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July 23, 2018

WHY GMA DID NOT SIT AS SPEAKER DURING THE SONA AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MACE

If he was ousted by former President/Cong. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo before the State of the Nation Address of the President, why did Cong. Pantaleon Alvarez sit as Speaker during the SONA?

The answer lies literally in one very important object: the MACE.

Earlier today, before President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his State of the Nation Address, there was a scene wherein former President Gloria Arroyo appeared to be sworn in as House Speaker.

However, it was Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who still welcomed Duterte as he arrived at the House. And also Alvarez who remained on the Speaker’s throne as Duterte delivered his speech.

According to insiders this is because of two things:

First, Duterte appealed to GMA to allow Alvarez to sit as Speaker while the House ironed out this fiasco so that he could deliver his SONA, as it was already delayed by an hour.

The Mace of the House is a symbol of authority, which is displayed at the foot of the Speaker’s Rostrum whenever the House is in session. It serves as the warrant for the Sergeant-at-Arms in enforcing order in the House upon instruction of the Speaker.
The Mace is in the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms.


Second and more importantly, the takeover of GMA before the SONA was not valid.

This is because of the lack of something called a Mace.

According to the House of Representatives website, “The Mace of the House is a symbol of authority, which is displayed at the foot of the Speaker’s Rostrum whenever the House is in session. It serves as the warrant for the Sergeant-at-Arms in enforcing order in the House upon instruction of the Speaker. The Mace is in the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms.”
Before the SONA, when GMA was reportedly sworn in as Speaker, aside from there being no microphone so no one could hear or understand what was happening, the mace was missing.

Without the Mace, it is considered that there is no session.

That is why after the SONA, the lower house had to convene once again.
Which they did. They convened, they declared the seat of Speakership open, then they voted and elected GMA as Speaker.

Funny enough, insiders say that at this second voting, the Mace was still missing.

As it is considered that there is no session if the mace is not in their presence, there was a frantic search for the mace, and the congressmen had to vote a THIRD time, when the mace was finally found.

Past 8:00 p.m., voting was concluded – with the mace in the room – and GMA finally became Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 17th Congress.

Photo Credit: Atty Caroline Cruz

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