By BENJIE OLIVEROS
MANILA — Soon after announcing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s plan to run as representative of the 2nd district of Pampanga, Malacañang announced that her priority agenda in Congress is to push for charter change. The opposition belittled Malacañang’s announcement saying that they would surely be the majority in Congress after the May 2010 elections. There is supposedly a mass exodus from the ruling party Lakas-Kampi toward the Liberal Party and Nacionalista Party.
However, when President Arroyo declared martial law in Maguindanao, generating protests from a broad sector of society, the opposition threatened to have Congress declare the proclamation as invalid and censure the president. But House Speaker Prospero Nograles expressed confidence that the ruling party could muster enough votes to have Congress, with both Houses in a joint session, uphold President Arroyo’s martial law proclamation. Bulatlat.com, in a previous analysis, pointed this out as a manifestation of how the money and influence of the Arroyo clique could sway Congress to go their way when they push for charter change after the May 2010 elections. Eventually, Arroyo lifted martial law in Maguindanao, thereby making it unnecessary for Congress to vote on the matter. The opposition tried to push for the session to censure the president, but to no avail.
About two weeks ago, Malacañang, seemingly testing the waters, announced that Lakas-Kampi would push that Arroyo be named House Speaker by the next Congress. Liberal Party spokeman Florencio Abad dismissed this, saying that for Arroyo to be named House Speaker, she should get the blessing of the next president — who would surely come from the opposition — as this has been the tradition. The Liberal Party’s candidate who would be challenging Arroyo’s bid for Congress said she should win first before bagging the speakership of the Lower House.
Well, Nanci Pelosi of the Democratic Party became Speaker of the House of the US Congress in 2006, the last two years of the Bush Administration. The Republicans did the same to the Clinton administration in 1994.
As far as I know, the House Speaker is voted by the representatives. It’s just that generally, the ruling party dominates the Lower House so the representative who gets the support of the president bags the speakership of the House. If the Arroyo clique would be able to muster enough votes, she could have the position of House Speaker of the next Congress. Gauging by the way our honorable representatives voted in the past — meaning, how effective bribes and pork barrels were – -it is not farfetched that Arroyo could land the position, as she has surely accumulated enough goodies for future distribution. As for winning a seat in Congress, well, there are millions of reasons going her way.
The Arroyo clique’s plans to sneak back to power have obviously been laid out. She would become House Speaker, push for charter change, and get elected as Prime Minister.
Recent news about Arroyo’s pointpersons running for seats in Congress have confirmed this. As of now, six of Arroyo’s closest minions have expressed their intention of running for Congress namely, Executive. S Secretary Eduardo Ermita (Batangas), Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap (Bohol), former AFP chief and current Presidential Management Staff head Hermogenes Esperon Jr (Pangasinan), Augusto Syjuco of the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (Iloilo), Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera (Quezon), and Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. (Camarines Sur). Two are taking the partylist route: Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes and Arroyo’s son, Rep. Mikey Arroyo.
We should also remember that there are two other Arroyos in Congress who would surely run for reelection: her other son Dato of Bicol and brother-in-law Ignacio Arroyo of Negros Occidental. Add to this the 11 other Malacañang-sponsored and three other AFP-sponsored partylist groups, as revealed by Fr. Joe Dizon of Kontra Daya.
Not yet included in the above list are the other Lakas-Kampi representatives running for reelection, or their relatives who would replace them, and those running for other parties but could easily recognize the glitter of gold.
I could not remember any precedent in history where there is such a mad rush for positions in Congress by officials, relatives, and close allies of an outgoing administration.
If indications are this plan would fail, well, the automated elections could always fail. The Filipino people should be prepared for this. (Bulatlat.com)