MANILA — Former President and Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Thursday denied she was planning to oust House Speaker Martin Romualdez.
Arroyo made the statement after the House of Representatives demoted her from Senior Deputy Speaker to Deputy Speaker.
In her statement, she admitted that she wanted to be House Speaker after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. won the presidential elections last year.
"But it soon became apparent that he was most comfortable with then Congress Martin Romaldez as Speaker. I quickly realized the wisdom embedded in that sentiment," Arroyo said.
But she rejected allegations that she wanted to replace Romualdez as House Speaker.
"When I learned that there were reports that I was suspected of plotting a 'coup' against Speaker Romualdez, I decided I must speak out to clarify my political position. Indeed, some of my actions may have been misconstrued, such as my recent trip with a delegation of Congressmen to Korea for some official meetings," she said.
"To be clear, my political objectives are three: First, to represent the 2nd district of Pampanga. Second, to support the legislative agenda of Speaker Romualdez and President Marcos. Third, to use whatever experience I have as a former President to help out when I am called upon to do so.
"Outside of my role as Congresswoman, my public interest going forward is to help reduce tensions between the United States and China, given that I was strongly allied to both countries when I was President," Arroyo said.
She claimed that she no longer seeks to be the House Speaker again. Arroyo was Speaker of the House in the 17th Congress from 2018-2019 after congressmen voted her to replace then Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
"This has been my position ever since Speaker Romaldez was elected in the 19th Congress, and I continue to urge my Lakas-SMD. partymates to support our party President in that role," she said.
"This time, I am a mere Congresswoman, so issues of national importance no longer depend on my role in Congress. Thus, I have no compelling reasons to change my mind about foregoing my ambitions for the Speakership," she added.
Arroyo said she hopes that her statement will "preempt any needless politicking."
Various political blocks in the House renewed their support for Marcos Jr. and Romualdez after the demotion of Arroyo.
Among them was former President Rodrigo Duterte's PDP Laban party-list whose national treasurer, Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Dong Gonzales Jr., replaced Arroyo.
Arroyo is on her 4th non-consecutive term as district representative after serving as the country's chief executive from 2001-2010.
She is one of the 71 lawmakers in the House belonging to Lakas CMD, which has Romualdez as its party President. — With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News