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House leadership showdown delays Duterte's constitutionally mandated SONA

Audrey Morallo - Philstar.com
House leadership showdown delays Duterte's constitutionally mandated SONA
Rep. Gloria Arroyo takes her oath following her ouster of Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as House speaker.
Philstar.com / AJ Bolando

MANILA, Philippines — The annual State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte has been delayed by more than an hour following a leadership standoff in the Philippine House of Representatives.

The delay in Duterte's SONA is the second casualty in the leadership tug-of-war between Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez (Davao Del Norte) and Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Pampanga) after the lower chamber failed to approve the Bangsamoro Organic Law which would carve a self-rule region for Muslims in Mindanao.

Duterte's speech was supposed to commence at 4 p.m., but it was delayed by more than an hour following leadership issues in the House.

Monday was greeted by news that there were efforts to topple Alvarez as speaker of the House, with no less than the chief executive's daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, supposedly leading the plot.

Then the session of Congress was abruptly adjourned a few minutes after lunchtime supposedly to prevent Arroyo allies from removing Alvarez.

A manifesto in support of Arroyo circulated right after, and it was reported than more than 180 lawmakers signed it and supported the former president's bid.

However, Arroyo's allies held a vote just minutes before Duterte was supposed to speak, installing her as speaker.

This did not settle the leadership issue, and talks that lasted for more than an hour ensued, with reports saying that there were negotiations about who should sit to the president's left, the speaker's chair, during Duterte's SONA.

DUTERTE SONA 2018

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO

HOUSE SPEAKER

PANTALEON ALVAREZ

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

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