January 24, 2018, 1:21 am
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Arroyo on speaker post: ‘Not interested’

REP. Gloria Arroyo (Lakas-CMD, Pampanga) yesterday sought to put rest rumors that she is preparing to challenge the post of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who removed her as deputy speaker for Central Luzon last month for voting against the death penalty bill.

“Not interested,” the former president told reporters after holding a briefing with her lawyer Estelito Mendoza on the country’s territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea.

Arroyo is said to be the biggest threat to the Speaker’s position because of her closeness to President Duterte. Alvarez earlier dared his critics in the supermajority coalition to go ahead and try to oust him if they have the numbers.

Alvarez’ ouster has been the subject of talks since late last year after his alleged falling out with his old friend Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo (PDP-Laban, Davao del Norte) who is accused of egging Arroyo to challenge the Speaker.

Alvarez, who served as transportation secretary during the Arroyo administration, removed the former president as the deputy speaker for Central Luzon after she voted against the House Bill 4727 which seeks to restore the capital punishment on drug-related heinous crimes.

He said his decision to strip Arroyo and other House leaders of their post will be formalized on the floor after Congress’ Lenten break.

Congress will resume session on May 2.

Arroyo has vowed to support Alvarez despite what seemed to be a falling out and thanked the President “for his expression of understanding late last year regarding my position on the issue.”

She has vowed to continue to support the administration “as a plain congresswoman.”

“The issue of the death penalty is unlike any other, in that it touches the core of each person’s fundamental view of human life. I believe that the issue required a vote based solely on conscience and the deepest of personal convictions. Thus, despite my support for President Duterte and Speaker Alvarez, I voted against House Bill No. 4727,” she said.
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