Arroyo denies coup plot vs. Speaker Romualdez

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 19) — Former president and incumbent Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo denied reports linking her to an alleged ouster plot against House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

In a statement released Thursday, Arroyo refuted the allegations and affirmed her support for Romualdez, saying she no longer aspires for the speakership.

"When I learned that there were reports that I was suspected of plotting a 'coup' against Speaker Romualdez, I decided I must speak out to clarify my political position," she said.

"Indeed, some of my actions may have been misconstrued, such as my recent trip with a delegation of congressmen to Korea for some official meeting," she added.

Although Arroyo admitted that she eyed the speakership when Marcos won the presidency, she said she realized the "wisdom" in having Romualdez as speaker instead.

"When President Marcos won, I wanted to aspire for the Speakership of the House," she pointed out. "But it soon became apparent that he was most comfortable with then Congressman Martin Romualdez as Speaker. I quickly realized the wisdom embedded in that sentiment."

In a recent House session, Arroyo was replaced as senior deputy speaker by Dong Gonzales, a fellow lawmaker from Pampanga.

Arroyo initially said the move was a "prerogative of the House."

Majority Floor Leader and Zamboanga 2nd District Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe earlier said the move was meant to ease the lawmaker of her many responsibilities.