MANILA -- Former President and now House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may help in improving the Philippines’ relations with the United States, if former American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wins the US presidential race, a political analyst said Sunday.
Political science professor Ramon Casiple pointed out that Arroyo has formed a close friendship with Clinton through her husband, former President Bill Clinton, Arroyo’s classmate at Georgetown University.
“Mahalaga rin ‘yun na informally kasi you came from the same school, magkakilala na kayo, may pinag-usapan na kayo dati, pareho kayo mag-isip,” Casiple said. “Si Hillary Clinton, of course, may trust na kay GMA ‘yan dahil kaklase n’ya ang asawa niya, at of course personal sila ng magkaibigan.”
[It is important that you came from the same school because you already know each, you have had previous dialogues, you have the same mindset. Hillary Clinton, of course, trusts GMA because she was a classmate of Clinton’s husband, and they’re also friends.]
Ties between Manila and its only treaty ally, Washington, have soured after incumbent US President Barack Obama raised concerns over the extrajudicial bloodbath in the Philippines’ war on drugs, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to unleash a string of anti-American remarks, which led last week to an announcement of his “separation” from the US.
Casiple said Arroyo’s personal ties with Clintons and their supposed trust in the lawmaker can be used to improve chilling ties between the US and Philippines.
“May pwedeng bridge sa communication. ‘Yun ang isang maganda diyan, the message will be clear on both sides,” he added. [There is a potential bridge of communication now. That is one of the advantages there, the message will be clear on both sides.]
Arroyo and Mr. Clinton have maintained communication after their stay at Georgetown University in the 1960s. The American leader had invited Arroyo to speak at his Clinton Global Initiative meetings, and has also written a letter to the lawmaker when she was still under hospital arrest.
When Mrs. Clinton went on an official visit to Manila in 2009, then President Arroyo gave her the Sikatuna award, a recognition given to individuals who have strengthened relations between their country and the Philippines.
Americans will choose their new president between democratic presidential nominee Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on November 8.