MANILA - A Philippine politician has stunned his girlfriend and won new fans with a nationally televised wedding proposal in congress.
Francisco Ashley Acedillo, 36, got down on bended knee during a break in an otherwise dry budget debate at the House of Representatives on Friday last week.
"It just struck me like lightning," Acedillo told AFP on Tuesday, referring to his inspiration to make the very public proposal to his girlfriend of three years, Maria Paz Ocampo.
"In the grand tradition of marriage proposals, guys tend to pull out all the stops when they pop the question, it was no different in my case."
Acedillo said he lured Ocampo, 28, to congress with a white lie - saying he was about to deliver an important speech on the budget and needed moral support.
"I took the floor, knelt down on one knee and looking at her, I asked, will you do me the honour by being my wife?," he said.
"She was taken by surprise and didn't know what was happening at first. But of course, she said yes."
Some colleagues who knew of the plan then gave the stunned woman flowers. And television crew who were covering the budget debates instantly had a feel-good story that made primetime news.
Acedillo's proposal has made him some fans, with one calling him a "romantico gentleman" on his Facebook page.
Acedillo said he was initially unsure of parliamentary protocol, but the house leadership gave him permission and told him it was the first wedding proposal ever in congress.
Acedillo was a former air force lieutenant who was among 300 soldiers and junior officers jailed for a failed 2003 mutiny sparked by allegations of corruption in the government of then-president Gloria Arroyo.
Following court marital proceedings they were freed in 2008, and some of them subsequently became politicians.
"Our wedding will be next year, and nothing can stop me from marrying Maria Paz, not even a coup," he said.