MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo dispelled rumors she is thinking of joining President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet next year as Department of Finance (DOF) secretary.
The former president turned Pampanga 2nd District congresswoman was asked by reporters on Tuesday, November 13, about talks in the banking community that she would become the next DOF chief.
“Ay, it's so hypothetical,” said Arroyo, who was smiling as she repeatedly shook her head.
Arroyo, an economist who saw the passage on 3rd reading of Duterte’s second batch of tax reforms during her term as Speaker, is a close ally of the President.
She is currently on her 3rd and last term as congresswoman and plans to retire from politics next year. Her son Mikey Arroyo is running for Pampanga 2nd District congressman in the 2019 elections.
Arroyo was under hospital arrest over plunder charges in connection with the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds for most of the Aquino administration, but was acquitted less than a month into the Duterte administration.
Duterte himself had repeatedly said he “owed” much to Arroyo, who contributed to his campaign funds in the 2016 presidential elections. (READ: Duterte admin revives Arroyo policies, controversies)
Current DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III remains among the Cabinet members who are most trusted by Duterte. A childhood friend and former schoolmate of the President, Dominguez was the finance head of Duterte’s campaign team in 2016.
Months before the House coup that unseated former House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and replaced him with Arroyo, rumors were aplenty that the latter would become the new leader of the lower chamber. But Arroyo repeatedly said then she was not interested in the post.
The former president now heads the House after her loyal allies joined forces with presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos to oust Alvarez in July. – Rappler.com