MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. greeted two former presidents, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Joseph Estrada, on the way to the podium where he was set to deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 24.
Two of the three ladies between the two former presidents were Vice President Sara Duterte and First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos. After greeting Arroyo and Senate President Migz Zubiri’s wife Audrey, Marcos skipped shaking hands with Duterte, and went straight to Estrada.
Duterte was wearing a traditional Maguindanaon dress to pay homage and celebrate the Moro tribe that lives mostly in South Central Mindanao. With her hair wrapped up, Marcos may have failed to recognize her.
Arroyo and Estrada were key members of Uniteam – the coalition that consolidated the power and popularity of Marcos and Duterte in the 2022 elections.
Apart from Marcos’ Partido Federal ng Pilipinas and regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, the coalition included Lakas-CMD, of which Arroyo is chairman emeritus, and previously president emeritus. Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, a party Estrada founded, was also part of the coalition.
Arroyo retains her political influence more than a decade since she ended her presidential term. For a time under Marcos’ administration, she was House senior deputy speaker, but was removed in May. The Pampanga 2nd District Representative remains to be House deputy speaker.
Meanwhile, Estrada’s two sons Jinggoy Estrada and JV Ejercito began fresh senatorial terms in 2022. – Rappler.com