MANILA, Philippines - An ally of former President and now Pampanga congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is blaming the media for why the former president is deeply unpopular a year after stepping down from power.
Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said Arroyo had a falling out with a huge media sector including major broadsheets around 2004-2005. This was after Arroyo was accused of rigging the 2004 presidential election, which was revealed in the "Hello, Garci" wiretap tapes.
Suarez said Arroyo has been unappreciated by the public because of the vilification.
"I've worked with several presidents: (Ferdinand) Marcos, (Cory) Aquino, not that I didn't work [with them] but I'm fully aware of their performance when we had (Fidel) Ramos, Erap, we have Gloria, and then we have the incumbent President. The only President that can match the workaholic habit of a performing president is FVR, in terms of hard work, dedication and vision that can match the former President [Arroyo]. Here is a President who is, at 5 o'clock in the morning, gising na, papunta na sa kanyang mga provincial sorties. Nakita ninyo na ang growth rate natin for the last nine years is rosy," he said.
The lawmaker, who once claimed paying for a nearly P1 million dinner with Arroyo and other allies in Le Cirque restaurant in New York, said Arroyo's plight is a cautionary tale for future leaders.
"I think this is a clear warning to our potential political leaders not to mess with media. Make or break eh. Kawawa din naman yung nagtratrabaho ng tama," he said.
Suarez said some media groups had a vested interest against Arroyo.
"I'm just talking about owners of networks that have vested interest na kapag may hiningi ka at di mo pinagbigyan, kalaban ka na. Yun ang nangyari sa dating Pangulo. Mahirap kasi yung pag-gising mo sa umaga, pagbukas mo ng radio, pagtingin mo sa telebisyon at pagbasa mo ng diyaryo, masama ang isang tao eh. At talagang yun at yun ang maririnig mo for the remaining part of the year..."