Minutes before President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address, a political tug-of-war for the speakership of the House of Representatives took place between Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The dramatic events, which delayed the speech for about an hour, unfolded on live television but without an audio feed — leaving many Filipinos confused as to what was happening.
Arroyo took her oath as Speaker of the House but it was Alvarez, a long-time ally and close personal friend of Duterte, who welcomed the chief executive into the Batasang Pambansa Complex.
It was supposedly adjourned that's why audio was off. And no reporters were allowed in. And bigla nalang in-oust si Alvarez and si GMA na Speaker? This sounds super sketchy as fuck, man. Can someone oust Ph as the new cast of GOT? Tama na pls. https://t.co/dBX0LXIqLF
— Shane Talapian (@supshanie) July 23, 2018
Tindig Pilipinas likened the unexpected move to that of “vultures squabbling over the decaying corpse of a damaged institution.”
They cited that it’s “nothing new” in the Philippine government and referred to it as a plunderer “taking over” from another plunderer.
Both Arroyo and Alvarez have faced plunder charges before.
Tindig Pilipinas Statement on the Ascension of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as House Speaker: "Vultures squabbling over the decaying corpse of a damaged institution. Nothing new here. A plunderer takes over from another plunderer." @bworldph #SONA2018
— rj_BW (@rj_72521) July 23, 2018
Edwin Lacierda, the former presidential spokesperson of ex-President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, said that Alvarez’s ousting was a matter of how much Duterte’s allies crave “power.”
For the record, WE HAD NOTHING TO DO with the removal of Speaker Bebot Alvarez & the ascension of GMA. This is all them, this is all about Power. Greed. Avarice. #SONALokoNa
— Edwin Lacierda (@dawende) July 23, 2018
Division not caused by opposition
The Liberal Party’s official Twitter account observed that the division among government officials are not caused by opposition members.
It said that the division stems from Duterte’s supposed allies. The tweet was later deleted.
The Liberal Party and its supporters have long been accused of causing division within government officials who are mostly members of the PDP-Laban party.
Previously, Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV revealed that the opposition has already “consolidated” and “united” its ranks as a stronger force.
In a revelation to Reddit, he said, “Unknown to the public, the opposition has consolidated and united its ranks (for) the past few months. This new united opposition is led by Vice President Leni Robredo.”
Robredo has already declared her willingness to be the new face of the united opposition.