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Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo [GMA]

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines from 2001-2009. She was elected President on May 10, 2004 with 12,905,808 votes (39.99% of the electorate). She was affiliated with Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, Lakas-Christian-Muslim Democrats, and Lakas-Kampi CMD political parties.

Arroyo was a deeply unpopular leader who has survived two impeachments and several coup attempts. But she survives in office because there is no one to replace her. Ms. Arroyo's nine-year administration was marred by graft scandals. There have been allegations of vote-rigging, on the part of Ms. Arroyo. She is suspected of being the voice in a telephone recording of a woman appearing to press an election official into ensuring the 2004 vote count remained in her favor.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was born April 5, 1947 in San Juan, Manila. She is the daughter of the late President Diosdado Macapagal, a descendant of Lakandula and fondly known as the "poor boy from Lubao" in the province of Pampanga; and Dr. Evangelina Macaraeg-Macapagal of Binalonan, Pangasinan. The couple were well known for their integrity and simple but dignified lifestyle. During t2he Presidency of Diosdado Macapagal, the Philippines was second only to Japan in economic progress in Asia.

Gloria upheld the high academic standards of her parents, graduating valedictorian of her high school class in Assumption Convent (presently Assumption College) (1964). She was consistently on the Dean's List during her two-year college stint at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where former US President Bill Clinton became her classmate.

After studies in International Trade, Georgetown University (1964 – 1966) she took a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude Major in Economics, Assumption College (1968). She graduated from Assumption College with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce. She later earned a Master of Arts degree in Economics from the Ateneo de Manila University (1978), and a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of the Philippines (1985).

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo began her professional career as an Economics Professor, she was Academe Professor, Assumption College (c.1977-1987), Assistant Professor, Ateneo de Manila University (c.1977-1987), and Senior Lecturer / Professor, University of the Philippines at the UP School of Economics (c.1977-1987).

Macapagal-Arroyo entered government service as an Assistant Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry during the Aquino Administration in 1987. She also became Executive Director of the Garments and Textile Export Board, steering the garments industry to become the top net dollar earner for the country, and rose to the rank of Undersecretary of Trade and Industry. During her tenure in the Senate, she authored 55 laws on economic and social reform and was named outstanding Senator several times.

Elected as Senator during her first try in politics in 1992, she was re-elected Senator in 1995 with nearly 16 million votes, the highest number of votes in Philippine history at that time.

She was elected Vice President of the Philippines in 1998 with almost 13 million votes, the largest mandate in the history of presidential or vice presidential elections. When she was elected Vice President, President Joseph Estrada appointed her as concurrent Secretary of Social Welfare and Development, a post she held until her resignation from the Cabinet on 12 October 2000.

She was sworn in as the 14th President of the Philippines on 20 January 2001 by Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. after the Supreme Court unanimously declared the position of President vacant, the second woman to be swept into the Presidency by a peaceful People Power revolution (EDSA II). Mutinous soldiers made themselves look ridiculous by repeating old, failed, battle plans. And the idea of driving the President from office by taking over a hotel, which had not worked in 2003, is now "only pathetic." The editorial comment in the Philippine Daily Inquirer summed up reactions to the failed coup attempt on 29 November 2007 - a mysterious day even by Manila standards. A handful of soldiers on trial for a failed 2003 coup attempt walked out of a court hearing and took over the Peninsula Hotel, calling for the removal of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. After security forces surrounded the building and threw in some tear gas, the would-be coup-makers decided to call it a day and came out peacefully. She was the first person to hold elective office in the country after finishing her term as President, having won with an overwhelming majority as Representative of the second district of Pampanga in 2010, a position held previously by her father Diosdado and her son Mikey.

President Macapagal-Arroyo is married to lawyer-businessman Jose Miguel Tuason Arroyo of Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, the grandson of the late Senator Jose Ma. Arroyo of Iloilo. Their children are Juan Miguel M. Arroyo, Evangelina Lourdes Arroyo-Bernas, and Diosdado Ignacio Jose Maria M. Arroyo.

