MANILA, Philippines – Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo says President Benigno Aquino III is destroying her to make him look good. Arroyo made the statement in an exclusive interview with GMA7’s Arnold Clavio on Thursday, December 8. It was her first interview since her arrest on Nov. 18.
Arroyo granted the interview on the eve of her transfer to Veterans Memorial Medical Center, a government hospital. Clavio conducted the interview inside the presidential suite of the posh St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig where Arroyo has been staying since her foiled bid to leave the Philippines on Nov. 15.
Below is the interview as aired on 24 Oras:
CLAVIO: Kumustahin lang po namin, kumusta na po ang inyong pakiramdam at ang kalusugan niyo ngayon?
ARROYO: ‘Eto, gumagaling na itong operasyon ko bagama’t hindi natin alam kung tuluyang hindi na babalik o whether dito sa aking leeg o sa ibang bahagi ng aking mga buto dahil wala pa tayong official diagnosis doon sa sinusupetsahang metabolic bone disease.
CLAVIO: Ano ba timbang niyo po ngayon?
ARROYO: Ngayon, 43 kilos. Times 2.2 pounds?
CLAVIO: Wala pang 100 iyon.
ARROYO: Ako naman, for me, ideal weight ko naman sana 100, hindi naman 90 plus.
CLAVIO: Doon sa mga kinakaharap niyo, sabi niyo mga pagsubok, sabihin na nating mga accusation, ano ho ang masasabi niyo doon?
ARROYO: Ang masasabi ko, Arnold, I have peace of mind dahil malinis ang aking konsensya. Gaya ng sabi ko, sa aking pagkapangulo, bukod-tanging layunin ko ay maglingkod. Ngayon na-prejudge na ako ng bagong administrasyon. Gumagamit pa ng demagoguery para sa ganoon ay siraan ako nang tuluyan. Siyempre kasi kung masisiraan ako, mukhang magmamagaling siya, mukhang magaling siya. So pero ganoon pa man, ako ay naniniwala sa rule of law.
CLAVIO: Bale konting oras lang ho tayo dito at lilipat na ho kayo ng lugar so ano ho ang naglalaro sa isip niyo po?
ARROYO: ‘Yung sinabi na parati ng aking tatay (former President Diosdado Macapagal), yung parating sinasabi ng aking tatay sa akin, “Do what is right. do your best and let God take care of the rest.” Ako, I did what was right according to my best. Ang bukod-tanging layunin ko ay maglingkod sa taumbayan. Then I did my best. I think nobody will ano quarrel with my kasipagan so malaki ang aking pananampalataya sa Panginoon.
Clavio reported that Arroyo’s husband, Mike, and son, Ang Galing Pinoy Rep. Mikey Arroyo, were with her in the hospital. The two said that they are ready for Arroyo’s transfer to Veterans hospital, and they will continue being by her side. Other close friends also visited Arroyo in the suite.
On her health, Clavio said Arroyo told him that her condition is improving but she complains of numbness in her arms as a result of her second surgery. She said that she is seeking a second opinion on her medical condition from a Filipino doctor based in the US. She is doing exercises in the morning and afternoon as part of her therapy. Arroyo still wears a neck brace but removed it during the interview.
Arroyo said she draws strength from her two grandchildren, who help her get up from bed. Clavio added that she is doing online Christmas shopping for the kids.
Clavio said Arroyo’s disposition did not seem to change and she is confident she will survive the lawsuits against her.
Arroyo was charged with electoral sabotage on Nov. 18 for allegedly ordering former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. to cheat for her senatorial ticket in the 2007 elections. She is also being investigated for alleged plunder in relation to several corruption scandals.
Arroyo’s successor, Aquino, won the presidency on a campaign promise to hold her and corrupt officials accountable. Arroyo’s camp has accused Aquino of political persecution, saying the administration is going after Arroyo to cover up its alleged lackluster performance.