Malacañang ready to work with Speaker Arroyo
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang recognized the assumption of former president and Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the new Speaker following a surprise change of leadership in the House of Representatives.
“We are ready to work with the chosen leader of the House of Representatives and because Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is now the House Speaker, we are now able and ready to work with Speaker Arroyo,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday, July 24.
He pointed to the warm ties between Arroyo and President Rodrigo Duterte. It was in Duterte's presidency Arroyo was able to walk free after spending nearly 4 years under hospital arrest for plunder charges.
“We have had very good relations with Speaker Arroyo. She was one of the staunchest supporters of the President during elections,” said Roque.
Duterte’s spokesman also said the Chief Executive and Arroyo “share the same political agenda.” He said Arroyo’s “first challenge” as Speaker would be to pass the P3.76-trillion 2019 national budget, submitted to Congress on Monday by Duterte.
Roque said Malacañang has nothing to do with the sudden leadership change in the House, saying Duterte respects the independence of the legislative branch.
Asked if there was any change with Duterte's ties with Alvarez, Roque ventured a guess that the President did not like how his ally was pushing for the cancellation of 2019 midterm elections.
“Even the President had problems with the call of the House Speaker (Alvarez) on ‘no-el,’ no elections…The President has always maintained that federalism should be accepted to the people based on its own merits and he has always said that he did not want to benefit from charter change,” said Roque.
The spokesman pointed to how Duterte “authorized” him to say he wants “no hand” in the cancellation of elections next year.
Alvarez, one of Duterte's staunchest allies in Congress, is secretary-general to his political party, PDP-Laban. However, he has also made enemies of persons close to the President, including his eldest daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Duterte campaign donor Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr. – Rappler.com