Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s power and influence remain undiminished almost a decade after having left Malacañang and despite being put under four years of hospital detention. With Rodrigo Duterte at the helm, she was promptly released from detention allowing her to assume her seat in the higher echelons of state power.
For two years now, Arroyo has been a reliable Duterte ally. Claiming the House speakership was only a matter of time.
With the support of Imelda Marcos, and endorsement by Duterte’s daughter Sara, Arroyo installed herself as Speaker with relative ease. In doing so, she has helped consolidate the Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance.
With Arroyo, Duterte sees better prospects for the charter change scheme under the pretext of pushing for the federal form of government. They have shared interests in the scheme as these would allow them to perpetuate themselves in power, jointly or otherwise.
All the Queen’s menFor Arroyo, coming back to the center of the political arena was not a difficult endeavor. After all, most of Arroyo’s minions and allies remain in positions of power, making it easy for her to maintain considerable influence in all three branches of the reactionary government.
The overwhelming votes for Arroyo’s speakership speaks volumes of her dominance in the Lower House. She garnered 187 votes or 67% of congressmen in attendance. As Speaker, Arroyo can use the pork barrel system to further extend her influence in the lower house.
Arroyo also appointed during her term as president six out of 15 current justices of the Supreme Court (SC), including Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, and Justice Lucas Bersamin, who the SC en banc recently nominated as the next chief justice. Even Samuel Martires, who Duterte recently appointed as ombudsman, was also appointed by Arroyo as Sandiganbayan associate justice in 2005.
In Duterte’s own cabinet, a number of secretaries have once served under Arroyo, including:
With Arroyo back in power – with the help of the Marcoses and the Dutertes – an unholy alliance of plunderers and fascists has been formed. Right now, this alliance is persevering to pass the regime’s priority bills, especially the draft Federal Constitution, which will enable them to consolidate and extend power.
Arroyo is all too familiar with this move, as during her term, her regime attempted to push for constitutional reforms several times. In 2005, she issued Executive Order 453 which created the consultative commission to revise the 1987 Constitution. However, despite the recommendations of the said commission, Arroyo decided to push only for one amendment – to change the presidential form of government with a