Duterte taps Gloria Arroyo as adviser on Clark programs

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 26 2020 04:54 PM | Updated as of Nov 26 2020 09:13 PM

Former Philippine president and congresswoman Gloria Arroyo waves during the third session of the 17th Congress ahead of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's state of the nation address at Congress, in Manila on July 23, 2018. Noel Celis, AFP/File

MANILA (3rd UPDATE) — President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as his adviser for Clark in Pampanga, as the government hopes to turn the area into "the next premier metropolis," Malacañang said Thursday. 
Duterte tapped Arroyo, who had also served as House Speaker until June 2019, as Presidential Adviser on Clark Flagship Programs and Projects, "with compensation rate of One Peso (P1.00) per annum," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said. 

"Arroyo's wisdom and her vast experience as a former head of state and head of government, coupled with her great concern in her native Pampanga, would be valuable as she would assist the Administration in the planning and execution of programs and projects to turn Clark as the next premier metropolis of Asia," he said in a statement. 

The Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone is located in Pampanga, Arroyo's home province. 

 'Grateful' Arroyo takes her oath 

Arroyo, meanwhile, thanked Duterte for her appointment, and said the position is an “immense undertaking” as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In some photos sent to the press Thursday night, Arroyo could also be seen taking her oath before Pansol village captain Joseph Mahusay. 

“I am grateful to President Rodrigo Duterte for his trust in empowering me to provide advice on this economy-boosting initiative once more,” Arroyo said in a statement. 

With the help of the business sector, she added, the country could turn Clark into Asia’s economic powerhouse in the coming years. 

“In this time of pandemic and the worst global recession in nearly a century, the rapid harnessing of the Clark-Subic service logistics corridor for jobs, investment and inclusive development is indispensable for national recovery,” said Arroyo. 

Arroyo takes her oath before Pansol barangay captain Mahusay in these photos sent to the press Thursday night. Handout

Arroyo takes her oath before Pansol barangay captain Mahusay in these photos sent to the press Thursday night. Handout

Arroyo, 73, was Philippine president from 2001 until 2010. She was jailed in 2011 over accusations of stealing P366 million in state lottery funds meant for charity programs while she was in office.


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Arroyo was released from detention about a month after Duterte took presidency in 2016, following nearly 5 years in a military hospital after the Supreme Court dismissed her corruption charges. 

Last year, she thanked Duterte because he “provided the atmosphere in which the Court had the freedom to acquit me of trumped-up charges my successor and your predecessor filed against me.” 
The President's daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in 2018 was instrumental in ousting then House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who was replaced by Arroyo. 

Arroyo stepped down as speaker in June 2019, toward the end of her 3 terms as Pampanga lawmaker.

Arroyo was initially arrested on charges of electoral sabotage for allegedly conspiring with election officials to rig the 2007 senatorial polls. Because of her illness, the government allowed her to be detained in a military hospital.

She was granted bail for the vote-rigging case in July 2012 after the court -- while not dismissing the charge -- ruled evidence against her was weak.

But the corruption case against Arroyo was lodged the same year, keeping her in detention.

Despite being detained, Arroyo won a seat in the House of Representatives in three elections, serving in the chamber while being held in hospital.

- With a report from Agence France-Presse and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News