Aquino says Arroyo's House takeover shows 'disorder' in PH
MANILA, Philippines – Former president Benigno Aquino III hit the "disorderly" change in leadership of the House of Representatives, saying it reflects the country's problematic situation.
Aquino said the dramatic ouster of Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez and the subsequent election of Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as Speaker left a bad taste in the mouth.
"I guess it could have been done a lot better, perhaps it could have been done earlier...earlier as in earlier in the morning. Or could have been done after [President Rodrigo Duterte's 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA)]," Aquino told reporters on Wednesday, August 1, during the 9th death anniversary of his mother, former president Corazon Aquino.
Before foreign dignitaries, Arroyo was elected as the new Speaker – even without a formal session, a working microphone, and the House's mace – creating confusion on who the real House leader was. It also delayed Duterte's SONA for over an hour.
"Having it delayed for at least an hour... seems to give a semblance of disorder in the country. And given the myriad of problems we have, it doesn't seem appropriate to juxtapose their seeming lack of order with the necessary kind of discipline because of all of the country's problems," Aquino said.
Aquino had questioned the timing of Arroyo's assumption as Speaker, pointing out that she is on her last term. He said the move could be related to charter change.
"Conceivably, what can be done at that point in time? Does that mean everything's impossible? Hindi. 'Yung paspasan, sagasaan – [these] words come into mind. Sana 'di gano'n (No. Rushed, railroaded – these words come into mind. I hope it isn't like that)," Aquino said.
"Sana (I hope) we proceed or discuss the merits of the proposed charter change. If we are to embark on that, [it should be] truly reflective of what the people want as opposed to what sectors want," he added.
If there's one good thing, said Aquino, it's that things are clearer now, especially with the publicly declared alliance of Arroyo, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio, and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos. (READ: Arroyo, Sara Duterte, Imee Marcos meet for 'thank you lunch')
"Perhaps in a sense parang maganda na rin 'yung gano'n, para may clarity (it seems good because at least there's clarity now). Let the people, in whom the sovereignty resides, decide. This doesn't seem to be shades of a particular color, it seeks to be different colors... then you decide which viewpoint, ideology, direction you want to go to," Aquino said.
Arroyo has denied that she is eyeing to become prime minister if the shift to federalism succeeds. Critics, however, refuse to believe this, citing the country's experience under her 9-year leadership. – Rappler.com