First Draft: Coalition Rumpus

Manuel L. Quezon III
4 min readMay 20, 2023


First Draft is for developing stories.

Quick notes on the latest Arroyo-related brouhaha.

The lay of the land for the ruling coalition’s interesting in that neither the prexy nor veep have pocket parties of consequence: the expected stampede was into a party in coalition, but not specifically led by the prexy.

Essentially, GMA has been credited with:

  1. being instrumental in the coalition that brought Duterte victory;

2. negotiating the 2022 tandem that accomplished first successful succession since 1992. The dilemma of the third wheel, politically.

Initially, she seemed frozen out in the division of the spoils; but she started becoming a fixture in the travels of the President (to wean her away from the veep? As a foil to the President’s elder sister and channel to veep? Simply to keep friends close, enemies closer?)

So the current brouhaha began with a terse statement: “It’s the prerogative of the House,” responding to news she was no longer Senior Deputy Speaker.

By that night, the terse statement had to be replaced with a longer one. Interestingly, she confirmed her aspiring for the Speakership in 2022, but disavowed it still being her ambition:, including mounting a coup vs Speaker Romualdez.

Majority Leader Rep. Dalipe tried to find a face-saving way out for all sides: it was to lighten GMA’s burden, he said. PDP-Laban, NP and the House minority all declared loyalty to Romualdez.

Then came breaking news the Veep’s ditched her co-affiliation (the other is to Hugpong) with Lakas: the Veep announced her resignation, giving no reasons. But then, around an hour later, a statement came:

Note: شكراً (in Arabic) or “Shukran” (in English) means “ Thank you “ The statement suggests disgust over the way Arroyo’s been treated and the “once demonstrated” part is quite pointed.

Around the time the Veep quit Lakas, SEn. Bong Revilla reiterated it was the core of the administration coalition and Romualdez’s leadership was solid.

Lakas-CMD has evolved over the years, and Arroyo herself has come and gone as a member. Just like the NP (NPC is a spin off), Lakas-NUCD had absorbed/been absorbed by Kampi and then NUP became a spin-off.

So question: as GMA herself tries to paper-over differences to maintain the appearance of harmony in the ruling coalition, is the Veep acting without thinking? Or is the assumption the president will be as helpless in determining the outcome of the Speakershop as Duterte was?

Note, the first few slides are from my recent presentation (this is the expanded version) which I gave at ANU in Canberra:

ANU PSC Seminar Presentation: Restoration is a hard act to follow: The Philippine Fifth Republic at the crossroads

Originally published at



Manuel L. Quezon III

Columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer. Editor-at-large Views strictly mine. I have a newsletter, blog, podcast, and Patreon.