Maria Gloria Macaraeg Macapagal-Arroyo (born April 5, 1947) is the 14th President of the Philippines|President of the Philippines and the current representative of the second district of Pampanga. She is the second female president of the Philippines, after President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino; and the first female vice-president of the country.
Prior to her ascendancy as president in 2001, Arroyo served in government as vice president, senator, and a Cabinet secretary, undersecretary, and assistant secretary. An economist by training, she was also a professor of economics in leading Philippine tertiary educational institutions.
Arroyo's political standing since 2001 has been marked by triumphs, setbacks, and controversies. She was seen as the unifying figure in the Philippines after EDSA II and the one given credit for the country's modest economic growth from 2001 onwards. Internationally, she has been a consistent choice in Forbes Magazine's list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women, ranking number 4 and 45 in 2005 and 2006, respectively. However, President Arroyo has also been continuously hounded by questions regarding her political legitimacy, threats of impeachment, military adventurism, and a fragile peace and order situation.
Arroyo was born in San Juan and her parents were former President Diosdado Pangan Macapagal, the 9th president of the Philippines; and Evangelina Macaraeg Macapagal, a medical doctor. Although born in San Juan, Arroyo also spent her formative years in Iligan City as she lived—though intermittently—with her maternal grandmother, Irinea de la Cruz Macaraeg, until the age of 11. In 1961, she moved with her family to Malacañang Palace as her father was elected president of the Philippines.
Arroyo was married to lawyer Jose Miguel Tuason Arroyo on August 2, 1968. The Arroyos have three children; Juan Miguel, more popularly known as Mikey; Evangelina Lourdes or Luli; and Diosdado Ignacio or Dato. Except for Luli, the Arroyo brothers engaged in politics. Mikey is the congressional representative of the 2nd district of Pampanga while Dato was the congressional representative of the 1st district of Camarines Sur.
Arroyo went to the Assumption Convent from 1954 to 1960 for her primary education; and from 1960 to 1964 for her secondary education where she was the class valedictorian of the graduating class. In 1964, she was sent to the United States to study at the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service. She returned to the Philippines after two years and continued her studies at the Assumption College where she earned a BA in economics, graduating magna cum laude in 1968. Arroyo also earned an MA from the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) in 1978 and a PhD from the University of the Philippines (UP) School of Economics in 1985.
Academician and technocrat
Before entering government service and politics, Arroyo was first and foremost an educator. From 1977 to 1987, she was an assistant professor of economics at the UP School of Economics and the Ateneo. She also taught at Maryknoll College (now Miriam College), St. Scholastica's College, and the Assumption College. From 1984 to 1987, Arroyo also served as chairperson of the economics department of the Assumption College.
In 1987, she was among the new batch of technocrats and specialists invited by President Corazon Aquino|Aquino's administration to join government service and reorganize the bureaucracy. From 1987 to 1989, Arroyo served as assistant secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). In a concurrent capacity, she was also the executive director of the Garment and Textile Export Board from 1988 to 1990. In 1989, she was promoted as undersecretary of the DTI, serving in that capacity until 1992.
With her long experience as an educator, a fruitful stint in government, and public service running in her lineage, Arroyo's next natural and logical path was politics. In 1992, her political career was launched when she was named as one of the senatorial candidates of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP). Arroyo placed 13th in the senatorial elections and served from 1992 to 1995. Only the first 12 senators in the said elections earned a six-year term. She ran for reelection in 1995 and surprised the Philippine political landscape when she topped the senatorial elections that year. In the history of Philippine elections, her 16 million votes was the biggest number of votes ever garnered by any candidate in any national position.
From 1992 to 1998, Arroyo distinguished herself in the Senate with the quantity and quality of her legislative work and output. She is credited to have filed more than 400 Senate bills and resolutions and authored and/or coauthored 55 bills that were enacted into laws. She gave attention to legislations pertaining to women empowerment and social development. But it was in her economic legislation that she was particularly lauded. Being an economist, she pursued the enactment of laws that would address the emerging economic challenges faced by the Philippines during the 1990s.