In January 2011, President Aquino ordered the Department of Justice to investigate allegations of corruption within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (“AFP”) after retired Philippine Army Colonel George Rabusa testified in a Senate hearing that various AFP chiefs of staff had embezzled millions of pesos during their respective tenures. Colonel Rabusa specifically alleged that Angelo Reyes, former Chief of Staff of the AFP under former President Arroyo, illegally received (Peso)50 million as a “retirement gift” when he retired in 2001.

These allegations followed earlier reports of military officials embezzling portions of soldiers’ salaries and a mutiny by a group of junior military officers in 2003 over alleged corruption in the AFP. Reyes committed suicide on February 8, 2011. On April 14, 2011, Colonel Rabusa filed complaints for plunder against three previous AFP chiefs of staff. On January 5, 2012, the Department of Justice indorsed the case against two of the three accused former AFP chiefs of staff to the Ombudsman for review and approval. These complaints remain pending.

On November 18, 2011, former President Arroyo was arrested on charges of electoral sabotage related to the 2007 Senate elections. At the time of her arrest, Mrs. Arroyo had been admitted to a hospital, claiming a rare bone disease. On November 15, 2011, Mrs. Arroyo attempted to leave the Philippines to receive medical treatment abroad, citing the Supreme Court of the Philippines’ decision granting her the right to leave the country. However, Government officials, on the strength of a watch list order, prevented her from departing. An arrest warrant was issued on November 18, 2011 by a lower court after the Philippine Commission on Elections filed charges alleging Mrs. Arroyo had ordered large-scale tampering with official election returns in the 2007 Senate elections, which helped win a seat in the Senate for one of her supporters.

The Government’s case against Mrs. Arroyo for alleged electoral sabotage remained pending before the lower court. On July 16, 2012, Mrs. Arroyo was also charged with plunder by the Office of the Ombudsman for the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds while serving as President. Mrs. Arroyo, who was released on bail on July 25, 2012, remains a member of the House of Representatives despite the charges pending against her.

On December 12, 2011, the House of Representatives impeached Renato Corona, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. The impeachment followed a series of decisions by the Supreme Court that hindered the Government’s efforts to prevent former President Arroyo from leaving the Philippines for medical care. The impeachment complaint accused Mr. Corona of, among other charges, improperly issuing decisions that favored Mrs. Arroyo, including the decision to allow Mrs. Arroyo to leave the Philippines.

The complaint also accused Mr. Corona of failing to disclose all of his properties, in violation of the rules applicable to all public officers requiring the declaration of their assets, liabilities and net worth. On May 29, 2012, the Senate voted to convict Mr. Corona. On August 24, 2012, President Aquino appointed Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno as the new Chief Justice. Chief Justice Sereno is the first woman appointed to the position and can hold office for 18 years until she reaches the retirement age of 70.

The Philippines conducted two major nationwide elections in 2013: the May 13 midterm elections for both house of congress, provincial governors, and local government officials, and the October 28 elections of members of village councils. International and national observers viewed the elections as generally free and fair, but reported that instances of vote buying were widespread and dynastic political families continued to monopolize elective offices at the national and local level. Election related violence persisted in both elections.

Arroyo faced plunder charges over the alleged misuse during her term as president of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds amounting to P366 million. Arroyo was represented at the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention by renowned human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, wife of US actor George Clooney. “The UN opinion finds that the detention of former President Arroyo was arbitrary and illegal under international law because the Sandiganbayan court failed to take into account her individual circumstances when it repeatedly denied her bail,” said Clooney’s email which was furnished to the media October 8th, 2015. With an ongoing process in Philippine courts, neither the government nor any international body could interfere with the proceedings Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on 09 October 2015.

On July 19, 2016 the Philippine Supreme Court dismissed an official charge of corruption against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and ordered her immediate release from custody. Court spokesman Theodore Te announced on national television that the justices voted 11-4 to dismiss the charge of plunder, or theft, due to lack of evidence. Arroyo was arrested and charged in 2011 for the alleged misuse of $7.8 million of the country's charity sweepstakes fund. She was earlier charged with electoral fraud. The 69-year-old Arroyo, who served as president of the Pacific archipelago from 2001 to 2010, remained a popular figure in the Philippines. She was re-elected to Congress in May 2016, despite being under hospital detention for a neck ailment.

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Page last modified: 21-07-2016 18:46:33 ZULU