Gloria’s act is the latest in a string of betrayals
– Analysis by Raïssa Robles
A bewildered nation watched as Congresswoman Gloria Arroyo stripped Pantaleon “Panty” Alvarez of the speakership post.
“Panty”, apparently, did not see it coming until it was too late.
What took place reminds me of a prank that school boys play on each other—when one suddenly darts behind a classmate and pulls down his pants for everyone to see.
That was what Gloria did to Panty last Monday – with the help of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and Ilocos Sur Governor Imee Marcos.
Gloria was no “innocent bystander”, as her co-conspirator Congressman Danilo Suarez claims. In full view of the entire nation and Filipinos around the world, the diminutive Gloria pulled down Alvarez’s political pants, leaving his dignity lying on the session floor.
The stunt flabbergasted the nation. But reaction was mixed. Many said the arrogant, boorish Panty deserved it. Others groaned that Gloria was not an improvement over Panty.
Senator Grace Poe suddenly found her voice and warned that Arroyo could well do the same stunt to Duterte.
A long history of betrayals
Arroyo does have a long history of pulling down the pants of her political allies.
I recall SIX.
1. In the 1990s, the late Edgardo Angara, who was then Senate President, nurtured Gloria’s political career when she was a newbie senator. He showered her with pork barrel funds for patronage projects.
Because of this, Gloria Arroyo was able to plaster her smiling face all over Mindanao and in areas where she was little known.
There is a specific word that politicians use to describe this kind of relationship – “Minanok ni Angara si Arroyo.”
Angara, who had his eye on the presidency, was grooming Arroyo to be his vice-presidential running mate. But Arroyo wanted to be president, too, after topping the senatorial race.
She not only abandoned Angara, she decided to run against him. She then tapped Senator Vicente Sotto III to be her vice-presidential running mate. But when Sotto became embroiled in an illegal drug scandal – suspected drug lord Alfredo Tiongco was discovered to have funded Sotto’s book against illegal drugs – Arroyo dropped Sotto like a hot potato.
Later, though, the two reconciled and Arroyo appointed Sotto in 2008 as acting chair of the Dangerous Drugs Board. Sort of to help Sotto rehabilitate himself politically.
2. By a twist of fate, Joseph Estrada decided to run for president in 1998. Knowing she could not beat Estrada’s popularity, Arroyo decided to run instead for vice-president. She won.
Shortly after winning, she started meeting secretly with generals, even while accepting the Department of Social Welfare cabinet portfolio from Estrada. We know this because the generals and colonels themselves revealed it later.
The secret meetings started taking place way before the scandals involving President Estrada surfaced. The rest is history.
Her resignation from the Estrada cabinet was merely a matter of political timing.
3. When Estrada was chased out of the Palace, Arroyo became president. On December 30, 2002, coinciding with Rizal Day, Arroyo made the solemn promise to the entire Filipino nation not to run for president in 2004. She said she was making this sacrifice so “the divided nation could heal.”
Ten months later on October 4, 2003, she took back her promise and announced she was running. She packaged the broken vow as a big sacrifice for a quiet life on her part.
4. A month before that on July 27, 2003, junior military officers had occupied the posh Oakwood Premier hotel and demanded reforms. Gloria nearly resigned that day. However, former President Fidel Ramos came to her rescue and backed her politically. Ramos imposed conditions, though.
But according to Ramos’ sidekick general Jose Almonte in his memoir, although Gloria agreed to the conditions she never bothered fulfilling them. So much for that.
5. In 2010, Gloria fielded Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro for the presidency. At the last moment, according to sources in the Teodoro camp, Gloria abandoned Teodoro and shifted financial support to rival candidate Manuel Villar, who was more likely to win.
If it’s true, as some sources say, that after the elections Teodoro went on a drinking binge, then it’s little wonder.
6. And now we come to Panty. In March 2017, Panty stripped Gloria of the deputy speakership post for failing to back his death penalty bill.
Gloria stepped down without a peep. Seven months later in October 2017, a seemingly pliable Gloria abandoned her former ruling party Lakas-NUCD and joined PDP-Laban Party.
She took her oath of office before no less than Panty, secretary-general of PDP-Laban.
Little did Panty know that Gloria inside the party was more dangerous than outside. She was secretly making deals for the day she would replace Panty.
Today, we see Gloria, Sara and Imee making beso-beso and chika-chika.
What we have at the moment is a troika. History shows that troikas seldom last.
So good luck, Gloria, Mayor Sara and Gov Imee.
May the best woman win.
P.S. My hubby Alan was about to tweet the headline that I used for this blog post . I told him “sayang” (that would be a waste.) I want to use it for my post.
P.P.S. Sorry, I nearly forgot. I wrote about Gloria Arroyo which appeared in South China Morning Post today. It is entitled: