Cayetano buries hatchet with Arroyo amid ‘coup’ talks
MANILA, Philippines — After long years of political enmity, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday buried the hatchet with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In his speech during the inauguration of a bridgeway connecting the Ramon Mitra building and the north wing of the main building at the House of Representatives, Cayetano addressed Arroyo whose policies as President Cayetano had fiercely opposed in the past.
“It’s also special for me because hindi naman lingid sa inyong kaalaman (as you know) that former President, our guest of honor, and former Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and I had political differences in the past,” said Cayetano.
“Hopefully this bridge, from your speakership to mine, will also be a bridge from your family to mine,” he added.
Arroyo, meanwhile, congratulated Cayetano for the success of the project.
“I’d like to congratulate Speaker Cayetano first for taking on this project of bridge not only physically but also politically… That is a wonderful gift or legacy that you, Alan, can give to the House of Representatives,” Arroyo said.
During his stint as senator, Cayetano, who then chaired the committee on accountability of public officers and investigations, probed the NBN-ZTE deal and the fertilizer fund scam which involved some of Arroyo’s closest allies.
He also actively called for Arroyo’s impeachment.
However, he said his criticism of leaders were never personal in nature. “I respect the former presidents — whether it’s President Erap, Ramos, President Aquino who I also criticized at one point in time but I would like to believe it was never personal.”
Arroyo stepped down as Speaker in June 2019, a month before Cayetano was elected as leader of the lower chamber under a term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco of Lakas.
Among those who voted for Cayetano as Speaker was Arroyo’s son, Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo.
The friendlier relationship between Arroyo and Cayetano highlighted the shifting alliances at the lower chamber following talks of a coup plot against the latter.
Cayetano had earlier accused Velasco of hatching his ouster by using the controversy over the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN to discredit him, and promising committee memberships and bigger budget.
Velasco had denied the allegations, saying he will honor the term-sharing agreement.
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