Arroyo commends Aquino for GDP growth

Angela Casauay
The pronouncement comes a year after Arroyo published an essay criticizing the Aquino government's economic performance

ECONOMY. Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lauds President Benigno Aquino III for the country's GDP growth. AFP file photo

MANILA, Philippines – A year after former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo criticized the economic performance of President Benigno Aquino III’s government, she is now acknowledging the achievements of her former economics student.

In a statement sent to media Maria Elena Bautista-Horn, Arroyo’s spokesperson and chief of staff, said the Philippines’ higher-than-expected gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate is worth commending.

“Going beyond the anti-corruption campaign, President Aquino is to be commended for the latest GDP growth rate. It is welcome news,” Horn added. “He is on track restoring the growth of 7.9% where it was the first half of 2010. She will support his policies that will translate such policies to poverty alleviation.”

The Philippines grew 6.6% in 2012, a far cry from the 3.9% growth rate in 2011. The results also exceeded the government’s growth rate target of 5% to 6%. 

In January 2012, Arroyo, now the representative of the 2nd district of Pampanga, published an essay titled, “It’s the Economy, Student,” which underscored the gains of her administration at the height of Aquino’s criticisms against Arroyo’s alleged corrupt activities. Aquino was Arroyo’s student at the Ateneo de Manila University. 

‘Follow rule of law’

Friday’s statement, however, does not indicate a full show of support. 

On the administration’s anti-corruption efforts, Horn said Aquino “must uphold the rule of law, due process and the independence of the judiciary.”

Horn said Arroyo had sought “legal remedies” during her term and passed legislation such as the Government Procurement Reform Act of 2003, Attrition Act of 2005, Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 and Prosecution Service Act of 2010 to combat corruption. 

“But she followed the rule of law, due process, and the independence of the judiciary by respecting and implementing all court decisions, studiously avoiding any interference or comment on judicial proceedings and rulings,” Horn said. 

Arroyo is under hospital arrest for plunder charges over the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds during her administration.  –