MANILA, Philippines – Newly installed Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo vowed to carry out the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte.
On Tuesday, July 24, the former president released her first statement since wresting the speakership from Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez the day before.
“I am extremely honored to have been supported by my colleagues at the House of Representatives to be their new Speaker. I will endeavor to carry out the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Lower House,” said Arroyo, Pampanga 2nd District Representative.
Arroyo, a close ally of Duterte, was under hospital arrest over plunder charges in connection with the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds for most of the Aquino administration, but was acquitted less than a month into the Duterte administration. (READ: Gloria Arroyo’s firsts as House Speaker)
The President himself had repeatedly said he “owed” much to Arroyo, who contibuted to his campaign kitty in the 2016 presidential elections. (READ: Duterte admin revives Arroyo policies, controversies)
Opposition leaders, however, warned Arroyo’s speakership was a prelude to her rise as prime minister if charter change succeeds.
The gripping House drama with Arroyo and Alvarez playing lead roles shook the lower chamber less than an hour before the President delivered his 3rd State of the Nation Address.
The Alvarez bloc made last ditch efforts to stop the Arroyo takeover. The mace – the symbol of the House’s legislative power that must be at placed in front of the Speaker’s rostrum during sessions – remained missing. (READ: Makabayan slams Arroyo’s ‘naked power grab’ in House)
But Arroyo’s allies were determined to make her the first female Speaker in the Philippines, and made Arroyo take her oath not just once but twice.
A total of 184 lawmakers said yes to an Arroyo speakership. Only 12 abstained from voting, mostly from the Liberal Party. – Rappler.com