Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has asked Speaker Martin G. Romualdez for a seven-day medical and wellness leave abroad.
Arroyo’s office said the former President will not be able to physically attend sessions for “two weeks and one day.” Congress holds sessions from Monday to Wednesday.
“She will travel to France and Singapore. She intends, however, to join the sessions of Congress via Zoom while she is out of the country,” a statement issued by Arroyo’s office said.
“She has been certified by her personal physician as no longer infectious, but she could not attend the SONA (State of the Nation Address) because the President’s presence required a negative [RT-]PCR test for all attending the SONA, whereas she tested positive on [RT-]PCR [for COVID-19] two days before the SONA,” it added.
Even if absent, Arroyo participated via Zoom in the opening of the First Regular Session of the 19th Congress on Monday morning and voted for Romualdez for Speaker.
Arroyo, who served as Speaker from July 2018 to June 2019, will serve as Senior Deputy Speaker under Romualdez’s leadership.
The former President on Monday congratulated the newly-elected Speaker and extended her gratitude to members of the House for electing her Senior Deputy Speaker despite her absence in the first session of them 19th Congress.
Arroyo, who was elected unopposed for a fresh term as representative of the 2nd district of Pampanga, tested positive for COVID-19 last July 15 and July 23.
Also a former Vice President and Senator, Arroyo said she “fully supports Speaker Romualdez’s leadership.”
She is chair emeritus of the Lakas-CMD party, of which Romualdez is party president, while Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio is the chairperson.