Commentary

On the election of Rep. Velasco as House Speaker

With all due respect to my lawyer-friends who are commenting on the issue, the validity of the “election” of Rep. Velasco as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives is not a matter of internal rules or who had access to the mace, the symbol of authority of the House of Representatives.

Rather, we have to look into the provisions of the Constitution on the matter.

To recall, Speaker Cayetano suspended the session of the House of Representatives without the consent of the Senate, a patently unconstitutional act, as Section 16(5) of Article VI of the Constitution states:

(5) Neither House during the sessions of the Congress shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Now, this same provision which Speaker Cayetano violated was violated by the Velasco faction as well: There was never consent from the Senate that the House of Representatives will hold their session in Celebrity Sports Plaza, a location about 4 kilometers away from Batasang Pambansa Complex in Constitution Hill, Batasan Hills, Quezon City, which is the session hall of the House of Representatives. For lack of consent from the Senate, the “session” at Celebrity Sports Plaza was not a session of the House of Representatives, but only of the members of the House of Representatives who supported Rep. Velasco as Speaker. They could never validly elect Rep. Velasco as Speaker there, because there was never an act from the House of Representatives at the Batasang Pambansa Complex to have the session at the Celebrity Sports Plaza, and even if there was such an act, the consent of the Senate was never obtained.

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