MANILA - Speaker Martin Romualdez and Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appear together at the oath taking of new Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales, Jr. during the plenary session of the House of Representatives on Monday.
While Arroyo was not around for her demotion last week, she was present Monday. She was in the background when House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe called Gonzales to take his oath.
Gonzales, the representative of Arroyo's neighboring district in Pampanga, walked with the former leader to the podium even if only Romualdez and Gonzales' family were already there.
Gonzales stood beside Arroyo as Romualdez administered the oath. Afterwards, Romualdez shook Arroyo's hand who appeared surprised as both Romualdez and Gonzales escorted Arroyo to the middle of the podium.
The plenary then broke into applause. Gonzales was seen trying to hug Arroyo before she left the stage.
This was the first time all three were together since Arroyo's sudden demotion last week, and after Arroyo issued a statement denying any coup plot against Romualdez.
Romualdez meanwhile issued a statement on Sunday to state that occasional moves to destabilize the House should be nipped in the bud.
Meanwhile, Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep, Jose Francisco "Kiko" Benitez threw the support of the Visayan Bloc of lawmakers behind Romualdez, the latest in a growing list of statements of support among power blocs in the 300 man chamber.
"Members of the Visayan Bloc express full support for Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, a distinguished son of the Visayas and who has always been a strong champion of development in the Visayas," Benitez said in a statement.
"Speaker Romualdez has been a paragon of public service, demonstrating effective leadership through competence, diligence and good will. We will continue to work with him to deliver on the President’s priority legislative agenda and uplift the lives of Filipinos," Benitez also said.
"We firmly believe that through unity, the House will deliver on the promise of full economic recovery from the pandemic, and sustainable development and inclusive economic growth," Benitez added.