Highest in record: House has 33 deputy speakers

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    THE House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco now has 33 deputy speakers, the highest in the chamber’s history.

    With the increasing number of deputy speakers, the House will have to spend more for the offices of the new House leaders who will also have voting powers in various committees, being ex-officio members.

    The latest deputy speaker is Marlyn “Len” Alonte (Biñan City) who was elected yesterday and replaced as deputy majority leader with Rep. Jesus Suntay (Quezon City).

    But while Velasco’s leadership has the most deputy speakers, some of the 33 were elected during the speakership of Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig City) when the House had 22 deputy speakers, the second highest in the chamber’s history.

    Elected as deputy speakers last December were known Cayetano ally Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, Strike Revilla (Cavite), and Isidro Ungab (Davao City).

    Tolentino was the chair the House committee on accounts under the Cayetano leadership until he was replaced with presidential son Paolo Duterte (Davao City) when Velasco assumed the speaker post in October last year. Ungab, former chair of the committee on appropriations, was replaced with Rep. Eric Yap (PL, ACT-CIS) who remains the panel’s chair until now.

    Both Velasco and Cayetano have drawn flak for allegedly accommodating too many congressmen who backed their speakership bids.

    Also last December, the House elected as deputy speakers Arnolfo Teves (Negros Oriental), Juan Pablo Bondoc (Pampanga), Eric Martinez (Valenzuela), Bernadette Herrera-Dy (PL, Bagong Henerasyon), Kristine Meehan (Ilocos Sur), Divina Grace Yu (Zamboanga del Sur), Rogelio Pacquiao (Sarangani), Weslie Gatchalian (Valenzuela City), and Bienvenido Abante Jr. (Manila).