MANILA, Philippines — After political parties at the House of Representatives reiterated their support for Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez’s leadership through a resolution, one name was observed missing from the co-authors — that of Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Arroyo’s name was not included in the list of co-authors of House Resolution (HR) No. 1414, which seeks to uphold the integrity and dignity of the House after it was maligned by former president Rodrigo Duterte.
However, Arroyo said through her staffer that she was only out of the country, but she continues to support Romualdez being Speaker.
“I’m currently out of the country. However, as I always said, I continue to support the leadership of Speaker Romualdez,” the former president said.
Arroyo is chairperson emeritus of political party Lakas-CMD, which Romualdez is president of.
During the resumption of the session on Monday, Romualdez delivered a speech where he assured House members that he will stand up in favor of the public’s interests, and against anyone who threatens the institution just to get what he or she wants.
Romualdez did not mention anyone who may be behind the attacks against the House, but it could be recalled that during the session break, former president Duterte launched tirades against the chamber and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro.
In an interview with Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), Duterte called the House the ‘most rotten organization’, saying that the chamber is distributing pork barrel to different members. House leaders and officials however denied this, saying that the Supreme Court has already outlawed the pork barrel system.
Duterte made the accusations after the House ultimately decided to remove the confidential fund (CF) request of Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd) — two agencies headed by his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte.
OVP asked for a P500 million CF for 2024, while DepEd sought for a P150 million secret funding.
After Romualdez delivered his speech, the House then convened as a committee of the whole to discuss HR. No. 1414. It was eventually adopted by the House.
Arroyo has been known to be close to the Dutertes, with the Vice President considering the former president to be an influential figure in her political career.
Last May 18, after her demotion from being a senior deputy speaker to a mere deputy speaker, Arroyo broke her silence saying that her actions may have been misconstrued as an attempt to stage a coup against Romualdez.
A day after, Vice President Duterte resigned from Lakas-CMD — which opposition lawmaker and Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman believes was due to Arroyo’s demotion.
Eventually, the alleged power struggle within the House died down, after Romualdez, Arroyo, and Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. — who was named senior deputy speaker — were seen together at the rostrum.
The 2nd Regular Session of the 19th Congress also started last July 24 without any changes to the leadership.