LP slams ‘vindictive’ Arroyo for replacing Batanes caretaker

Mara Cepeda
LP slams ‘vindictive’ Arroyo for replacing Batanes caretaker

Office of the Speaker/Press and

Liberal Party president and Senator Francis Pangilinan says Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo did not follow the House tradition of designating a caretaker nominated by the political party of the deceased

MANILA, Philippines – The Liberal Party (LP) denounced the designation of Pangasinan 3rd District Representative Rose Marie “Baby” Arenas as Batanes caretaker, accusing House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of “vindictiveness” against the Abads.

“The Liberal Party condemned the move in the waning minutes of the last day of session of Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo replacing Batanes legislative caretaker former Speaker Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr. with Pangasinan Rep. Rosemary Arenas as petty vindictiveness and partisanship,” said LP president and Senator Francis Pangilinan on Friday, October 12.

On Wednesday, October 10, the House leadership moved to designate Arenas as Batanes caretaker, replacing LP stalwart Belmonte.

Batanes was originally represented in the 17th Congress by the late lawmaker Henedina Abad, wife of former budget secretary Florencio Abad. She passed away on October 8, 2017.

Pangilinan said Arroyo did not follow the House tradition of designating a caretaker nominated by the political party of the deceased.

Abad’s youngest son Luis also slammed the designation of Arenas as caretaker.

Ousted speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier told reporters that while it’s the House leadership that ultimately decides on who becomes designated caretaker of a legislative district, the deceased lawmaker’s family can also give recommendations.

Arroyo’s revenge?

Pangilinan then accused the Speaker of listening to former Batanes representative Carlo Diasnes, whom Abad defeated in the 2010 and 2013 congressional polls.

Pangilinan also said Arroyo is taking revenge on the Abads for LP’s campaign to impeach her in 2004, when Arroyo was accused of cheating in the 2004 presidential elections.

“It seems Arroyo has not forgotten the active participation of Abad and her husband, former DBM Secretary Butch Abad, in the party’s campaign to impeach her for cheating in the 2004 presidential elections and hold her accountable for numerous cases of graft and corruption during her almost 10 years in office. These eventually led to her arrest and incarceration during the new administration of [former] president Benigno Aquino III,” said Pangilinan.

Pangilinan said that in 2005 and 2006, Arroyo “got back” at the Abads by denying the province its congressional allocations. This prompted Abad not to run for her second term as Batanes representative in 2007.

Rappler has sought both Arroyo’s office and Arenas for comment, but they have yet to reply as of this posting. – Rappler.com

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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.