Old habits die hard: In Cebu, Gloria Arroyo walks out over political questions

NO POLITICS. House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visits Cebu's RO-RO ports on her final 'sentimental' journey. She declines to answer 'political' questions. Photo courtesy of Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's office

NO POLITICS. House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visits Cebu's RO-RO ports on her final 'sentimental' journey. She declines to answer 'political' questions. Photo courtesy of Rep.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's office

Only a week to go in her term, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo went on a “sentimental tour” Monday, June 17, in Cebu where she visited two roll-on roll-off (RO-RO) ports

The RO-RO transport system, which integrated land and sea transport, flourished under the presidency of Arroyo. It was credited for reducing inter-island transportation costs and travel time, and also improved agricultural and non-agricultural income.

But even retirement has not made the former president ease up on the kinds of questions the press can ask her.

She is known for her aversion to political questions on the rare occasion she does hold a free-wheeling press briefing. Arroyo scolding reporters who asked questions unrelated to the event they were covering or topic being discussed was also common. But it did not stop the Cebu press from trying. (READ: Arroyo's Fortress and the Nosy Press)

While it was her office that called the media to cover the visit to Argao town and Santander, she was insistent that the press stick to the subject of her visit.

Arroyo was sitting at a table with reporters in a resort in Argao town when she was asked who she would endorse for the speakership. Arroyo told the reporter she would not talk about the speakership.

But still, local media pushed. Another reporter asked if the P500 to P1-million minimum needed to get the speakership, as alleged by ousted House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, is true.

To this question she walked away.

When she returned to the reporters who decided to ask about the subject of her visit, another then asked if she should be credited by President Rodrigo Duterte for the RO-RO ports. She replied displeased, “Hay naku, he [Duterte] doesn’t have to.”

It’s normal practice for reporters to ask high-ranking officials about their take on national issues so should they have tried asking Arroyo about the recent Chinese vessel sinking a Philippine fishing boat?

The reporters – who were transported to the venue from Cebu City by Arroyo’s office – decided not to attempt it.

Sticking to the topic it was. – With Micole Gerard Tizon/Rappler.com