Two lawmakers on Monday said that Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should not retire from politics until President Rodrigo Duterte finishes his term in 2022, saying that the former president’s economic expertise will be essential to the Duterte administration.
Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay and Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said Arroyo’s competence as a leader and knowledge will be of great help to the country.
“She is workaholic, she should be advised not to retire because she can help the government,” said Pichay.
Pichay made the remark after Arroyo last week said she will resume writing her memoirs when she finishes her third term in the House of Representatives and that she has no plans to run in next year’s elections.
The 71-year-old Arroyo is on her third and last term as representative of Pampanga province.
“I have no plans to run for anything. I plan to work on my memoirs, to resume writing my memoirs. Other than that, I have not given much thought about what to do to occupy my time,” she said in a TV interview.
Castelo, meanwhile, said the country still needs Arroyo.
“She should maximize her talent and experience because that will be good for the country. She is very wise in making judgments,” said Castelo, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development, said.
Political observers said that Arroyo is a shoo-in if she runs for the Senate in May 2019 elections.
But Arroyo said her focus now is to help Duterte build a lasting legacy. “I am not interested in a legacy as Speaker,” she said. “I am interested in helping President Duterte with his legacy during my short time as Speaker.”
Arroyo assumed the speakership last month, following the ouster of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez hours before Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address.
Majority of House members ousted Alvarez a few months after he had a run-in with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in February over the latter’s establishment of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago political party. Alvarez said Hugpong is an opposition party, drawing the ire of the Davao City mayor.
This developed as Pichay, member of the Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats, also said that Lakas-CMD may forge an alliance with Duterte-Carpio’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago party.
“If we have chance [to coalesce with HNP] why not? Right now, we are trying to [fix some matters] [but] yeah, we will pursue that direction,” said Pichay.
Pichay said the party could field former Leyte congressman and Philippine Constitution Association president, Martin Romualdez, Lakas-CMD president, and former Senator Ramon Revilla, Lakas-CMD chairman, as their senatorial candidates and adopt guest candidates for the Senate.
Pichay said that even if Arroyo is now a member of the ruling Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, her heart belongs to the Lakas-CMD where she is one of the founding members.