cebu), Antonio Diaz (Zambales), Florencio “Bem" Noel (An Waray), Giorgidi Aggabao (Isabela), Edgar Valdez (Apec), Adam Jala (Bohol) and Antonio Cerilles (Zamboanga del Sur).

Nograles said even the lawmaker-wives of Aquila members voted for him, like Bataan Rep. Herminia Roman, wife of former Rep. Antonio Roman.

Shariff Kabunsuan Rep. Didagen Dilangalen is a member of the fraternity but did not vote to unseat Rep. Jose de Venecia as Speaker.

No Malacañang support

Nograles denied allegations that the First Family was behind last Monday's coup that led to the ouster of De Venecia.

“The Arroyo brothers are just two votes. If you add their uncle, then it’s three," Nograles said. "Let say each of them have five friends, that will be plus 15 votes. How many have voted to declare the Speaker post vacant? It's 174," Nograles said.

The President's sons Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo and Diosdado "Dato" Arroyo, and their uncle, Ignacio Arroyo, are incumbent members of Congress.

Nograles said it is also unfair to drag the name of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo in the speakership row.

“The First Gentleman's name should not be dragged in the issue just because his sons are members of Congress. If he acted through his sons or not, that’s between them. But If I were the son, I will listen to my father," Nograles said.

Nograles maintained that the House continues to be independent from the Palace.

Hindi nga ako itinext to congratulate. Buti pa nga mga kapitan ng barangay," Nograles said.

The new Speaker also denied that businessman Enrique Razon funded his candidacy.

“I hardly know the man and I have not even seen him in the House in all the years that I have been in Congress," Nograles said. - Fidel Jimenez, GMANews.TV