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Arroyo takes oath of office as Pampanga rep

(Updated 6:38 p.m.) Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday officially took her oath of office as representative of the second district of Pampanga, hours after she turned over the presidency to Benigno “Noynoy" Aquino III. Mrs. Arroyo was sworn in by Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando City, along with other local officials from the province. She first heard a Thanksgiving Mass, also held at the Bren Guiao Center, officiated by 15 priests led by Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto. The former president went straight to Pampanga on Wednesday morning after she was given final military honors as outgoing chief executive and commander-in-chief during Aquino’s inaugural ceremonies at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. Present during Mrs. Arroyo’s oath-taking were husband Jose Miguel “Mike" Arroyo, Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado "Dato" Arroyo, former Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza, former Press Secretary Crispulo Icban Jr., and former Armed Forces chief Gen. Delfin Bangit. Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte said Mrs. Arroyo will be treated equally like any other members of the House of Representative. Belmonte, who is being floated as the top contender for the speakership, said Mrs. Arroyo will not be given any committee chairmanship since she is a member of the minority bloc. "But she's free to join and become a member of vital committees," he added in an ambush interview at the mass oath-taking of Liberal Party members in Malacañang. Mrs. Arroyo made history as the first ever elected president of the country to successfully secure a lower post after she won by landslide in Pampanga's second legislative district during the May 10 polls. But she stands to face investigation by the Truth Commission headed by former chief justice Hilario Davie Jr. Aquino had tasked Davide to lead the "independent" body that will try to provide closure to unresolved controversies under the Arroyo administration. — Dreo Calonzo/KBK/RSJ, GMANews.TV