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MANILA, Philippines — Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s spokesperson Elena Bautista-Horn denied that the Pampanga representative met with the ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Asian capitals in October.
We reported earlier that Dominican Republic Ambassador Frank Hans Castellanos Dannenberg was in Manila last month, as confirmed by records we obtained from the immigration bureau. This coincided with information reaching government that he was here supposedly to help Arroyo with plans to seek political asylum.
Horn told us in an interview Friday evening: “I handle the appointments of the former President. It’s not in my calendar.”
The spokesperson also denied that Arroyo is seeking political asylum. Horn was responding to the statement of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that she got information Arroyo sought political asylum in the Dominican Republic. De Lima told reporters she will ask the Department of Foreign Affairs to verify the report.
“There is no request, no plans to seek political asylum there or anywhere else,” said Horn.
Horn confirmed though that Arroyo met with Dannenberg in April, saying he invited her boss to visit the Dominican Republic and to speak before businessmen. “There was a conference. She was the guest speaker and they gave her an award.”
Horn said that the former president previously met with Dannenberg but only in the course of their work in the International Economic Advisory Council for the Rehabilitation of Haiti.
“Former President Arroyo sits in the Haiti Advisory Council so iyon iyong second time [nilang mag-meet] kasi (so that was their second time to meet because) they’re rebuilding Haiti so she’s part of the Haiti Advisory Council and usually when you go to Haiti, you go through the Dominican Republic to go to Haiti.”
Haiti was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in January 2010, killing thousands.
Horn also denied that Arroyo and Dannenberg are close friends. Asked about their relationship, she said, “It’s very professional, diplomatic in nature.”