Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s taking over as Speaker of the House during the State of the Nation Address surprised the country but also amused many Filipinos who turned the muted events into viral memes.
Arroyo was elected by a landslide majority of 184 lawmakers with 12 abstentions. The events unfolded on live television but without an audio feed.
Filipinos were quick to turn the never-before-seen political drama into witty memes on social media.
Some took the time to turn it into a parody video that featured an iconic scene from popular Taiwanese show Meteor Garden.
One Twitter noted her similarities to Dolores Umbridge, a much-hated fictional character from the Harry Potter series.
— lsmr jr. (@lsmrmpgjr) July 23, 2018
Beyond humor, there are Filipinos who urged others to remember of the Pampanga representative’s cheating and corruption scandals during her presidency.
ang bilis makalimot ng Pilipinas??????? Wag niyong sabihing hindi pa tayo buhay nung panahon ni GMA kasi buhay na buhay na tayo nun.
para hindi matoxican yung locals humugot tayo:
Pilipinas yung tropa mong minaltrato ng ex tapos sa isang linggo magkakabalikan nanaman sila
— MARIANG MAKLINGI (@RizalNaWalangL) July 23, 2018
Arroyo’s new role as the leader of the Lower House marked a big change in her political career.
The reputation of former president Diosdado Macapagal’s daughter went downhill when the “Hello, Garci” scandal blew up in 2005, and then she was detained for four years on plunder charges in 2011.
A divided house
The leadership standoff in the House lasted for more than an hour delaying his much-anticipated third address.
Rumors on the ouster of Pantaleon Alvarez had circulated seven months before due to his unpopularity in pushing for a no-elections in 2019 and his tiff with presidential daughter and Davao City Vice Mayor Sara Duterte.
Alvarez, a long-time ally and close personal friend of Duterte, refused to yield the seat and even welcomed the president when he arrived into the Batansang Pambansa Complex despite Arroyo taking her oath as Speaker.
Both Arroyo and Alvarez belong to the administration’s PDP-Laban party. —Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos