Arroyo, Sara Duterte meet for lunch

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 30 2018 01:19 PM | Updated as of Jul 30 2018 04:01 PM

MANILA - (UPDATED) House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio met for lunch on Monday, a week after the congresswoman secured the lower chamber's leadership in a move said to be backed by President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter. 

Both clad in red, the election campaign color of the President, Arroyo and Duterte-Carpio met at a hotel in Quezon City for lunch.

"It's a private, social gathering," Arroyo said of the meeting during a chance interview. 

"It was just a thank-you lunch," she said. 

House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said President Duterte's daughter hosted the event to thank the lawmakers who heeded her call to support Arroyo. 

"It was the mayor who hosted the event as a thank you for supporting her in her appeal to support GMA," he told reporters.

But Capiz Rep. Fred Castro said it was the House Speaker who hosted the event to give thanks to those who supported her, and Duterte-Carpio was just invited. 

"Ito ay luncheon na ibinigay ni Speaker Arroyo bilang pagtitipon at pagpapasalamat sa lahat ng sumuporta sa kanya. Naimbita lang si Mayor Sara," the lawmaker said. 

Also spotted at the event were Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, SAGIP Rep. Rodante Marcoleta and former Presidential Management Staff head Elena Bautista-Horn. 

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Rep. Alfredo Benitez said it was Mrs. Arroyo who presided over the lunch.

He said Mrs. Arroyo told those at the gathering: "Let's get back to work. Let's support the legislative agenda of the President." 

Benitez said he did not know about rumors that some PDP-Laban lawmakers would be switching political parties after last week's House coup. 

He said there was an agreement that all positions in the House "would remain with their respective parties." 

Arroyo, in a controversial July 23 House session, replaced Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, who had figured in a spat with Duterte-Carpio last February. 

The mayor had congratulated Arroyo for being elected House speaker, but kept mum on speculations that she supported the change in leadership. 

With report from RG Cruz and Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News