Gloria Arroyo: 'Strategic direction' is to fully support Duterte
MANILA, Philippines – Regardless of what critics have to say, former president now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will support the legislative agenda and decisions of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Arroyo repeatedly told this to the media on Wednesday, August 10, after reporters asked for her stance on some key decisions of Duterte – from calling for a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) to pave the way for federalism, to allowing a hero's burial for the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
"I think rather than answer you issue by issue, let me just say that as a strategic direction, I believe that we should support the administration's initiative. So that will be my answer to everything that you will ask me so I might as well give you the general answer," said Arroyo.
She had already filed a House resolution calling for a Con-Ass, wherein Congress turns itself into a body to amend the 1987 Constitution "upon a vote of 3/4 of all its members."
Arroyo refused to comment on criticisms that Congress cannot be trusted to amend the charter without sacrificing the people's welfare.
"Well, I'm not going to comment on anything because as I said, my general position is to support the legislative agenda of the President, period," said the former president, who supported Charter Change when she was president.
"Let the argument happen when it happens, but as far as I am concerned, I filed a [resolution] for a Constituent Assembly," added Arroyo, who also filed a bill granting Duterte emergency powers to address Metro Manila traffic.
Arroyo announced during the media interview that she will become one of the new deputy speakers in the 17th Congress as it tests the waters for federalism. (READ: How many states should PH have under federalism?)
On Duterte's resolve to revive the death penalty for heinous crimes, which was abolished during her administration, Arroyo said: "Basta, I have a general direction and I am not the chief executive anymore. It is not for me to dictate national policy."
When she assumed the presidency in 2001, Arroyo suspended the imposition of the death penalty and granted reprieves to death convicts scheduled for execution. She backed calls to abolish capital punishment, which happened under her watch in 2006.
On June 24, 2006, at the ceremonial signing of Republic Act 9346 which abolished the death penalty in the country, Arroyo, portrayed as a devoted Catholic, had said, "We shall continue to devote the increasing weight of our resources to the prevention and control of serious crimes, rather than take the lives of those who commit them." – Rappler.com