Arroyo signifies support as Gonzales takes oath as senior deputy speaker

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 22) — Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo accompanied fellow Pampanga lawmaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. on the rostrum of the House of Representatives for his oath-taking on Monday, officially succeeding her as Senior Deputy Speaker.

They were seen walking alongside each other before Arroyo joined Gonzales' family as he takes his oath before House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

Ahead of the oath-taking, Romualdez bowed and placed Arroyo's hand on his forehead -- a Filipino gesture of respect -- breaking the tension building up in the chamber over the past few days.

Gonzales joined Romualdez and performed the traditional mano gesture to Arroyo, causing many lawmakers in the session haul to applaud.

After Gonzales was sworn in, the House speaker took Arroyo's hand to take her to the center of the rostrum. Romualdez, Gonzales, and Arroyo held hands for a moment while others clapped their hands.

News of an alleged coup surfaced when Gonzales was elected to replace Arroyo as senior deputy speaker during the session on May 17. Arroyo was named deputy speaker.

The Pampanga 2nd District representative has denied reports linking her to an alleged ouster plot against Romualdez, saying she has seen the "wisdom" in having President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s cousin as the leader of the house.

Arroyo admitted initially eyeing the speakership when Marcos won the presidency. She recently said she no longer aspires for the position.

Romualdez spoke up on Sunday, saying “[t]here is still much work to do, so occasional moves to destabilize the House should be nipped in the bud.”

Two days after Gonzales was named, Vice President Sara Duterte resigned as a member of Romualdez and Arroyo's party, the Lakas-CMD.

CNN Philippines' correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this story.