MANILA -- Former President Joseph Estrada and ex-defense chief Gilbert Teodoro gave their respective stands on the looming plan to make outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the first woman speaker if she gets elected in the House of Representatives in May.

The standard bearer of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) said the Filipinos cannot accept Arroyo as the Speaker come 15th Congress because of governance failure and for being deeply unpopular.

“Let’s stop the suffering of the Filipinos. Under her rule, there were 10 million Filipinos who are hungry; we were the most corrupt country in Asia as reported by the Transparency International. The Reporters without Borders said the Philippines is the most dangerous place for journalists, among others,” Estrada said in a radio interview.

“Not anymore please. In fact, she (President Arroyo) was the luckiest president ever, having served for nine years despite the constitutional limit of only six years. Whatever happens, she should not be the next Speaker,” Estrada added.

In December 1 last year, Arroyo became the first Philippine president to run for a lower house seat after stepping down. Barred by the Constitution from seeking a second term, Arroyo filed her candidacy to represent the second district of Pampanga, currently occupied by her eldest child Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo.

Teodoro, Lakas-Kampi-CMD bet, in a separate interview over the weekend said that a “consensus” among party members should be mustered before endorsing any candidate for speakership.

“Just like the process when I was named standard-bearer, it followed a one-person, one vote scheme. The party needs to discuss the issue thoroughly and it should be the majority who will decide the party’s bet for speakership,” Teodoro said, adding that there is no formal talk yet about the reported speakership bid of Arroyo.

Earlier, survey front-runner and Liberal Party bet Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino chided Arroyo’s allies in the House after floating the scenario of having the numbers to install her as the next House speaker.

The ruling party had fielded 170 candidates for the Lower House in the May elections, or roughly 74 percent of the more than 230 available House seats. The party had also fielded 64 candidates for governor or 80 percent of the 86 gubernatorial seats. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)