MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said on Friday, August 3, that no one in the House of Representatives will get “zero budget” under her leadership.
Responding to questions in a media interview in Calumpit, Bulacan, Arroyo said this was her “gesture of goodwill” as new Speaker.
Asked if she would continue the practice of zero budget for the opposition, Arroyo said: “No, no, no. Bibigyan lahat ng (Everyone will be given a) budget as a gesture of goodwill.”
Her predecessor, Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez, had threatened opposition lawmakers – especially those critical of President Rodrigo Duterte – that they would get slashed or no infrastructure budget for their districts.
Arroyo said her policy is in line with her function as speaker, which is “to help the congressmen serve their [districts’] most immediate needs.”
“That’s why I won’t give zero budget even to those congressmen [who] don’t like me at all,” she said.
Asked about her packed activities since she became Speaker, which observers saw as her preparation for a possible bigger role in government, Arroyo said she “can’t be distracted” by others’ interpretation of her actions.
Since she became Speaker, Arroyo has been busy going to areas hit by flooding.
Following her rise to the speakership and the Duterte administration’s bid for charter change, there are suspicions that the former president – who is on her third and final term as Pampanga 2nd District Representative – is angling to become prime minister under an amended charter. – Rappler.com