Press Release
April 11, 2010

Villar: No to Arroyo speakership

Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar vowed to field his own candidate for Speaker of the 15th session of the 268-member House of Representatives to fight President Arroyo should she make good her bid for speakership.

In an interview on DZMM Saturday, Villar said he owes nothing to Mrs. Arroyo, stressing that he has not been on speaking terms with her since his ouster as Senate President in 2008 by her allies in the chamber.

"Ang sa akin, nililiwanag ko lang na [kami] naman ay maglalagay ng isang kandidato [sa] pagka-Speaker. Hindi naman kami nag-uusap ng Pangulo. Wala naman akong utang na loob sa kanya, at hindi naman kami nag-uusap na maging Speaker siya," Villar said.

Arroyo is the first outgoing Philippine president to run for a lower house seat following a supposed "clamor" by her provincemates to pursue public service.

But critics said she was after the immunity amid threats from her political foes to send her to jail after stepping down.

Villar's stand on the speakership issue echoed NP's vow to oppose any move to install Arroyo as House Speaker if she wins a congressional seat in her home province Pampanga this coming election.

The NP has maintained that the Philippines has "seen more than enough of Mrs. Arroyo, and if we can't stop her from winning a seat in Congress, then we vow to put up a good fight to stop her from taking the speakership."

The party said Arroyo's two terms as President had been rocked by numerous corruption scandals and that extending her reign in government even as Speaker of the House raises fears of more controversies to follow.

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