Former Philippine President and current Representative Gloria Arroyo (C) waves to her colleagues after being elected as new Speaker of the House of Representatives in Quezon City, the Philippines, July 23, 2018. Gloria Arroyo was elected as new Speaker of the House of Representatives on Monday night, replacing the outgoing former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)
MANILA, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Former Philippine President and current Representative Gloria Arroyo was elected as new Speaker of the House of Representatives on Monday night, replacing the outgoing former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
A few minutes before President Rodrigo Duterte was scheduled to deliver his annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) to the joint session of Congress on Monday afternoon, there was an informal voting among House members to install Arroyo as their new leader and remove Alvarez from the position of the Speaker.
However, the tug-of-war for House leadership lasted more than an hour due to Alvarez's refusal to step down. After a meeting with President Duterte, Alvarez still attended SONA as the House of Representatives Speaker.
The members of the House of Representatives convened again after Duterte delivered his speech to make a formal election, with 244 members present in the session.
Around 184 members of the chamber voted for Arroyo's speakership and 12 abstained paving the way for Arroyo's official installation as new House speaker.
Both Alvarez and Arroyo are Duterte's political allies.
Arroyo, 71, was president of the Philippines from 2001 until 2010. After her presidential term ended she ran for a seat in the House of Representatives.
In 2011 Arroyo was arrested on electoral fraud charges but could post bail. She was detained again in 2012 on plunder case for allegedly misusing about 8 million U.S. dollars lottery funds of the state-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office during her presidential term.
After almost four years detention, Arroyo was released from hospital arrest after the Supreme Court cleared her of plunder. Her release came a month after Duterte took his oath of office in 2016.