In politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies, just permanent interests – and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and former-president-turned-speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo are proof of that.
On Wednesday, March 11, Cayetano invited his predecessor as guest of honor during the inauguration of a new bridgeway connecting the main building of the Batasang Pambansa to the Ramon Mitra Building across it.
Cayetano said this new structure is a “symbol” of his intention to reconnect with Arroyo, whom he staunchly criticized when she was still president from 2001 to 2010.
“Hindi naman lingid sa inyong kaalaman (It’s no secret) that the former president, our guest of honor and former speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and I had political differences in the past. So hopefully, ma’am this bridge, from your speakership to mine, will also serve as bridge from your family to mine,” Cayetano said in his speech.
When it was Arroyo’s turn to speak, she congratulated her longtime critic for finishing the project she started during her speakership.
“I’d like to congratulate Speaker Cayetano first for thinking of this project as a bridge not only physically but also politically,” Arroyo said.
After their brief speeches, Cayetano and Arroyo stood side by side during the ribbon-cutting ceremony before walking together along the bridge.
The two House speakers then proceeded to Cayetano’s office to have lunch with other ranking members of the lower chamber.
The last time the two were seen in public together was in November 2018 during the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. At the time, Arroyo was still the top House leader while Cayetano was foreign affairs chief.
Cayetano and Arroyo are political enemies. The Taguig City-Pateros congressman had been the spokesperson of the team that sought Arroyo’s impeachment.
When he became senator, Cayetano led the probes into controversies involving Arroyo’s close allies, like the botched NBN-ZTE deal and the fertilizer fund scam. He likewise pushed for investigations into reported election fraud in 2004 and 2007.
All cases Arroyo faced due to these allegations have been junked.
Cayetano is now Speaker of the House, where loyal Arroyo ally and Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez is the Majority Leader.
Romualdez was a strong contender for the speakership last year, but he gave way after President Rodrigo Duterte endorsed a term-sharing deal between Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.
Under the same agreement, Romualdez was offered the influential House Majority Leader post instead and he accepted. – Rappler.com
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