GMA allies again rule the roost
Three weeks after successfully mounting a coup that placed her back on the political map, two more known close political aides of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have secured key positions in the House of Representatives.
The ascension of Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. and Bohol Rep. Arthur Yap as deputy speakers virtually turned the 292-member chamber into a postcard of Arroyo’s tumultuous nine-year presidency, which was rocked by corruption scandals involving her and some of her senior officials.
Pichay and Yap replaced Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo and Cebu Rep. Gwen Garcia, respectively, before the legislative body adjourned for a two-week break on Wednesday night.
Pichay served as House majority leader during the Arroyo administration while Yap was then the agriculture secretary.
Both had been indicted for a string of graft and corruption charges in the Sandiganbayan after their boss stepped down from power in 2010.
But eight years went by too fast as Arroyo and her loyal allies were able to claw their way back to the top of the political spectrum via the House, which is still dominated by President Duterte’s supporters in the supermajority.
Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice said the posts given to Pichay and Yap were not surprising as it was just a natural result of the reorganization in the House.
“Of course they are the majority. They can always dictate who will be the officers of the House. It’s understandable,” Erice told the Inquirer.
“I have nothing against them getting all the positions. But they should not have intervened in the election of the minority leadership,” he added.
Erice insisted that Quimbo should have been recognized as minority leader and not Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, another one of Arroyo’s trusted political allies.
Another former Arroyo Cabinet member, Rolando Andaya Jr., is now the House majority leader.
He served as the Speaker’s budget secretary during her presidency.