Ex-Gloria Arroyo allies nab top posts in House

Mara Cepeda

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Ex-Gloria Arroyo allies nab top posts in House
The House Speaker, Minority Floor Leader, and a Deputy Speaker once held appointive positions when Gloria Arroyo was still president

Three of the top officials in the House of Representatives were former allies of ex-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now Pampanga 2nd District Representative.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo, and House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez were previously appointed to government posts when Arroyo was still president. 

Arroyo is currently part of Lakas-CMD, a party that has coalesced with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan to become a part of the House supermajority bloc. 

Alvarez, the congressman of Davao del Norte’s 1st District, was Arroyo’s Transportation secretary from January 2001 to July 5, 2002. (READ: Next Speaker? Pantaleon Alvarez and the ghost of NAIA 3)

During the opening of the 17th Congress, Arroyo voted Alvarez for House Speaker, which he won with 251 votes.

Quimbo became the deputy chief executive officer (CEO) of the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG) in 2001. Arroyo later appointed him its president and CEO from February 2002 to March 2009.

Quimbo is now a member of the Liberal Party (LP). In the 2016 elections, he was a spokesperson for LP standard-bearer Manual “Mar” Roxas II and also the campaign manager for the coalition’s Senate slate. 

As for Suarez, he was once a loyal stalwart of Arroyo’s Lakas-CMD prior to jumping ship to the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) for the 2016 polls. Arroyo had appointed him vice chair of the National Road Board. 

While he is now part of UNA, Suarez continues to support Arroyo, even visiting her on the day the former president was released from hospital arrest after the Supreme Court cleared her of plunder.

New House Sergeant-at-Arms Roland Detabali also has a connection with Arroyo, although it is indirect. 

The retired general is part of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1978, the batch that had adopted Arroyo as its honorary member. – 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.