The following are some of the laws attributed to President Arroyo during her six years as a senator:
- RA 7844 – The Export Development Act
- RA 7718 – The Amended Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law
- RA 7721 – Bank Entry Liberalization Law
- RA 7916 – Creating the Philippine Economic Zone Authority
- RA 7900 – Promoting the production, processing, marketing and distribution of high-value crops
- RA 7942 – Instituting a new system of mineral resources exploration, development, utilization and conservation
Social Development and Women Empowerment Legislations
- RA 7877 – The Anti-Sexual Harassment Act
- RA 7637 – Creating the Mt. Pinatubo Assistance, Resettlement and Development Commission
- RA 7657 – Appropriating 10 Billion Pesos for the victims of Mt. Pinatubo eruption
- RA 7833 – Tax Exemption of 13th Month Pay
- RA 7882 – Loans for Women's Microenterprises
With her popularity and record in the Senate as basis, Arroyo tested the political climate and made an early bid for the 1998 presidential elections under her own political party, the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi). However, it was then Vice President Joseph Ejercito Estrada who was the leading contender for the presidency at the time. Although she was also one of the early frontrunners in surveys, several factors contributed to her eventual decision to instead run for vice president. For one, her supposed running mate, then Senator Tito Sotto was implicated in a controversy that linked him with a suspected drug lord. Politically, Arroyo needed to distance herself away from Sotto and their tandem did not materialize. Kampi was also not logistically and financially prepared to mount a national campaign and the dominant political party at that time, Lakas-NUCD-UDMP and its leader, President Fidel V. Ramos, could not accommodate her. Lakas endorsed the presidential candidacy of House Speaker Jose de Venecia.
Instead of running as an independent, Arroyo's Kampi formed a coalition with Lakas, eventually becoming the running-mate of de Venecia. Despite her popularity, Arroyo could not help the ratings of de Venecia during the campaign period. Estrada won the presidency but his running mate, Edgardo Angara, lost to Arroyo in the vice presidential elections. She was ahead by more than seven million votes to Angara, her closest opponent for the vice presidency. Arroyo was then appointed by President Estrada as Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in 1998.
As DSWD Secretary from July 1998 to October 2000, Arroyo initiated projects aimed at delivering the basic social services to underprivileged Filipinos. Among her projects were the following:
- Ahon Bata sa Lansangan – strengthen attempts to address the plight of street children
- Ahon Bayan – a resource generation project to address the insufficiency of funds for social welfare
- Ahon Pamilya – known as the "National Family Violence Prevention Program," this program is a community based plan of preparing family members to protect themselves against violence and manage resolution of disagreement within the context of family members
- Quick Reaction Team Pamilya – an assembly of individuals, professionals, volunteers and other socio-civic and religious organizations towards an effective response to the needs of sexually abused women and children
- Self- Employment Assistance Kaunlaran (SEA-K) – a community-based micro-financing project which builds abilities of people's organizations to self-administer a socialized credit system
- Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (CIDSS) – The flagship program to fight poverty in the 5th and 6th class municipalities nationwide including urban communities
- Early Childhood Development Project (ECD) – service for child and family designed to build on and improve existing health, nutrition and early education services for disadvantaged children
Resignation from the cabinet
In October 2000, Arroyo resigned from her cabinet position amidst accusations of corruption and jueteng involvement against President Estrada. The accuser, former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Singson, also testified against President Estrada in the impeachment trial in the Senate. Thereafter, Arroyo joined what became known as the civil society—students, businessmen, left wing members, professionals, and ordinary citizens—in calling for the resignation of President Estrada.
The last quarter of 2000 up to the first week of January 2001 was a period of political and economic uncertainty for the Philippines. On January 16, 2001, the impeachment trial also took a new direction. Private prosecutors walked out of the trial when pro-Estrada senators prevented the opening of an evidence (a brown envelope) containing bank records allegedly owned by President Estrada. With the walk out, the impeachment trial was not completed and the Filipinos eventually took to the street to continue the clamor for President Estrada's resignation.
From January 17 to 20, 2001, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos gathered at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), the site of the original People Power Revolution. The clamor for a change in the presidency gained momentum as various sectors of Philippine society—professionals, students, artists, politicians, leftist and rightist groups—have joined what became known as EDSA II. Officials of the administration, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have also withdrawn their support on President Estrada.
Macapagal-Arroyo presidency: 2001-2004
On January 20, 2001, the Supreme Court of the Philippines|Supreme Court declared the presidency vacant. Arroyo was sworn in on the same day as the 14th president of the Philippines by Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. In her speech before the people at EDSA, Arroyo reiterated the following principles that her administration will pursue:
- being bold in national ambition to win the fight against poverty
- improve the moral standards of government and society to provide a strong foundation for good governance
- change the politics of personality and patronage to a politics of to a new politics of party programs and process of dialogue with the people
- promote leadership by example and solid traits such as work ethic and a dignified lifestyle, matching action to rhetoric, and performing rather than grandstanding
- pursue an economic philosophy of transparency and private enterprise and extend the opportunities to the rural countryside
The international community, through the individual embassies and consulates in the Philippines, recognized Arroyo as the new president. Philippine government officials and members of the armed forces and the national police also pledged allegiance to the new leadership. The business sector welcomed Arroyo's expertise in economics to give direction to the country's economy.
Media and culture
After the EDSA Revolution of 2001|second revolution, she removed ZOE Broadcasting Network (Channel 11), a Eddie Villanueva|Bro. Eddie Villanueva-owned Singaporean news and general entertainment television channel broadcasting in Singapore Mandarin affiliated with MediaCorp Channel 8|TCS Eighth Frequency. It originally ceased transmitting on January 19, 2001 to replace a new network under the brand name Q (TV network)|Quality Television in April 2001. In 2004, QTVN made a commercial TV channel for the first time under R.A. 7306 when it was signed.
Arroyo also encouraged the tourism sector to boost the national economy. Under her first term, the Department of Tourism (Philippines)|Department of Tourism launched a program called Wow Philippines in 2002, offers tourist visits in the country to show their natural wonders, to protect their indigenous peoples, to preserve heritage sites and to contribute historical importance.
The support of civil society and the Supreme Court's favorable decision were crucial in solidifying Arroyo's ascendancy as president of the Philippines. She further gained support from the people when she appointed Senator Teofisto Guingona as vice president on February 6, 2001. The victory of her senatorial allies in the May 2001 national elections also guaranteed that her priority measures and bills will be supported in Congress. With the support of various sectors of society, Arroyo began the difficult task of reforming the country's struggling economy and perceived corruption in government.
Arroyo's first term as president was characterized in terms of the policies and programs that she pursued as reiterated in her State of the Nation Address (SONA) from 2001 to 2003. She presented her vision for the country through the slogan, "building a strong republic." Arroyo placed a high premium on reforming and strengthening the bureaucracy, lowering crime rate, increasing tax collection, improving economic growth, and intensifying efforts against terrorism.
Challenges to the presidency
The first term of her presidency saw Arroyo facing various challenges from those who question her legitimacy as president. She was also implicated—although indirectly—in allegations of corruption and in the alleged involvement of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo in various government transactions.
- Estrada supporters and EDSA III
Days after leaving Malacañang, President Estrada's lawyers questioned the legitimacy of Arroyo's presidency before the Supreme Court. He reiterated that he did not resign as president and that at most, Arroyo was just serving in an acting capacity. The high court, however, voted unanimously in upholding the legitimacy of Arroyo's succession. As a consequence, Estrada no longer enjoys immunity from charges being filed against him.
In the last week of April 2001, the Sandiganbayan ordered the arrest of Estrada and his son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, for plunder charges. A few days later, Estrada supporters protested his arrest, gathered at the EDSA Shrine, and staged what they called, EDSA III—comparing their actions to the People Power Revolution of 1986 and January 2001.
Thousands of protesters demanded the release of Estrada. Eventually, they also called for the ouster of Arroyo and the reinstatement of the former. On May 1, 2001, they marched towards Malacañang to force Arroyo to give in to their demands. Violence erupted when the protesters attempted to storm the presidential palace and the military and police were forced to use their arms to drive them back. Arroyo declared a state of rebellion because of the violence and prominent political personalities affiliated with Estrada were charged and arrested. The so-called EDSA III was the first serious political challenge to the Arroyo presidency.
- Oakwood Mutiny
- For further reading on the Oakwood mutiny, please see the Oakwood mutiny article.
On July 26, 2003, the Arroyo presidency faced another challenge when a group of junior military officers and their men occupied the Oakwood Premier Ayala Center in Makati City. The group called themselves, Magdalo, and among their leaders were Navy Lt. Antonio Trillanes IV, Capt. Gerardo Gambala, and Capt. Milo Maestrecampo. According to Trillanes, the group's spokesperson, they decided to act since they saw signs that Arroyo was going to declare Martial Law. He reiterated their call for the resignation of high ranking military officials, the secretary of the Department of National Defense, and Arroyo herself.
Arroyo addressed the nation on television and warned of hostile action if the Magdalo soldiers will not surrender. Senator Rodolfo Biazon was also requested to talk to the rebel soldiers. They surrendered soon after it became apparent that they would be attacked by government forces. As of 2007, Trillanes—who won as senator in the May 2007 elections—and some of the Magdalo soldiers are still on trial for rebellion.
The so-called Oakwood Mutiny was rumored to have been connected to Estrada and his supporters. Arroyo formed the Feliciano Commission to investigate the mutiny. The commission later found that the action of the Magdalo soldiers was planned and not spontaneous. It was obviously an attempt to bring down the Arroyo government. However, the connection to Estrada was never proven.
- Jose Pidal controversy
On August 18, 2003, Senator Panfilo Lacson accused First Gentleman Mike Arroyo of siphoning campaign funds into a bank account under the fictitious name, Jose Pidal. Although the accusation was never legally substantiated, the effects weighed more on Arroyo's presidency as she was accused of tolerating her husband's interference in government.
2004 Presidential elections
Article VII Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution explicitly states that the president of the Philippines can only serve for one term. However, the same provision also implicitly states that a president's successor who has not served for more than four years can still seek a full term for the presidency. Although Arroyo falls under this category, she initially announced on December 30, 2002 that she will no longer seek the presidency. She emphasized that she will devote her remaining months in office to serving the people and improving the economy of the Philippines.
In October 2003, Arroyo changed her mind and announced that she will run for the May 2004 presidential elections and seek a direct mandate from the people. She explained that, "there is a higher cause to change society...in a way that nourishes our future". With her decision, the initial criticisms hurled against Arroyo centered on her lack of word of honor and that she was influenced by United States President George W. Bush to run for president.
Rivals for the presidency
Contesting Arroyo for the May 2004 presidency were the following:
- Fernando Poe, Jr. – popular actor and a close friend of President Estrada
- Panfilo Lacson – senator and former director general of the Philippine National Police (PNP)
- Raul Roco – senator and secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd)
- Eddie Villanueva – evangelist and leader of the Jesus is Lord (JIL) movement
Although it was a five-way presidential race, Arroyo and Poe were the main contenders because of their connection to President Estrada. Poe was, like Estrada, an actor and a close friend of the former president. Arroyo was the beneficiary of Estrada's ouster from the presidency. The May 2004 elections became an unofficial referendum on the legitimacy of the Arroyo administration and Estrada's imprisonment.
Arroyo's campaign platform centered on issues such as the shift to a parliamentary and federal form of government, job creation, and universal health insurance. She also pushed for tougher stance and action against illegal drugs and local and international terrorism.
Poe, on the other hand, enjoyed tremendous popularity because of his profession but was hounded early on by questions regarding his citizenship. He was also criticized severely for his perceived lack of platform of government, his refusal to participate in public forum and debate, and his animosity towards the press.
Early in the campaign, Poe enjoyed a significant lead in terms of popularity and awareness based on Social Weather Station (SWS) surveys. However, as the campaign period came to a close, Arroyo was able to surpass Poe's. This was attributed to the efficiency of the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP-Kampi machinery during the campaign period as well as the inability of Poe to elaborate on his plans and programs.
As predicted by SWS exit polls, Arroyo won the election by a margin of over one million votes against Poe. However, the congressional canvassing was quite contentious as opposition lawmakers in the National Board of Canvassers argued that there were many discrepancies in the election returns and that insinuations of cheating were raised. On June 23, 2004, Congress proclaimed Arroyo and Noli de Castro as president and vice president, respectively.
On June 30, 2004, in a break with tradition, Arroyo first delivered her inaugural speech at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. She then departed for Cebu City for her oath taking, the first time that a Philippine president took the oath of office outside of Luzon.
Election rigging allegations
- For further reading on the "Hello Garci" controversy, please see the Hello Garci scandal article.
Allegations of cheating against Arroyo gained momentum one year after the May 2004 elections. In a press conference held on June 10, 2005, Samuel Ong, former deputy director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) claimed to have audio recordings of wiretapped conversations between Arroyo and an official of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Virgilio Garcillano, a former COMELEC commissioner, would later be identified as the official talking to Arroyo. According to Ong, the recordings allegedly proved that Arroyo ordered the rigging of the national elections for her to win by around one million votes against Poe.
The recordings of Ong became known as the Hello Garci scandal|Hello Garci controversy and triggered massive protests against Arroyo. Key members of her cabinet resigned from their respective posts and urged Arroyo to do the same. On June 27, 2005, Arroyo admitted to inappropriately speaking to a COMELEC official, claiming it was a "lapse in judgement". She, however, denied influencing the outcome of the elections and declared that she won the elections fairly. Arroyo did not resign despite the pressures coming from various sectors of society.
The Hello Garci controversy became the basis of the impeachment case filed against Arroyo in 2005.
Attempts to impeach Arroyo failed later that year. Another impeachment case was filed against Arroyo in 2006 but was also defeated at the House of representatives.
In October 2007, lawyer Alan Paguia filed an impeachment complaint against Arroyo in connection with the issue of bribery. Paguia's complaint was based on the revelation of Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio that various governors received half a million pesos from Malacañang. The impeachment case, as of the middle of October 2007, has already been referred to the House of Representatives Committee on Justice.
Fertilizer Fund Scam
In the fertilizer fund scam, it was alleged that funding from the Department of Agriculture (DA) that was allocated for the purchase of fertilizer for farmers, was used to fund President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s election campaign.
On March 6, 2004, as reported by the ‘’Philippine Daily Inquirer’’, Senator Panfilo Lacson accused Arroyo of buying votes with the Php 729 million which she approved for the purchase of fertilizers by local government officials. On August 25, 2005 an episode of ‘’The Probe Team’’ featured farmers who claimed that they had not received the fertilizer from the DA. The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) reported on September 28-29 that billions of pesos of farm funds were used by Arroyo to fund her presidential campaign. The Philippine Senate began investigating this matter on October 6. Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante, who was appointed as Department of Agriculture undersecretary for finance at the beginning of Arroyo’s term, failed to appear at the hearings conducted by the Senate. On December 11, 2005, Bolante fled to the United States instead of going to a Senate hearing, claiming that there had been attempts on his life by the New People’s Army, which the NPA later denied. The Senate cited him for contempt 2 days later and ordered that he be arrested.
Issues from 2004 and beyond
An economist by training, Arroyo has made the economy of the Philippines the focus of her presidency. From 2001 to 2005, the country's gross domestic product (GDP) has averaged 4.6%. Inflation during her presidency has been the lowest since 1986, averaging 5.3%. Critics of the Arroyo administration, however, reiterated that the modest gains of the economy could also be attributed to the remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFW).
- Foreign policy
Since 2001, the foreign policy of Arroyo have been closely related to efforts against terrorism, strengthening ties with allied countries, and pushing for a stronger trade realtions with trading partners through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and other similar international groups.
Arroyo's stance against terrorism was magnified after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States (US) and the subsequent war on terror launched by US Pres. George W. Bush. In 2003, Arroyo sent a small military contingent to Iraq to perform humanitarian work in the country. However, the contingent was pulled out in 2004 when Angelo de la Cruz, an OFW in Iraq, was abducted by the group of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The group threatened to kill de la Cruz if the Philippines would not pull out from Iraq. Arroyo gave in to the demand; a decision hailed by Filipinos but critcized by the US, Australia, and other allied countries against terrorism.
- Charter Change
In her 2005 State of the Nation Address (SONA), Arroyo mentioned the need "to start the great debate on charter change" and implement changes in the system of government. She reiterated that there was a need to shift from a presidential-unitary form of government to a parliamentary-federal form of government.
Although the initiative of Arroyo was widely supported by the House of Representatives and its members agreed to implement it through a constituent assembly. However, the call for charter change was largely ignored by the Senate. Members of civil society and the Church also reiterated their stance against any move that would amend or change the 1987 Constitution.
- EO 464 and CPR
Criticisms against Arroyo escalated following the Hello Garci controversy. To address the violence that resulted in protest rallies against the government, members of the PNP were given orders to implement the calibrated preemptive response (CPR). This directive emphasized that rallies without permits would be forcibly dispersed.
Arroyo also issued Executive Order No. 464 (EO 464) preventing executive department officials from appearing in congressional inquiries without her prior consent. EO 464 and the CPR were challenged before the Supreme Court. The high court ruled that some sections of EO 464 were unconstitutional but the executive order as a whole was not.
- State of Emergency
On February 24, 2006, a plot to take over the government was uncovered by authorities, allegedly headed by Gen. Danny Lim and other rightist military adventurists. General Lim and some of his men were arrested. To face the threat posed by enemies of the state, Arroyo issued Presidential Proclamation 1017 (PP 1017) and used it as basis in declaring a state of emergency throughout the Philippines. According to Arroyo, this declaration was done to quell the military rebellion, stop lawless violence, and promote peace and stability. PP 1017 also empowered the government to enforce warrantless arrests and take over strategic private utilities companies.
On February 25, 2006, the police raided the office of the Daily Tribune, a newspaper known as a critic of the Arroyo administration. The government then issued a journalism guidelines to address the threat posed by critics in the media. Presidential Management Staff chief Michael Defensor said that the guidelines were necessary in order to cope with the emergency situation.
The state of emergency existed for about one week with the purpose of curbing further violence, illegal rallies, and public disturbance throughout the Philippines. The police and the military dispersed demonstrators and protesters, especially those along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). Aside from General Lim, prominent personalities were also arrested in connection with their alleged participation in the attempt to overthrow the government. Among those arrested were:
- Col. Ariel Querubin- leader of a group of Philippine Marines who engaged the government in a political stand-off at Fort Bonifacio on February 25, 2005
- Randy David- led a protest rally without securing the necessary permit
- Crispin Beltran- party-list representative of Anakpawis charged with inciting to sedition and rebellion
- Batasan Five- party-list representatives charged with rebellion and were placed under the custody of the House of Representatives; Bayan Muna's Teodoro Casiño, Satur Ocampo, and Joel Virador; Gabriela's Liza Maza, and Anakpawis' Rafael Mariano
PP 1017 was lifted on March 3, 2006 but members of the opposition, private lawyers, and concerned citizens challenged its constitutionality before the Supreme Court. On May 4, the high court declared the proclamation constitutional. However, it also said that it was illegal for the government to implement warrantless arrests and seize private institutions and companies.
Election to the House of Representatives
In an unprecedented move, Ms. Arroyo announced his bid to run for Congress. On 1 December 2009, she personally filed her certificate of candidacy (CoC) for congresswoman of the second district of Pampanga at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in San Fernando City, Pampanga. The move drew widespread criticism from different sectors of society, fearing that the president would use the position to continue pushing for charter change which might lead to her becoming the prime minister.
She was elected to congress in May 2010 with a landslide victory. She declined to seek the position of the Speaker of the House despite being considered the strongest contender. On her first day as a lawmaker, she and her son Dato filed a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention to propose amendments to the existing constitution.
Spinal surgery and house arrest
Arroyo was diagnosed with cervical spondylosis or cervical radiculopathy. She underwent a 5-hour spine surgery on June 29, 2011 and two more in August which aggravated her hypoparathyroidism. Despite the Department of Justice (DOJ) holding a departure order, the House of Representatives issued a travel permit to have treatment in Germany.
She was arrested on 19 November 2011 a day after a warrant of arrest was issued by the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 112, under the sala of judge Jesus Mupas. She was under hospital arrest in the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City and faced charges of electoral fraud related to probable anomalies in the 2007 national elections. She was released from hospital arrest on bail on July 25, 2012. Three months later, she refused to enter any plea on charges she misused USD 8.8 million in state lottery funds during her term in office.
Reelection to the House of Representatives
While still confined at VMMC, she successfully earned a second term as representative for Pampanga's second legislative district in 2013.
She underwent tests and treatment at St. Luke's Medical Center and returned for confinement at VMMC in May and June 2014. Her attorneys renewed their application for bail in June 2014.
Case dismissal and election as House speaker
In July 2016, the Supreme Court dismissed charges against Arroyo, she had been reelected .to Congress in May. The court cited insufficient evidence to bring a case against Arroyo relating to misuse lottery funds during her administration. In 2018, Arroyo, an important ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, was elected by 184 House members as the 21st speaker of the House of Representatives. She was the first woman to hold the leadership post.
In November 2020, she was appointed as Presidential Adviser on Clark Programs and Projects.
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