Arroyo loyalists form new group in Congress

Allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo continue to struggle to remain a significant force in the House of Representatives.

This, as Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez announced he will be leading a new group in the Lower Congress that is totally independent from the minority bloc.

“We did not vote (for) the Speaker and the Minority Leader, it means we are independent… We are the minority/independent,” Romualdez said.

The nephew of former First Lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos made the pronouncement after losing in the election for House Speaker on Monday morning.

Romualdez garnered only 16 votes in the speakership race, even losing to returning San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, who has been named the new House minority leader after collecting 19 votes.

The election took place before President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 22.

“But while we are separate from the minority, we shall be in close collaboration with one another,” Romualdez clarified.

In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Romualdez vowed to work with Zamora’s particularly in scrutinizing Malacanang’s proposal for a P2.2-trillion national budget for next year.

He jsaid thee xistenec of two minority blocs would ensure checks and balances in the government of President Aquino.

“Without separating ourselves, our first step is we will try to sit together where we can share ideas and see if we have similar priorities and concerns with the other opposition group,” Romualdez said.

“Then we shall work together, if not, we can beg to differ and pursue our end,” he added.

There had been reports that Zamora rejected the inclusion of Arroyo’s allies due to the strong opposition coming from party-list lawmakers.

But Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan denied any links to the exclusion of Arroyo’s group in the minority bloc.

“How can we reject them if they have not applied? They did not signify intention to join us (in the minority). The group of GMA (Arroyo) has not formally informed us about joining,” Ilagan said.

The veteran lawmaker, however, admitted that working with Arroyo loyalists would be very difficult for them.

Romualdez, who also serves as the president of Arroyo’s Lakas Christian-Muslim Democrats (CMD) political party, said he already informed Zamora about their decision to create a new group.

Aside from himself, those who voted for Romualdez include:

Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos
La Union Rep. Victor Ortega
Bulacan Rep. Gavini Pancho
Cavite Rep. Luis Ferrer
Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla
Quezon Rep. Aleta Suarez
Camarines Sur Rep. Dato Arroyo
Negros Occidental Rep. Leo Rafael Cueva
Masbate Rep. Maria Vida Bravo
Surigao del Sur  Rep. Philip Pichay
Bukidnon rep. Florencio Flores
Lanao del Norte Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo
Lanao del Norte Rep. Imelda Dimaporo
Buhay party-list. Jose Atienza
Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz
 
Zamora’s allies who voted for him were:

Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano
Isabela Rep. Anna Cristina Go
Aurora Rep. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo
Taguig City Rep. Lino Cayetano
Bukidnon Rep. Florencio Flores
Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Seth Jalosjos
North Cotabato Rep. Jose Tejada
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmerenciana De Jesus
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan
Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio
Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap
Kabataan party-list rep. Terry Ridon
LPGMA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty
Yacap party-list Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez
1-BAP partylist  Rep. Silvestre Bello
Ang Nars Rep. Lea Paquiz

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

It's getting increasingly tough for bowlers: Ajmal

It's getting increasingly tough for bowlers: Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Moores set for England recall

Moores set for England recall

The 51-year-old will succeed Andy Flower, who stepped down after five years in charge following the 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia in January. More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »