Duterte teases Arroyo: She was ‘hard to deal with’ as president

Pia Ranada
Duterte teases Arroyo: She was ‘hard to deal with’ as president
During her farewell dinner as House Speaker, Arroyo replies to Duterte: 'It was never my intention to be difficult with you…So I only wish that I had better EQ so I could have second-guessed everything you wanted'

At House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s farewell dinner, President Rodrigo Duterte couldn’t help but recall those days long ago when Arroyo was the president he had to report to as Davao City mayor.

In typical Duterte fashion, he put Arroyo under the spotlight, saying he found her “hard to deal with” in those days.

“All of my dealings with my president during my mayorship days eh trabaho lang ho ‘yun ma’am, and I said you’re hard to deal with at nagagalit at naiintindihan namin lahat,” said Duterte.

(All of my dealings with my president during my mayorship days, those were just work, ma’am, and I said you’re hard to deal with and she would get mad and we would all understand.)

 The Chief Executive’s teasing drew amused laughter from Arroyo.

Duterte recalled when Arroyo would call him up “in the wee hours of the morning” to seek his advice on local government or security matters. 

The President appeared bursting to share a specific time when Arroyo did not follow his recommendation.

“I was there when you made the decision, one major, crucial, and since you did not follow me, I said…,” he said before changing the topic.

But Duterte’s teasing came at the end of a speech that began with nothing but praises for Arroyo, whose speakership will end on July 22.

In his prepared speech, Duterte called Arroyo a “true living icon in Philippine politics and an “embodiment of strong political will.” 

Arroyo wishes she had ‘better EQ’

Arroyo, in her speech, acknowledged that she had been “difficult” with Duterte then. She asid she wished she had “better EQ (emotional quotient).”

“My only regret in our relationship is that you have found me very difficult to deal with. It was never my intention to be difficult with you…So I only wish that I had better EQ so I could have second-guessed everything you wanted,” she said.

Duterte ended his speech with a reference to allegations that he ordered extrajudicial killings in Davao City through death squads. He assured his audience that Arroyo never ordered him to carry these out.

Bilib ako sa ‘yo, ma’am. Wala akong pinatay na tao sa utos niya. Pinatay ko na lang kasi feeling ko gusto niya,” said Duterte. (I look up to you, ma’am. I didn’t kill anyone upon her orders. I just killed them because I felt she would have wanted them dead.)

Arroyo also thanked Duterte for her acquittal from plunder charges. The Supreme Court acquitted Arroyo in the first month of Duterte’s presidency.

On the presidential campaign trail, then Davao City mayor Duterte had said Arroyo was a victim of slow justice and that this could be grounds to dismiss the case against her. He was speaking then at Arroyo’s hometown, vote-rich Pampanga. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.