SPEAKER GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO, with Pampanga Governor Lilia G. Pineda, is briefed on the expansion of the Clark International Airport into another international gateway complementing the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport. At right, Mrs. Arroyo holds a dialogue under a mango tree in Barangay Sta. Rita in Lubao, Pampanga.
By CLAIRE MORALES TRUE, Managing Editor
QUEZON CITY (PhlTodayUSA) — Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has confirmed she will not run for any position in the May 2019 midterm elections and will retire when her term ends as Pampanga representative that year.
Arroyo, who made the announcement in a television interview with Pinky Webb on CNN Philippines, is winding up her third and last term as representative of the second district of Pampanga which covers the towns of Lubao, Sasmuan, Guagua, Floridablanca, Sta. Rita and Porac.
But even as she readies for the announced retirement, the former President continues to go around her district supervising ongoing multi-million peso projects such as flood control and mitigations along the Pampanga river and tributaries, road improvements, school buildings, distributing relief assistance and meeting with officials led by Pampanga Governor Lilia G. Pineda.
Mrs. Arroyo is also active in helping President Rodrigo Duterte pursue economic and tax reforms and measures presented by the administration to the House of Representatives such as the general appropriations act for the national government for 2019, prompting critics that she could be preparing to become the country’s prime minister under a proposed federal government which she denied.
“I am retiring. I don’t plan to run for anything in 2019. So, yes that’s sure,” Arroyo stressed in the television interview.
The former president said her eldest son, former Pampanga Vice Governor Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, will run to replace her in the second district of Pampanga which he had also served as its congressman before her.
Arroyo said nothing can stop her from retiring next year, stressing that she is “looking forward” to it as she plans to write her own memoirs.
“I think there’s a time when we should retire and I think there’s some benefits to retiring for myself… When you reach your retirement age, you have more wisdom, you become more tolerant, you become more willing to forgive and be forgiven,” Arroyo said.
The Speaker expressed confidence that her young colleagues in the lower chamber would do a “good job” in taking on leadership posts in government.
“My being Speaker now is that I’ve been exposed to so many young congressmen. Looking at how they work and seeing what they do, I’m confident that when they take over the reins of government they will be doing a good job. So it’s really time for us to retire,” she said.
Arroyo also dispelled allegations that she would become the country’s prime minister once the proposed shift to a federal system succeeds.
She noted that the draft Charter proposed by the Consultative Committee (ConCom) provides for a federal-presidential system of government.
“It is not in the draft submitted by the administration, and so therefore I have no plans of becoming prime minister,” Arroyo said.