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Arroyo not backing anyone in Speaker race

05:35 AM March 26, 2019

She has no horse in the race for the next leader of the House.

Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo refused on Sunday evening to be drawn into endorsing any of the two candidates who separately received the backing of President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

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“I don’t want to comment on the next Congress because I am not going to be a part of it,” the former President told reporters in Bacolod City.

Mayor Duterte, leader of the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago who helped orchestrate the coup staged by Arroyo last year against the previous Speaker, Pantaleon Alvarez, endorsed different congressional candidates as the next Speaker in two election campaign rallies last week.

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On March 19 in Tacloban City, she introduced former Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez as the next Speaker. But the next day, she gave a similar introduction to Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco in Tagbilaran City.

President’s supporters

The mayor later said she was supporting “all those who are supportive of the President.”

Romualdez is president of Arroyo’s former party, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, and the nephew of Rep. Imelda Marcos, widow of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Velasco, on the other hand, is close to President Duterte and the rumored candidate of Arroyo’s current party, the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.

Other candidates have emerged in the speakership race, including former Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who is seeking the seat of Taguig-Pateros in the House, and Representatives Ronaldo Zamora of San Juan City, Lucy Torres-Gomez of Leyte, Alex Advincula and Abraham Tolentino of Cavite, and Federico Sandoval II of Malabon City.

Arroyo reiterated her previous denials that she was keen to accept a new post in the Duterte administration once her term was over.

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“I’m going to continue writing my memoirs. As to [what I’ll be doing] I’ve never given it much thought yet on what I’ll do to stay busy,” she said. —DJ Yap

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TAGS: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, House of Representatives, House speakership, Martin Romualdez
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