By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Former President and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo expressed gratitude to President Duterte for the dismissal of the plunder charges against her that resulted in her freedom.
Arroyo made the statement during the appreciation dinner in her honor at the Manila Hotel Tuesday night.
She thanked President Duterte for having the patience to work with her, acknowledging that she can be very difficult to deal with.
“Most of all, I thank you that when you became president, you provided the atmosphere in which the court had the freedom to acquit me of the trumped-up charges of my successor and your predecessor,” she said.
“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. How could it have been with all my gratitude for all that you have done for me,” she added.
“I only wish that I had better EQ so that you would not have found me difficult to deal with,” she continued.
President Duterte praised Arroyo, saying he drew inspiration from the former leader particularly in strengthening the country’s armed forces.
In July 2016, the Supreme Court acquitted Arroyo of plunder in connection with the alleged misuse of P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) from 20108 to 2010 when she was still President.
Arroyo was arrested in October 2012 and was detained at the Veterans Memorial and Medical Center for four years.
The former President also thanked Duterte for describing her as a friend when he was still campaigning for the presidency and even after when he was elected.
Arroyo became House Speaker in July last year after Pantaleon Alvarez was ousted by members of the Lower House.
Arroyo’s 27-year career in the legislative and executive branches of the government include being elected senator in 1992, becoming Vice President in 1998, and succeeding the presidency in 2001 following the ouster of former President Joseph Estrada.