Duterte didn’t offer me Cabinet post, says Arroyo

Mara Cepeda
Duterte didn’t offer me Cabinet post, says Arroyo
Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo denies rumors that she was being offered to become secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs

MANILA, Philippines – Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo denied that President Rodrigo Duterte had offered her a Cabinet post when they met late November. 

“There’s no offer of a Cabinet post to me,” said Arroyo in a press conference at the House of Representatives on Monday, December 5. 

In particular, the former president denied rumors that she was being offered to become secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).  

Arroyo said the DFA offer is “not true.” 

On November 28, Arroyo had visited Malacañang for a private meeting with Duterte, whose administration saw Arroyo’s release from hospital arrest due to plunder charges. 

Arroyo admitted that Duterte had shown her a list of politicians allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade during the said meeting, but refused to reveal other details. 

“I leave it up to Malacañang to disclose whatever they want to disclose about our meeting,” she said. 

On the death penalty

During the press conference, Arroyo also reiterated her stand against the reimposition of the death penalty, one of Duterte’s priority measures.  

The House subcommittee on judicial reforms already approved the bill that will reinstate the capital punishment for heinous crimes. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, one of the bill’s co-authors, wants the measure passed on 3rd and final reading by December.

Arroyo said, however, that she has spoken to the President regarding the matter and this will not be causing any conflict between them. 

“I spoke with President Duterte about that. It’s alright with him if I oppose the death penalty,” said Arroyo.

“I am not president anymore but I have a personal conviction. But I recognize that he is the President and I am not. I am against it personally, but I want the administration to succeed so he has to be the one to decide how to run this administration,” she added. 

It was under Arroyo’s term as president when the Philippines signed the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming to abolish the death penalty. Capital punishment was eventually abolished under her watch in 2006.

Upon her release from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in July, Arroyo said it was a “strategic direction” for her to support Duterte’s decisions and legislative agenda. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.