By Billy Begas
Lawmakers are puzzled by Vice President Sara Duterte’s reaction to the demotion of former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from Senior Deputy Speaker to Deputy Speaker.
A lawmaker, who spoke in anonymity, also noted that this is not the first time VP Duterte has made a move that essentially shows her support for Arroyo.
“Anong meron kay GMA at ginagawa yan ni VP?” the solon said.
Another lawmaker thinks that this probably has something to do with the 2028 presidential elections.
While another solon thinks that it has something to do with the help provided by Arroyo to make former President Rodrigo Duterte win in the 2016 presidential race. Arroyo was released from detention after President Duterte took over Malacañang.
The first time that VP Duterte made a favorable move for Arroyo was when she helped unseat then-Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, who was replaced by Arroyo in 2018.
Alvarez was among the few individuals who stood by former President Duterte, even during the time when he was still trailing in the election surveys.
Arroyo’s demotion was linked to her alleged plan to replace Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez. Arroyo has denied the rumors.
Following Arroyo’s demotion, VP Duterte resigned from the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), the party that provided the way so she could run for vice president in the 2022 elections.
In one event, Duterte expressed her love and respect for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. but said that she refused to mention his middle initial.
“Hindi ko na banggitin ang middle initial niya… Mahal ko si apo BBM,” VP Duterte said.
Marcos’ middle name is Romualdez. He and Speaker Romualdez are cousins.
Romualdez did not issue any statement on the matter earning praise from his colleagues.
In a statement, Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. lauded Romualdez for taking the ‘moral high road’ and expressed his hope that the ‘rift’ will be mended soon.
Barzaga also mentioned the hard work Romualdez did for VP Duterte during the campaign.
But VP Duterte disagreed with Barzaga’s statement that Romualdez has something to do with her decision to run for the vice presidency.
“Speaker Martin Romualdez had absolutely nothing to do with my decision to run for Vice President,” said VP Duterte in a statement. “To say that he “tremendously helped in pushing for” my Vice Presidential bid is acutely inaccurate — an insult to thousands of groups and individuals who incessantly implored me to reconsider an earlier decision not to join national politics.”
Romualdez was one of the two campaign managers of VP Duterte during the recent elections.
After her victory, VP Duterte acknowledged the efforts of Romualdez.
“I like to personally thank publicly thank Cong. Martin Romualdez for taking me in Lakas-CMD and accepting the challenge to be one of my two campaign managers during the last election…. You did very well…. 32.2 million votes you did it all,” said Duterte in a speech during the oath-taking ceremony of Romualdez at the RTR Gymnasium in Tacloban City on June 15, 2022.
During the last half of President Duterte’s term, VP Duterte was also invoked in the speakership race.
VP Duterte, who was then the mayor of Davao City, and her brother Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte met Romualdez, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Lord Allan Velasco all vying for the speakership.
In the end, Romualdez accepted the position of House Majority Leader for the entire term while Cayetano and Velasco agreed to a term-sharing agreement for the speakership.