Arroyo ‘not interested’ in Speaker post

MANILA-- Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Thursday dispelled rumors that she was after the post of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

In an ambush interview, Arroyo said she is not interested in the said position, finally pouring cold water to speculations that she is seeking to replace Alvarez as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Not interested, Arroyo told reporters after the launch of former solicitor general Estelito Mendoza's primer entitled The Ocean Space or the Maritime Area of the Philippines.

Ouster plot rumors against Alvarez circulated when the House leadership stripped lawmakers of their committee and deputy speakership posts, including that of Arroyo's, for voting against the death penalty bill in March.

The rumors flared up when Alvarez had a bitter fallout with his erstwhile bosom buddy Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Tonyboy Floirendo Jr.

Alvarez filed a graft complaint against Floirendo before the Office of the Ombudsman for his alleged unconstitutional "business interest" with his family's banana firm Tagum Agricultural Development Company, Inc. (TADECO).

Alvarez also filed House Resolution (HR) No. 867 calling for a congressional inquiry into the grossly disadvantageous 25-year lease contract signed by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and TADECO.

Alvarez remains unperturbed by alleged threats to unseat him as speaker, saying that they can pull the trigger and give their best shot.

Floirendo, for his part, denied that he was behind any plot to oust Alvarez as Speaker and have him replaced by Arroyo, who was removed as deputy speaker for her no vote on the death penalty bill.

"I never attempted to talk to Arroyo nor would I ever support any plot to oust Speaker Alvarez who, in the first place, is a good friend of mine and whom I fully supported during the last election and in his bid for the speakership," Floirendo said.

"If ever there is an iota of truth to the ouster plot, I am 100 percent not a part of it," he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency