NP to field GMA’s cabalen for speaker
By Ding Cervantes
The Philippine Star
MACABEBE, Pampanga, Philippines – A Pampanga congresswoman perceived to be an ally of President Arroyo is seriously eyeing the speakership of the 15th Congress, leading to a possible showdown with the outgoing president for the post.
Mrs. Arroyo’s “cabalen,” 4th district re-electionist Rep. Anna York Bondoc, said yesterday she plans to pursue the House speakership regardless of reports that the President is also interested in it.
Bondoc, of the Nacionalista Party (NP), is a granddaughter of the late former Senate president Gil Puyat and daughter of the late Rep. Emigdio Bondoc.
Mrs. Arroyo is running for Congress in the second district of this province and local voters say she is expected to win. NP standard-bearer Sen. Manny Villar was at the Bondoc family residence here last Sunday to attend the 41st birthday party of Bondoc’s elder brother Rimpy, who had served three terms as congressman in the fourth district.
She said Villar “took note” of her plans to seek the speakership.
“Anna, Rimpy and I are family. We would discuss and consider Anna’s plans. It would then be discussed by the members of the House but definitely the NP would field its candidate and we will see,” Villar said.
Bondoc made no reservations about her intentions regardless of reports that if Mrs. Arroyo wins a congressional seat, which in most likelihood she will, the outgoing president plans to seek the House speakership.
“The President and I are friends. We belong to different political parties. I am with NP and she is with the Lakas-Kampi-CMD. Besides, she (Arroyo) has not made any statement she would like to be speaker,” Bondoc said.
She stressed that she has always been independent from the dominant political party in the President’s home province. She ran under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in 2004, and then under the NP in 2007.
Bondoc said she was egged on by some sectors to seek the speakership, although she did not identify who they were.
“They are fed up with a Congress whose image is such that it does not fare well in surveys. It’s a Congress that has lost touch with the people,” she said.
Bondoc said she believed she is “eminently qualified” to become speaker as she could also represent the youth that comprise a majority of Filipinos.
During Mrs. Arroyo’s 63rd birthday Mass last April 5 in her Lubao hometown in this province, Lakas-Kampi-CMD chair Amelita Villarosa said the party, which includes no less than 100 members of the House of Representatives, will support no other candidate for speaker in the 15 Congress except the President.
This was confirmed by another Lakas-Kampi stalwart, Prospero Pichay, who said that the President’s speakership “is the most logical conclusion.”
Rimpy, on the other hand, was quoted by a local paper here as saying that Villar had vowed to consider his sister as speaker if he wins the presidency.