Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo might stay in Congress after all. After making a "sacrifice" and giving way to his mother, Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who's running for his seat, he is now nominated as the representative of Ang Galing Pinoy, a party list group that seeks to represent security guards.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary-General Renato M. Reyes, Jr. said the nomination "marks a new low for the party-list system," as reported by ABS-CBN News. "He is the incumbent congressman of his district, a member of the dominant political party Lakas-Kampi, and the son of the incumbent president. By no stretch of the imagination can he be considered marginalized or fit to represent the marginalized which the party-list system was meant to serve."
Presidential candidate Benigno Aquino III told Inquirer.net, "Security guards can be called marginalized because they are abused through long working hours and low pay. But I don't know if it is right for Mikey to be their representative." Aquino added that Arroyo even had to deal with questions about his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).
Inquirer.net reports that Arroyo's net worth increased by more than 1,600 percent in seven years, from P5.7 million in 2001 to P99.2 million in 2008. In September 2009, Mikey Arroyo had to fend off the feisty Winnie Monsod, who grilled him about his alleged properties in California and his sudden income increase, in a live interview on Unang Hirit.
Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros said Arroyo's nomination is part of "the plan for the president to assume the speakership after her stint as president."
In a statement, vice presidential candidate Jejomar Binay said, "The plot is so clear–Mrs. Arroyo is trying to amass support in Congress by beefing up their numbers so that in case she decides to pursue Charter amendment anew, they will have the strength to make it happen."
Rep. Arroyo sees nothing wrong with the nomination. "I believe the party-list welcomes the investigation to clear the air in this issue. Furthermore, I also believe no party-list must be duly disadvantaged on the basis of their nomination, which is internal to them in the first place. I am sure the Ang Galing Pinoy party-list has passed the strict accreditation process of the Comelec. The choice of nominee is the sole prerogative of any party list."
The Comelec is still putting together the rules for party-list nominations, which may be questioned by petitioning. Rep. Teodoro Casiño of Bayan Muna said their group would file for Arroyo's disqualification on March 26 or March 29 after they get the complete list of nominees.
There are currently four Arroyos in Congress. If Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo, Camarine Sur Rep. Diosdado Arroyo (running for reelection), Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio Arroyo (running for reelection) and Kasangga Party List Rep. Ma. Lourdes Arroyo (Kasangga nomination remains to be seen), along with Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, play their cards right, there might just be a "House of Arroyos" in the next Congress.
Presidential spokesperson Ricardo Saludo said there's nothing wrong with this. "The Arroyo family, as far as we know, is not the only family that has multiple [members] in the legislature."