Makabayan slams Arroyo’s ‘naked power grab’ in House

MANILA, Philippines – Progressive lawmakers forming the Makabayan bloc opposed the speakership of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, calling her a plunderer and murderer.

Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate said Filipinos were the “losers” after lawmakers ousted Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez as Speaker and replaced him with Arroyo, Pampanga 2nd District representative.

“What they did was a blatant and naked power grab. Sinagasaan ng kampo ni Representative Macapagal-Arroyo ang proseso ng eleksyon sa Kongreso (The camp of Representative Macapagal-Arroyo railroaded the election process in Congress),” said Zarate.

“As it is now, it appears that the Duterte administration is rehabilitating a plunderer and massive human rights violator by making Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the speaker of the House and this is truly condemnable. First, they rehabilitated Marcos, now its Gloria,” he added.

Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago recalled the various controversies that hounded Arroyo’s presidency – from being an “enabler” of infamous Retired Major General Jovito Palparan, the value-added hike, the “Hello Garci” election scandal, the NBN-ZTE deal, and the fertilizer fund scam.

"Let us not forget that Gloria Arroyo was not only an election cheater, but also a plunderer and enabler of ‘butcher’ Jovito Palparan and Value Added Tax hike; attacks on civil liberties, allowing of foreign military meddling and eviction of urban poor communities were also extremely bad during her time as the president."

Gabriela Representatives Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas said they will not support Arroyo, even if she is the first female lawmaker to become Speaker in the Philippine legislative history.

“Filipino women do not tolerate corrupt people in power, even if it is a ‘She.’ Hindi porke babae na nasa poder ay susuportahan na ng kababaihan. Hindi pwedeng i-recycle ang mga abusado sa kapangyarihan,” said De Jesus and Brosas.

(It doesn’t automatically mean women would support another woman in power. We can’t recycle abusers of power)

“Gabriela Women’s Party will never forget the 1,206 victims of extrajudicial killing, 206 victims of enforced disappearances, more than 2,000 cases of illegal arrests, and thousand of forced evacuation during the 9-year presidency of Gloria Arroyo,” they added.

As of posting, Alvarez remains silent on his ouster. There were last ditch efforts to stop the plan to unseat him, but Alvarez’s coup plotters had the upper hand. Sources said no less than presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio lobbied for his removal. –

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.