PuertoRicoWOW News Service
House Celebrates Centennial
By Proviana Colon Diaz
December 5, 2000
SAN JUAN - The House of Representatives on Monday celebrated its centennial with a special afternoon session attended by several former members and speakers.
Present were former Speakers Luis Ernesto Ramos Jordan, Zaida Hernandez Torres, Jose Ronaldo Jarabo, and Angel Viera Martinez.
Outgoing Speaker Edison Misla Aldarondo presided over the special session and narrated a brief history of the House from its inception to the present day.
One hundred years ago, the president of the United States designated a governor for the island, Charles H. Allen, and the representative body was then called the House of Delegates.
New Progressive Party (NPP) Alternate Majority Leader Angel Cintron highlighted how that first body was not truly representative because the vote was limited to educated adult men who owned property.
History, however, has witnessed many changes in the electoral law, including in 1932 when literate women were allowed to vote and Maria Luisa Arcelay became the first woman lawmaker.
"The first House of Representatives was comprised of 35 men. Today, out of the 52 elected representatives nine are women," Cintron said.
Also addressing those present Monday was House Speaker-elect Carlos Vizcarrondo, of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP).
Vizcarrondo also lauded the work of the House and added that the responsibilities of legislators continue to increase on a daily basis.
"This legislative body must be the guardian of Puerto Ricans, defender of the culture, fighter for justice and the opposition to abuse of power and corruption," Vizcarrondo said.
The special session was televised in its entirety and complemented with the first broadcast of the video "100 years of the House of Representative's History: 1900-2000," containing old footage and photos documenting the 100th anniversary.
Also presented in the session was a special booklet with a brief history of the House and biographies of past speakers.
The session began with the traditional prayer that kicks off each session.
Those attending the special session also received a musical treat as the 1949 University of Puerto Rico choir sang several traditional songs, including "Los Carreteros" and "Piragüero".
The special session ended around 5:30 p.m., followed by a cocktail for the special guests.
On Monday afternoon, the still pending controversy in the NPP, which is yet to decide who will be the minority leader in the incoming House, appeared to be forgotten as the top two contenders for the post, Misla and Cintron, addressed those present.
Photos: Ana Lluch for PRWOW