Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo assumed her present position as well as the presidency in 2001 under “dramatic conditions” that she did not really relish.
Her “irregular” assumptions to the two posts made a natural magnet for black propaganda.
In a television interview early last week, Arroyo said she preferred to become President “under peaceful, uncontroversial [and] less dramatic conditions.”
However, she said People Power Revolt II or Edsa (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) Dos happened at the time when she was the vice president, and thus she was catapulted to power.
In the case of speakership, Arroyo was chosen by a great majority of her peers to replace her unpopular precedessor who at first resisted, resulting in a tumultuous session that caused the delay in the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Upon her assumption to the presidency, Arroyo was immediately barraged with black propaganda that put all her policies and projects under a bad light.
Arroyo’s travails were capped by her more than five years of detention at the behest of a vengeful president who was smarting at the loss of very large land holding that was distributed by the Arroyo administration to small farmers.
The official who filed most of the charges against her, former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, is now detained at the same detention facility where Arroyo was held for about five years.
In the television interview, Arroyo said she did not plan to enter politics but being the daughter of a former President (Diosdado Macapagal) it “seemed natural” that she wound up taking that path.
Prior to running for the Senate in 1992, Arroyo was the undersecretary of trade and industry and before that taught economics in several schools including the Alma Mater of her successor (who was her student) and the University of the Philippines where she obtained her doctorate in economics.
“It seemed natural that being an economist plus being the daughter of a former President, somewhere along the way, I would be drafted to join politics,” she said.
Arroyo won in 1992 but only for a three year term, forcing her to run for reelection in 1995. She topped the senatorial race in that election.
It was when she topped the senatorial race that she realized that she was a presidential timber.
However, she said she did not run to the presidency in the 1998 elections and instead ran for vice president under the banner of the ruling party at the time.
“At that time, if you’re going to have resources, you need to either have the support of the Ramos administration, or your own independent resources, or the support of the Catholic Church. Those were the big power brokers at that time.”
She said that in the 1998 elections, Arroyo said then Speaker Jose de Venecia was supported by President Fidel V. Ramos, while then Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim had the backing of the Catholic Church. The sitting vice president at the time, Joseph Estrada, had his own independent means.
Arroyo said De Venecia asked her to be his running mate when he was endorsed by Ramos for the presidency.
In the wake of Edsa Dos, Arroyo said she “accepted the challenge of becoming the country’s president amid the political and economic stability after the Estrada administration, which had been wracked by allegations of corruption and a lengthy impeachment trial at the Senate.”
She added that sectors that “tried to destabilize the economy and the country politically” pushed her to run again for president in 2004.
Arroyo served as president from 2001 to 2010. Upon stepping down from the presidency, she ran for Congress and won three consecutive times in her district.