WATCH: Arroyo celebrates 70th birthday
PAMPANGA, Philippines – Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo celebrates her birthday for the first time in her province after being released from hospital arrest last year.
The Pampanga 2nd District representative spends the day in the company of her closest friends and political allies.
Mara Cepeda reports.
MARA CEPEDA, REPORTING: She may no longer be a deputy speaker, but Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wishes President Rodrigo Duterte success on her birthday.
On April 5, the former president turns 70.
Arroyo celebrates her birthday for the first time in Pampanga after being cleared of plunder charges last year.
She had been under hospital arrest from 2012 to 2016.
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, FORMER PRESIDENT: For my birthday wish, on a personal level, I think I have everything. So I have no personal birthday wish. But because I have been a leader, of course I have my wishes for the country. And my wish is for the success of President Duterte because his success is the success of the country.
MARA CEPEDA, REPORTING: Arroyo continues to support Duterte and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez even after the House removed her as Central Luzon deputy speaker for voting against the controversial death penalty bill.
Arroyo spends her birthday in the company of her husband Mike, her children Mikey, Dato, and Luli, and her grandchildren.
She is also joined by friends and political allies including Governor Lilia Pineda, Pampanga 3rd District Representative 3rd District Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr, and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
BONGBONG MARCOS, FORMER SENATOR: Kagaya po ng sinabi natin ng ating butihing congresswoman, ako pa ay napunta rito para batiin siya sa kanyang kaarawan. At sinabi niya na may pagkakataon nga na ako’y mapunta rito at makikita naman po natin na sa tagal ng kanyang bakasyon ay hindi naman nawala ang kanyang patuloy na pag-iisip sa serbisyong pampubliko, sa kanyang pagpili sa kanyang birthday na buksan itong sa handog ng Lourdes Tuason de Arroyo Foundation itong Macapagal and Arroyo Sicence Laboratory Building.
(Like what the esteemed congresswoman said, I came here to greet her on her birthday. And she said that there was an opportunity for me to come here. We can see that even if she went on a long vacation, her kind of public service has not waned. This can be seen by her choice to open this place – a gift from the Lourdes Tuason de Arroyo Foundation – the Macapagal and Arroyo Science Laboratory.)
MARA CEPEDA, REPORTING: As a birthday treat, Arroyo also distributes checks for livelihood assistance, leads the inauguration of the new Escolastica Romero District Hospital with Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, and attends the Pampanga Buntis Congress.
The former president spent 4 years under hospital arrest. Now that she’s free and back in office, there’s nothing like celebrating her birthday in her home province.
Mara Cepeda, Rappler, Pampanga. – Rappler.com