Arroyo: Lunch meeting with Sara Duterte, allies just a 'thank you'

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(Photo from the office of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 30) — House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, and their allies at the House of Representatives held a lunch meeting in a hotel in Quezon City Monday.

This comes a week after the sudden change in House leadership that ousted Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in favor of Arroyo.

It was just a "thank you lunch," Arroyo said.

She said there was no agenda in the event.

Negros Occidental Representative and PDP-Laban member Albee Benitez said Arroyo just told them, "Let's get back to work and support the President's legislative agenda."

He added those at the meeting agreed to maintain the satus quo.

"Isa sa mga napagusapan [One of the things discussed] is that all positions in the House will remain with their respective parties. So kung aalis sila, eh baka mawalan sila ng posisyon. Pero sa ngayon wala pa [So if they leave, they might lose their position. But for now, no one has left]," he said.

It was not clear who organized the event, but Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez, another Arroyo ally, said the presidential daughter was behind it.

"It's a thank you for supporting her in her appeal to support GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo). Yun lang talaga, wala nang iba [That's it, there's nothing more to it]," said Suarez.

Suarez added the Mayor convened the heads of national political parties and party list groups at another meeting.

He declined to say what the meeting was about, or whether it had something to do with plans of building a coalition for the 2019 midterm elections.

CNN Philippines tried to reach Mayor Duterte to comment on the affair, but she only said "no comment."