After delay due to leadership row, House ratifies Bangsamoro bill
Audrey Morallo ( - July 24, 2018 - 4:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — The House on Tuesday ratified the Bangsamoro Organic Law after the chamber failed to act on it Monday because of an ugly leadership row.

Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Pampanga) on Tuesday vowed that it would be the chamber's priority on Tuesday.

The Senate ratified the bill on Monday, which means President Rodrigo Duterte can sign it into law as soon as it is transmitted to Malacañang. 

The ratification of the measure, which was supposed to happen in time for President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address, was delayed after an intense and dramatic leadership tug-of-war between Arroyo and former Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez (Davao del Norte) which played out on national television and in front of political and diplomatic guests on Monday.

President Rodrigo Duterte's annual constitutionally-mandated address to the nation was also delayed by more than an hour after chaos erupted in the House over Arroyo's attempt.

The political intramurals lasted hours after Duterte's State of the Nation Address, which was upstaged by the leadership row.

Arroyo was eventually elected after 184 members of the House voted for her while 12 abstained from the process.

Arriving after her successful bid to wrest control of the speaker's gavel, Arroyo thanked her colleagues who supported her.

She also vowed that her leadership would be focused on two objectives: steering the legislative agenda of Duterte and extending help to those representatives whose districts were badly affected by the rains in recent weeks.

"We must ensure that BOL is ratified today," Arroyo told reporters upon her arrival at the legislature's complex in Quezon City.

Arroyo, whose political career was thought to be dead during former President Benigno Aquino III's administration, is a former president who served for nine years.

She first arrived in the presidential palace after a military-backed popular uprising ousted former President Joseph Estrada.

Estrada was later convicted of plunder but was pardoned by Arroyo.

In 2004 after she initially said that she would not run for reelection, she sought her own term and won the presidency amid allegations of massive cheating.

Upon stepping down from power, she was incarcerated under Aquino for allegations of graft during her term.

Rep. Rolando Andaya (Camarines Sur), a deputy speaker and one of Arroyo's lieutenants, apologized to the guests for the fracas that happened in front of them.

He, however, stressed that this was how democracy worked.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III meanwhile said that the president almost walked out of the House session hall due to the delays in his speech.

He said that Duterte threatened to leave unless the row was fixed.

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