By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo has called on Filipinos to be vigilant of the sudden leadership change that paved the way for the election of former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the new House Speaker.
Robredo, in a media interview in Quezon City, said Filipinos should be more watchful of the political movements.
“That’s the obligation of each one of us – so that we, in government, does not abuse our positions, and that we do our jobs, and we should always be watched,” she said in Filipino.
The Vice President was asked to comment whether Arroyo’s assumption to the speakership was a prelude to becoming a prime minister after she attended a book launch Tuesday night in Ateneo De Manila University.
For Robredo, it is too early to tell the real agenda behind Arroyo’s take over of the House leadership from then Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
“Parang ngayon pa lang naman na araw iyong first day na manunungkulan (This is only the first day of her term),” she said, referring to Arroyo.
The Vice President slammed the power grab drama in the House of Representatives, which she claimed, put the entire country in bad light.
“This gives an impression about the state of our country that it is more important to prioritize the power struggle than the attempt, despite our differences, that we should unite to help each other to address the problems we are facing,” she said.
Arroyo, in a surprise move on Monday, suddenly took over the House speakership from Alvarez that delayed the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address for more than an hour at the Batasang Pambansa.
The incident was so disgraceful that the Vice President could not help but admit it was “embarrassing” to happen publicly.
“Nakakahiya na pinapakita natin sa lahat na ‘yong pag-wrestle ng power parang in full public view (It’s embarrassing that we are showing to everyone the power wrestling in full public view),” she said.
Later that night, Arroyo was voted to the speakership by 184 while 12 abstained out of 244 lawmakers present during the special session.
Robredo, a former housing chief, described as “wrong timing” the sudden change in House leadership before Duterte’s SONA.
“That moment was for the President, watched by the entire country, everyone was excited to listen to what the President had to say, then the incident grabbed the attention,” she said in Filipino.
Asked if she would recognize the election of Arroyo as the new House leader, Robredo replied: “It is a matter that has to be settled by the members of the House of Representatives. Labas naman tayo doon (I’m not part of that).