MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino has surpassed his former economics professor, Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in managing the country's economy, a Palace official said Saturday.
This, after the former President's camp praised her successor for the strong growth in the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
"This is a classic case of the student already surpassing the teacher," deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on state-owned Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.
The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) on Wednesday upgraded the Philippines' third-quarter GDP.
The agency said the country's economy grew by 7.2% in the three months to September, slightly higher than the initial estimate of 7.1% announced in November.
On Friday, Arroyo's spokesperson Maria Elena Bautista-Horn said "President Aquino is to be commended for the latest GDP growth rate."
"It is welcome news. He is on track restoring the growth of 7.9% where it was before the first half of 2010. [Arroyo] will support his policies that will translate such policies to poverty alleviation," Bautista-Horn added.
Valte said Aquino has done more because the 7.9% GDP growth achieved in 2010 was made during an election year.
"Historically, if you look at all the data, kapag election year, mataas po talaga ang growth, mataas po talaga ang GDP. Bakit po? Because of election spending, and ask any economist, they'll tell you the same thing," she said.
"Simulan po natin 'yung figures from 1988, election year po 'yan, 6.8 (percent); noong 2004, ano po 'yung GDP? 6.7 (percent); noong 2007, also, another election year, 6.6 (percent) po 'yan tapos, noong 2010, of course, another election year, 7.6 (percent). But if you take out all the election years doon po, when you look at the GDP, if you exclude all the election years, 'yung 6.6 (percent) po natin for 2012 is the fastest growth (that) the Philippine economy has seen in the past 30 years, surpassing all the past presidents, beginning from the former President Cory Aquino," Valte said.
"So, again, classic case of the student already surpassing the teacher," she reiterated.
Arroyo's camp, while praising Aquino, also took a potshot at the current administration's campaign against corruption.
"The campaign against corruption must uphold the rule of law, due process and the independence of the judiciary. Even former President Arroyo fought corruption through available legal remedies including the passage of legislation," Bautista-Horn said. "But she followed the rule of law, due process, and the independence of the judiciary by respecting and implementing all court decisions, studiously avoiding any interference or comment on judicial proceedings and rulings."
Valte, in response, said the Aquino administration abides by the rule of law.
"The anti-corruption fight of the President has always been within the bounds of the rule of law with respect to other institutions, which is why it translates into good governance, and good governance translates to good economics," she said.