Bid for prime minister? ‘That’s black propaganda,’ says Arroyo

Mara Cepeda
Bid for prime minister? ‘That’s black propaganda,’ says Arroyo
(UPDATED) 'Look, to begin with, the proposed constitution is presidential, federal, isn’t it?' says Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

BATAAN, Philippines (UPDATED) – Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday, July 27, dismissed as “black propaganda” claims that she would become prime minister if the government succeeds in amending the 1987 Constitution.

Arroyo made statement in an ambush interview in Dinalupihan town in this province when asked about the possible scenario raised by the opposition after the former president was elected as the new House Speaker on Monday, July 23.  (READ: ‘Prime Minister Arroyo’ if Cha-Cha succeeds, opposition warns)

“Look, to begin with, the proposed constitution is presidential, federal, isn’t it? That’s black propaganda,” Arroyo said.

While the draft charter of the Consultative Committee (Con-Com) submitted to Congress proposes a federal-presidential form of government, the House sub-committee on constitutiomal amendments is pushing for a system of government with a president as head of state and prime minister as head of government. 

Arroyo said she has yet to read the sub-panel’s proposal, but reiterated that the Con-Com’s draft does not include a provision on the election of a prime minister. 

Congress has the constitutional mandate to propose and approve amendments to the 1987 Constitution. Lawmakers are free to adopt or ignore the Con-Com’s proposal.

Members of the opposition have warned that in the process of amending the Constitution through a Constituent Assembly, House members can push for a parliamentary form of government with Arroyo as the prime minister.

During her 9-year presidency, Arroyo formed a consultative commission to propose amendments to the 1987 Constitution which her critics feared then would extend her hold on power. (READ: Past charter change attempts and why they failed)

Arroyo visited Dinalupihan and Sasmuan in Pampanga on Friday for relief operations in areas hit by heavy flooding. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.