Arroyo breaks silence: My actions were misconstrued, I was accused of staging House coup
MANILA, Philippines — Former president and incumbent Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo broke her silence on her replacement as a senior deputy speaker, saying that her actions may have been misconstrued leading to claims that she was staging a coup.
Arroyo, in a statement, refuted the allegation, saying that it is no longer her goal to be elected as speaker of the House of Representatives.
“When I learned that there were reports that I was suspected of plotting a ‘coup’ against Speaker Romualdez, I decided I must speak out to clarify my political position. Indeed, some of my actions may have been misconstrued, such as my recent trip with a delegation of Congressmen to Korea for some official meetings,” she said.
“To be clear, my political objectives are three: First, to represent the 2nd district of Pampanga. Second, to support the legislative agenda of Speaker Romualdez and President Marcos. Third, to use whatever experience I have as a former President to help out when I am called upon to do so,” she added.
Arroyo admitted that when Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos was elected president last year, she wanted to aspire for the speakership, but realized the wisdom in having Leyte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez as the speaker instead.
“When President Marcos won, I wanted to aspire for the Speakership of the House. But it soon became apparent that he was most comfortable with then Congressman Martin Romualdez as Speaker. I quickly realized the wisdom embedded in that sentiment,” she said.
“In the Philippines, the House leadership has traditionally been closely associated with the sitting President, and this relationship of deep trust between speaker and President has been beneficial in smoothly enacting the legislative agenda of the President. I think this is acceptable, because in the Philippines, the check and balance needed in any democracy has traditionally been well-provided by the Senate,” she added.
During Wednesday’s session, the House approved changes in the leadership, with Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. being elected as the senior deputy speaker.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo then replaced Gonzales as deputy speaker.
In separate statements on Thursday, several lawmakers congratulated Gonzales after the latter was elected.
PDP-Laban — which Gonzales is a part of — meanwhile said that the move to elevate Gonzales is a recognition of their party-mates’ contribution to the legislative body.
Initially, Arroyo said that the move was the prerogative of the House of Representatives.
“It’s the prerogative of the House,” Arroyo said in a short statement sent by her office to reporters.