Palace ready to work with Speaker Arroyo

MANILA MalacaAang on Tuesday expressed readiness to work with new House of Representatives Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte has very good relations with the former president and now Pampanga congresswoman.

She was one of the staunchest supporters of the President during the elections. They share the same political agenda. So we foresee absolutely no problems in working with Speaker Arroyo, Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

Arroyo replaced ousted House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in a daylong leadership row that delayed Duterte's third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

Arroyo was elected by 184 House members in an informal session while Alvarez and Senate President Vicente Sotto III were with the President inside a holding room.

Roque could not confirm if Duterte had spoken with Alvarez and Arroyo one after the other but said tempers were really flaring all over the place as efforts were being made to end the leadership standoff inside a room at the back of the session hall.

You better believe it. Tempers were really flaring all over the place but they all have to behave because the President was around, of course, he said.

Roque said even Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea somehow mediated between the contending parties.

He, however, clarified that the concern was only due to the constitutional duty of the President to deliver the SONA on the fourth Monday of July.

After an hour and 20 minutes of waiting, it was Alvarez who joined Sotto and the President at the podium but only for less than an hour, as the lower chamber held a session anew after the SONA to formally install Arroyo as the first female House Speaker.

'No-el' pronouncements

Roque said he did not anticipate the House leadership change but he noticed (that) the President was visibly concerned about the pronouncements of the Speaker (Alvarez) on no election, in so far as he related, also no elections to federalism.

He did not express concern about the Speaker. He did express concern about the no-el which was being pushed by Speaker Alvarez, he explained.

Roque reiterated that Duterte was even more emphatic that he definitely will not have any hand in no-el.

He expressed commitment to work with the new House Speaker for the passage of the Palace's priority measures.

We (are) ready to work with the chosen leader of the House of Representatives, Roque, a former House member, said.

Alvarez is the secretary-general of Duterte's political party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino�Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency