Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Infobox President
name = Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

order = President of the Philippines
term_start = January 20, 2001
vicepresident = Teofisto Guingona
Noli de Castro
predecessor = Joseph E. Estrada
order2 = Vice President of the Philippines
term_start2 = June 30, 1998
term_end2 = January 20, 2001
predecessor2 = Joseph E. Estrada
successor2 = Teofisto Guingona
president2 = Joseph E. Estrada
birth_date = birth date and age|1947|04|05|mf=y
birth_place = San Juan, Rizal, Philippines
spouse = Jose Miguel Arroyo
party = LDP (1992 – 1998)
Lakas-CMD (1998 – present)
KAMPI (1997 – present)
occupation = Economist
religion = Roman Catholic

website = [ Official website]

Maria Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (born Maria Gloria Macaraeg Macapagal on April 5, 1947) is a Filipina politician. She is the fourteenth and current president of the Philippines. Arroyo is the country's second female president, and the daughter of late former Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal. She is a direct descendant of the Lakandula rulers of the ancient Luzon Empire.Luciano P.R. Santiago. "The Houses of Lakandula, Matanda, and Soliman [1571-1898] :Genealogy and Group Identity", Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society 18 [1990] .Jeffrey "The Man" Losanes]

A professor of economics, Arroyo entered government in 1987, serving as assistant secretary and undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry upon the invitation of President Corazon Aquino. After serving as a senator from 1992 to 1998, she was elected to the vice presidency under President Joseph Estrada, despite having run on an opposing ticket. After Estrada was accused of corruption, she resigned her cabinet position as Secretary of Social Welfare and Development and joined the growing opposition to the president, who faced impeachment. Estrada was soon forced from office by peaceful street demonstrations, and Arroyo was subsequently sworn into the presidency on January 20, 2001. She was elected to a full six-year presidential term in her own right and was sworn in June 30, 2004.

Early life

She was born as Maria Gloria Macaraeg Macapagal to politician Diosdado Macapagal and his wife, Evangelina Macaraeg Macapagal. She is the sister of Dr. Diosdado "Boboy" Macapagal, Jr. & Cielo Macapagal-Salgado. She spent the first years of her life in Lubao, Pampanga with her two older siblings from her father's first marriage.cite web |url= |title=Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo |accessdate=2007-06-04 |work=Current Biography International Yearbook 2004 |publisher=The H. W. Wilson Company] At the age of four, she chose to live with her maternal grandmother in Iligan City.cite web |title=Glory, Gloria! |publisher=TIME Pacific |date=2001-01-29 |last=Spaeth |first=Anthony |url= |accessdate=2007-06-04] She stayed there for three years, then split her time between Mindanao and Manila until the age of 11. She is fluent in English, Tagalog, Spanish and several other Philippine languages.

In 1961, when Arroyo was just 14 years' old, her father was elected as president. She moved with her family into Malacañang Palace in Manila. A municipality was named in her honor, Gloria, Oriental Mindoro. She attended Assumption Convent for her elementary and high school education, graduating valedictorian in 1964. Arroyo then studied for two years at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. where she was a classmate of future United States President Bill Clinton and achieved consistent Dean's list status. [cite web |url= |title=Gloria Arroyo, The Most Powerful Women |accessdate=2007-06-04 |date=2005-11-01 |publisher=Forbes] She then earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Assumption College, graduating magna cum laude in 1968.

In 1968, Arroyo married lawyer and businessman Jose Miguel Arroyo of Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, whom she had met while still a teenager. They had three children, Juan Miguel (born 1969), Evangelina Lourdes (born 1971) and Diosdado Ignacio Jose Maria (born in 1974). She pursued a Master's Degree in Economics from the Ateneo de Manila University (1978) and a Doctorate Degree in Economics from the University of the Philippines (1985). [cite web |url= |title=President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Biography |accessdate=2007-06-04 |publisher=Office of the President] From 1977 to 1987, she held teaching positions in different schools, notably the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University. She became chairperson of the Economics Department at Assumption College.

In 1987 she was invited by President Corazon Aquino to join the government as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry. She was promoted to Undersecretary two years later. In her concurrent position as Executive Director of the Garments and Textile Export Board, Arroyo oversaw the rapid growth of the garment industry in the late 1980s.


Arroyo entered politics in the 1992 election, running for senator. At the first general election under the 1987 Constitution, the top twelve vote-getting senatorial candidates would win a six-year term, and the next twelve candidates would win a three-year term. [cite web |url= |title=Article 18: Transitory Provisions |accessdate=2007-06-05 |work=The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines |publisher=The Official Website of the Republic of the Philippines] Arroyo ranked 13th in the elections, earning a three-year term. She was re-elected in 1995, topping the senatorial elections with nearly 16 million votes.

As a legislator, Arroyo filed over 400 bills and authored or sponsored 55 laws during her tenure as senator, including the Anti-Sexual Harassment Law, the Indigenous People's Rights Law, and the Export Development Act.

The 1995 Mining Act, which allows 100% foreign ownership of Philippine mines, has come under fire from left-wing political groups.

Vice Presidency

Arroyo considered a run for the presidency in the 1998 election, but was persuaded by President Fidel V. Ramos and leaders of the administration party Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats to instead seek the vice-presidency as the running mate of its presidential candidate, House Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr.cite book |last=Malaya |first=J. Eduardo |coauthors=Jonathan E. Malaya |title=...So Help Us God: The Presidents of the Philippines and Their Inaugural Addresses |year=2004 |publisher=Anvil Publishing |location=Pasig City |isbn=971-27-1487-X |pages=pp. 301-303] Though the latter lost to popular former actor Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Arroyo won the vice presidency by a large margin, garnering more than twice the votes of her closest opponent, Estrada's running mate Senator Edgardo Angara.cite web |url= |title=Results of the Past Presidential & Vice-Presidential Elections |accessdate=2007-06-04 |publisher=The Philippine Presidency Project]

Arroyo began her term as Vice President on June 30, 1998. She was appointed by Estrada to a concurrent position in the cabinet as Secretary of Social Welfare and Development.

Arroyo resigned from the cabinet in October 2000, distancing herself from President Estrada, who was accused of corruption by a former political supporter, Chavit Singson, Governor from Ilocos Sur.Estrada v. Arroyo, [ G.R. No. 146710-15.] (2001)] She had initially resisted pressure from allies to speak out against Estrada [ [ Philippine Vice President Quits Cabinet, Citing Scandal - New York Times ] ] , but eventually joined calls for Estrada's resignation.



On January 20, 2001, after days of political turmoil and popular revolt, the Supreme Court declared the presidency vacant. The military and the national police had earlier withdrawn their support for Estrada. At noon, Arroyo was sworn in as President of the Philippines by Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. Coincidentally, Arroyo assumed office the same day as US President George W. Bush.

Weeks later, Estrada filed a lawsuit challenging the legal basis of the Arroyo presidency and insisting he remained the lawful president, though adding he would not try to reclaim his post. [ [ New York Times - Ex-President in Philippines Sues to Reclaim at Least His Dignity] ] The Supreme Court issued its decision on March 2, 2001, asserting that Estrada had resigned the presidency and relinquished his post. The court unanimously voted to dismiss Estrada's petition, reaffirming the legitimacy of Arroyo's presidency.

EDSA III uprising

On May 1, 2001, a week after Estrada was arrested on charges of plunder, an estimated 40,000 protesters sympathetic to Estrada degenerated into violence and stormed the presidential palace in an attempt to force Arroyo from office. [ New York Times - 'State of Rebellion' Declared After Siege at Manila Palace] ] Four people died, including two policemen, and more than 100 were wounded in clashes between security forces and rioters. [ New York Times - After 'Disorder Has Subsided,' Philippines Lifts Its Emergency] ] After being dispersed the crowd had looted stores and burned cars. Arroyo declared a 'state of rebellion' in Manila and ordered the arrests of opposition leaders who lead the uprising and conspired to topple the government. The state of rebellion was lifted one week later with Arroyo declaring "the disorder has subsided".

Support for the opposition and Estrada subsequently dwindled after the victory of administration allied candidates in the midterm elections that was held later that month. Arroyo outlined her vision for the country as "building a strong republic" throughout her tenure. Her agenda consists of building up a strong bureaucracy, lowering crime rates, increasing tax collection, improving economic growth, and intensifying counter-terrorism efforts.

Oakwood mutiny

The Oakwood mutiny occurred in the Philippines on July 27, 2003. A group of 321 armed soldiers who called themselves "Bagong Katipuneros"cite news | last =Laurel | first =Herman T | title =Small setback... | pages = | publisher =The Daily Tribune | date = 2006-02-22 | url = | accessdate = 2007-08-10] led by Army Capt. Gerardo Gambala and Lt. Antonio Trillanes IV of the Philippine Navy took over the Oakwood Premier Ayala Center (now Ascott Makati) serviced apartment tower in Makati City to show the Filipino people the alleged corruption of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration. They also stated that they saw signs suggesting that the President was going to declare martial law.

Jose Pidal controversy

In August 18, 2003, Senator Panfilo Lacson accused Jose Miguel Arroyo, the president's husband, of siphoning campaign funds into a bank account under the fictitious name "Jose Pidal". The accusations were never legally substantiated. [cite web |url= |title=Mike Arroyo: President's 'buffer, shield, eyes and ears' |accessdate=2007-06-04 |last=Ubac |first=Michael Lim |date=2007-04-13 |publisher=Philippine Daily Inquirer]

The 2004 election and subsequent rigging allegations

Although the Philippine Constitution bars a president from reelection, it allows for the election of a person who has succeeded as president and has served for not more than four years. [cite web |url= |title=Article 7: Executive Department |accessdate=2007-06-04 |work=The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines |publisher=The Official Website of the Republic of the Philippines] In December 2002, Arroyo made the surprise announcement that she would not seek a new term in the Philippine general election, 2004. Ten months later, however, she reversed her position and declared her intention to seek a direct mandate from the people, saying "there is a higher cause to change society... in a way that nourishes our future". [cite web |url= |title=Arroyo U-turn on re-election bid |accessdate=2006-06-04 |date=2003-10-04 |publisher=CNN]

Arroyo faced a tough election campaign in early 2004 against Estrada friend and popular actor Fernando Poe, Jr., senator and former police general Panfilo Lacson, former senator Raul Roco, and Christian evangelist Eddie Villanueva. Her campaign platform centered on a shift to a parliamentary and federal form of government, job creation, universal health insurance, anti-illegal drugs, and anti-terrorism.

Arroyo lagged behind Poe in the polls prior to the campaign season, but her popularity steadily climbed to surpass Poe's. [cite web |url= |title=SWS May 1-4, 2004 Survey |accessdate=2007-06-04 |last=Mangahas |first=Mahar |date=2004-05-08 |publisher=Social Weather Stations] As predicted by pre-election surveys and exit polls, she won the election by a margin of over a million votes against her closest rival, Fernando Poe, Jr. She took her oath of office on June 30, 2004. In a break with tradition, She chose to first deliver her inaugural address at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila before departing to Cebu City for her oath taking, the first time a Philippine president took the oath of office outside of Luzon.

In the middle of 2005, Samuel Ong who is a former deputy director of the country's National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) claimed to have audio tapes of wiretapped conversations between President Arroyo and an official of the Commission on Elections. According to Ong, the contents of the tape prove that the 2004 national election was rigged by Arroyo in order to win by around one million votes. On June 27, Arroyo admitted to inappropriately speaking to a Comelec official, claiming it was a "lapse in judgement", but denied influencing the outcome of the election. Attempts to impeach Arroyo failed later that year.

Two witnesses, Antonio Rasalan and Clinton Colcol, stepped forward in August 2006, claiming involvement in an alleged plot to alter the results for the May 2004 elections. Rasalan claimed that he was fully convinced that the election returns presented at the House of Representatives were manufactured and had replaced the original documents.

Colcol, a tabulator for the Commission on Elections (Comelec), said that Arroyo only received 1,445 votes, while Poe received 2,141 in South Upi, Maguindanao during the May 2004 elections. [cite web |url= |title=2 men claim cheating for Arroyo in '04 election |accessdate=2006-09-13 |author=Norman Bordadora |date=2006-08-18 |publisher=Philippine Daily Inquirer] [ [ Senate election results could mean tough time ahead Arroyo -, Philippine News for Filipinos ] ]

On January 25, 2008, Pulse Asia survey (commissioned by Genuine Opposition (GO) per former Senator Sergio Osmeña III) stated that 58% percent of Filipinos in Mindanao believed that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cheated in the Philippine general election, 2004. 70% also "believed that because of recurring allegations of election fraud, the credibility of the balloting process in Mindanao was at a record low." [ [ GMA NEWS.TV, Most Mindanaoans believe Arroyo cheated in ’04 polls - Pulse] ]

tate of Emergency

On Friday, February 24, 2006, an alleged coup d'état plot was uncovered in the Philippines, headed by Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim.

The declaration of Proclamation No. 1017 gave Gloria Macapagal Arroyo the power to issue warrantless (and until then unconstitutional) arrests and to take over private institutions that run public utilities.

The President, through the Department of Education, suspended classes in elementary and high school levels. In response, colleges and universities suspended classes. By virtue of PP 1017, she declared a State of Emergency for the whole country in an attempt to quell rebellion as her grip on power began to slip, stop lawless violence and promote peace and stability. The government's first move after the declaration was to disperse demonstrators, particularly the groups picketing along EDSA. Former Philippine president Corazon Aquino was among those that protested, along with leftist and extreme right activists. A number of public figures were reported to have been arrested.

After the foiling of the plot and the dispersal of the rallies, PP 1017 continued for a week on threats of military plots (such as the military stand-off of February 26 at Fort Bonifacio headed by Col. Ariel Querubin), violence, illegal rallies and public disturbance.

Six leftist representatives - Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casiño, and Joel Virador of Bayan Muna, Liza Maza of GABRIELA, and Crispin Beltran and Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis - were charged with rebellion. Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis was arrested on February 25 on charges of inciting to sedition and rebellion. To avoid further arrest, the other five found shelter at the Batasan Complex.

On Saturday, February 25, the office of the "Daily Tribune", a newspaper known as a hard-hitting critic of the Arroyo administration, was raided. After the raid, an issuance of Journalism Guideline followed, authored by the government in order to cope with the "present abnormal situation", according to then Chief of Staff Michael Defensor. The move to suppress freedom of the press against the "Daily Tribune" was criticized by Reporters Without Borders.cite web |url= |title=Philippines |accessdate=2007-04-06 |year=2007 |work=Annual report 2007 |publisher=Reporters Without Borders]

The decree was lifted on March 3, 2006. However the opposition, lawyers, and concerned citizens filed a complaint in the Supreme Court contesting the constitutionality of PP 1017. The court, on May 4, declared the proclamation constitutional, but said it was illegal to issue warrantless arrests and seize private institutions.

The Manila Peninsula Rebellion

The Peninsula Manila Rebellion was a rebellion in the Philippines on November 29, 2007. Detained Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, General Lim and other Magdalo officials walked out of their trial and marched through the streets of Makati City, called for the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and seized the second floor of The Peninsula Manila Hotel along Ayala Avenue. Former Vice-President Teofisto Guingona also joined the march to the hotel.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Brigadier Gen. Danilo Lim surrendered to authorities after an armored personnel carrier rammed into the lobby of the hotel. [ [ Gma News, Trillanes, Lim decide to call it quits - report] ] Director Geary Barias declared that the standoff at the Manila Peninsula Hotel is over as Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim along with other junior officers agreed to leave the hotel and surrender to Barias after the 6 hour siege. [ [ GMA News, 'It's over,' says Barias of hotel standoff] ] There was difficulty getting out for a while due to the tear gas that was covering the area where they were hiding.

Days after the mutiny, the Makati City Regional Trial Court dismissed the rebellion charges against all the 14 civilians involved in the siege, and ordered their release.

National Broadband Network Scandal

The Philippine National Broadband Network controversy is a political affair that centers upon allegations of corruption primarily involving Former Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Benjamin Abalos, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regarding the proposed government-managed National Broadband Network (NBN) for the Philippines and the awarding of its construction to the Chinese firm Zhong Xing Telecommunication Equipment Company Limited (ZTE), a telecommunications and networking equipment provider.

The issue has captivated Filipino politics since it erupted in Philippine media around August 2007, largely through the articles of newspaper columnist Jarius Bondoc of the Philippine Star. It has also taken an interesting turn of events, including the resignation of Abalos as COMELEC chairman, the alleged bribery of congressmen and provincial governors (dubbed as "Bribery in the Palace"), the unseating of Jose de Venecia, Jr. as House Speaker, and the alleged "kidnapping" of designated National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) consultant-turned-NBN/ZTE witness Rodolfo Noel "Jun" Lozada, Jr.

The Spratly Islands Joint Exploration Agreement

In connection to the Philippine National Broadband Network controversy, The Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) is a tripartite agreement between the Philippines, China and Vietnam to conduct seismic exploration in an area spanning 142,886 square kilometers west of Palawan. More specifically it is an agreement between Philippine National Oil Company -Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC), China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation (PetroVietnam), that was signed in September 2004 and took effect in July 2005.cite journal |last=Ho |first=Abigail L. |coauthors=Juliet Labog-Javellana |title=Arroyo hit on Spratlys deal |journal=Philippine Daily Inquirer |location=Manila |date=2008-03-07 |url= |accessdate=2008-03-09] JMSU has already finished the first phase of the seismic exploration which lasted from September 1 to November 16, 2006, covering 11,000 line kilometers. A Chinese vessel conducted the survey, Vietnam processed the data gathered and this was interpreted by PNOC-EC in Manila. The second phase started in October 2007, covering 11,800 line kilometers. It was supposedly to end January 2008.


Arroyo, a practicing economist, has made the economy the focus of her presidency. Economic growth in terms of gross domestic product has averaged 5.0% during the Arroyo presidency from 2001 up to the first quarter of 2008. [ [ Economic Indicators Table] , National Economic Development Authority] This is higher than previous recent presidents when compared to the 3.8% average of Aquino, the 3.7% average of Ramos, and the 2.8% average of Joseph Estrada. The Philippine economy grew at its fastest pace in three decades in 2007, with real GDP growth exceeding 7%. [ [ Philippines Economy Profile 2008] ] Inflation during the Arroyo presidency has been the lowest since 1986, averaging 2.5%. [cite web |title=The best president after Marcos |last=Lopez |first=Tony |publisher=ABS-CBN News |url= |accessdate=2007-06-04]

A controversial expanded value added tax (e-VAT) law, considered the centerpiece of the Arroyo administration's economic reform agenda [ [ Arroyo facing a dilemma after voiding of new tax - International Herald Tribune] ] , was implemented in November 2005, aiming to complement revenue-raising efforts that could plug the country's large budget deficit. The country aims to balance the national budget by 2010. The tax measure boosted confidence in the government's fiscal capacity and helped to strengthen the Philippine peso, making it East Asia's best performing currency in 2005-06. [ [ CIA - The World Factbook - Philippines] ] The peso strengthened by nearly 20% in 2007, making it by far Asia's best performing currency for the year, a fact attributed to a combination of increased remittances from overseas Filipino workers and a strong domestic economy. [ [ Pacific Newsletter] ]

Arroyo's handling of the economy has earned praise from observers including former US President Bill Clinton, who praised Arroyo for making "tough decisions" that put the Philippine economy back in shape. [ [ Arroyo shares spotlight with global leaders in forum -, Philippine News for Filipinos<]

The managing director of the World Bank, Juan Jose Daboub, criticized the administration for not doing enough to curb corruption.cite web |url= |title=WB exec laments RP’s slow growth |accessdate=2008-03-26 |format= |work= ] cite web |url= |title=The World Bank smells corruption |accessdate=2008-03-26 |format= |work= ]

Early in her presidency, Arroyo implemented a controversial policy of holiday economics, adjusting holidays to form longer weekends with the purpose of boosting domestic tourism and allowing Filipinos more time with their families. [cite web |url= |title=GMA bares list of holidays |accessdate=2007-06-05 |last=Calica |first=Aurea |date=2007-01-19 |publisher=ABS-CBN News]

International relations

The Arroyo administration has forged a strong relationship with the United States. Arroyo was one of the first world leaders who expressed support for the US-led coalition against global terrorism in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and remains one of its closest allies in the war on terror. [ - Philippines begins Iraq pullout - July 16, 2004] ] Following the US-led invasion of Iraq, in July 2003 the Philippines sent a small humanitarian contingent which included medics and engineers. These troops were recalled in July 2004 in response to the kidnapping of Filipino truck driver Angelo de la Cruz. With the hostage takers demands met, the hostage was released. The force was previously due to leave Iraq the following month. The early pullout drew international condemnation, with the United States protesting against the action, saying giving in to terrorist demands should not be an option.

Arroyo's foreign policy is anchored on building strong ties with the United States, East Asian and Southeast Asian nations, and countries where overseas Filipino workers work and live.] In 2007, the Philippines was host to the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu City.

On August 21, 2007, Gloria's administration asked the Senate of the Philippines to ratify a $4bn (£2bn) trade deal with Japan (signed on 2006 with the former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi), which would create more than 300,000 jobs (by specifically increasing local exports such as shrimp to Japan). Japan also promised to hire at least 1,000 Philippine nurses. The opposition-dominated senate objected on the ground that toxic wastes would be sent to the Philippines; the government denied this due to the diplomatic notes which stated that it would not be accepting Japanese waste in exchange for economic concessions. [ [ BBC NEWS, Philippines fight over trade deal] ]

Domestic policies

Charter change

In 2005, Arroyo initiated a movement for an overhaul of the constitution to transform the present presidential-bicameral republic into a federal parliamentary-unicameral form of government. [cite news|first=Lira|last=Dalangin-Fernandez|url=|title=People's support for Charter change 'nowhere to go but up'|publisher=Philippine Daily Inquirer|date=2006-07-27|accessdate=2006-07-27] At her 2005 State of the Nation Address, she claimed "The system clearly needs fundamental change, and the sooner the better. It's time to start the great debate on Charter Change". [cite web |url= |title=2005 State of the Nation Address |accessdate=2007-06-06 |date=2005-07-25 |publisher=The Official Website of the Republic of the Philippines]

In late 2006, the House of Representatives shelved a plan to revise the constitution through constituent assembly. [cite web |url= |title=Arroyo allies retreat |accessdate=2007-06-06 |last=Ubac |first=Michael Lim |date=2006-12-12 |publisher=Philippine Daily Inquirer]

Executive Order No. 464 and calibrated preemptive response

In late September 2005, Arroyo issued an executive order stating that demonstrations without permits would be pre-emptively stopped. Then members of the military testified in Congressional hearings that they were defying a direct order not to testify about their knowledge of the election scandal. There is the issuance of Executive Order No. 464 forbidding government officials under the executive department from appearing in congressional inquiries without President Arroyo's prior consent. [] These measures were challenged before the Supreme Court, which apparently declared some sections as unconstitutional.

Human rights

A May 2006 Amnesty International report expressed concern over the sharp rise in vigilante killings of militant activists and community workers in the Philippines. [cite web |url= |title=2006 Elections to the Human Rights Council - Background information on candidate countries |accessdate=2006-09-13 |date=2006-05-01 |publisher=Amnesty International] Task Force Usig, a special police unit tasked to probe reported extra-judicial killings, by state run death squads counts 115 murders and says most of these are the result of an internal purge by communist rebels.cite web |title=Melo: Commission report 'complete' |last=Alberto |first=Thea |publisher=Philippine Daily Inquirer |date=2007-02-15 |url= |accessdate=2007-06-04] Human rights groups put the number as high as 830.

These violations were alleged to have been committed against left-leaning organizations and party-list groups including BAYAN, Bayan Muna and Anakpawis. These organizations accuse the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines for the deaths of these political opponents. Arroyo has condemned political killings "in the harshest possible terms" and urged witnesses to come forward."The report, which Melo submitted to Arroyo last month, reportedly linked state security forces to the murder of militants and recommended that military officials, notably retired major general Jovito Palparan, be held liable under the principle of command responsibility for killings in their areas of assignment."cite web |url= |title=State of the Nation Address of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo |accessdate=2007-06-05 |date=2006-07-24 |publisher=The Official Website of the Republic of the Philippines] [ [ STOP Extra-Judicial Killings in the Philippines ] ] [ [ PC(USA) News: ‘Graft and corruption’ ] ] [ [} Radio Pinoy USA ] ] [ [ Scared Silent: Impunity for Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines ] ]

General Palparan who retired September 11, 2006 has been appointed by President Arroyo to be part of the Security Council. This has alarmed left-leaning political parties about the potential for human rights violations. [cite web |url= |title=Reign of terror continues |accessdate=2006-09-13 |author=Norman Borbadora |coauthors=Michael Lim Ubac |date=2006-09-09 |publisher=Philippine Daily Inquirer]

An independent commission was assembled in August 2006 to investigate the killings. Headed by former Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo, the group known as the Melo Commission concluded that most of the killings were instigated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, but found no proof linking the murder of activists to a "national policy" as claimed by the left-wing groups. On the other hand the report "linked state security forces to the murder of militants and recommended that military officials, notably retired major general Jovito Palparan, be held liable under the principle of command responsibility for killings in their areas of assignment." Stricter anti-terror laws have also caused some concern in recent years.

Under Arroyo's government, the Philippines has become second only to Iraq as the world's riskiest place to report the news, with 23 journalists killed since 2003 [ [,9171,1561201,00.html A Philippine Shame] ]

In her July 23, 2007 State of the Nation Address, Arroyo has set out her agenda for her last three years in office, and called for legislation to deal with a spate of political killings that have brought international criticism to her presidency. She promised to bring peace to the troubled south, and also defended a controversial new anti-terrorism legislation. Arroyo told the joint session of Congress that "I would rather be right than popular."cite web |url= |title=Arroyo lays out economic agenda |accessdate=2007-07-23 |date=2007-07-23 |publisher=BBC News] Lawmakers and lawyers, however, were dismayed by the SONA's failure to highlight and address this major hindrance to human rights. Specifically, the Alternative Law Groups (ALG) echoed the lawmakers’ position that Mrs Arroyo failed to take responsibility for the problem. [ [ GMANews.TV - SONA: Prexy's silence on killings hit by lawmakers - Nation - Official Website of GMA News and Public Affairs - Latest Philippine News - BETA ] ]

In 2007, incidences of extrajudicial killings dropped 87%, with the decline attributed to the creation of a special task force to handle the killings. [cite news | url= | title=PNP: Extrajudicial killings fell by 83% in 2007 | | date=2008-01-14]

Amnesty proclamation

On ,September 5, 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Amnesty Proclamation 1377 for members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army; other communist rebel groups; and their umbrella organization, the National Democratic Front. The amnesty will cover the crime of rebellion and all other crimes "in pursuit of political beliefs"," but not including crimes against chastity, rape, torture, kidnapping for ransom, use and trafficking of illegal drugs and other crimes for personal ends and violations of international law or convention and protocols "even if alleged to have been committed in pursuit of political beliefs"." The National Committee on Social Integration (NCSI) will issue a Certificate of Amnesty to qualified applicants. Implementing rules and regulations are being drafted and the decree will be submitted to the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives for their concurrence. The proclamation becomes effective only after Congress has concurred. [ [, Arroyo signs amnesty proclamation for communists] ]

Estrada pardon

On October 25, 2007, Arroyo granted pardon to Joseph Estrada based on the recommendation by the Department of Justice. Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye quoted the signed Order: "In view hereof in pursuant of the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution, I hereby grant Executive clemency to Joseph Ejercito Estrada, convicted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder and imposed a penalty of reclusion perpetua. He is hereby restored to his civil and political rights."Bunye noted that Estrada committed in his application not to seek public office, and he would be free from his Tanay resthouse on October 26, noon. [ [, Philippine leader pardons ex-president Estrada] ] [ [, Arroyo grants pardon to Estrada] ] [ [ GMA News, Estrada granted executive clemency] ]

The Sumilao Farmers' March

On December 3, 2007, 55 farmers of the Higaonon tribe from Sumilao, Bukidnon arrived in Metro Manila, 2 months after their march through 13 provinces from Mindanao to ask the government to stop the conversion of the land they are claiming into a hog farm. The farmers petitioned the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to issue a cease-and-desist order (CDO) on the contested 144-hectare property in Barangay (village) San Vicente, Sumilao which San Miguel Foods Inc. (SMFI) converted into a hog farm. The Supreme Court of the Philippines had earlier dismissed the farmers' rights lack of legal standing. Farmer Tuminhay stated that: “Our titles were cancelled because Norberto Quisumbing was allowed to convert his land on condition that he would implement a five-year development plan. Since he did not implement the plan, it is only proper that DAR renew the CARP process and give us back our titles.” Quisumbing's development plan for the property included the establishment of a development academy, a cultural center, an institute for livelihood science, a museum, library, golf course, a sports development complex, an agro-industrial park, forest development and support facilities, and construction of a 360-room hotel, restaurant, housing projects, inter alia. [ [, Protesting Sumilao farmers reach Manila After 2-month march from Mindanao] ] On December 17, 2007, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo revoked the conversion order on the disputed 144-hectare lot in Sumilao, Bukidnon, resulting to the return of the land ownership to the 55 members of the Higaonon tribe farmers who marched 1,700 kilometers for 2 months from Mindanao to Metro Manila. The order, signed by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, reads: “Wherefore premises considered and as recommended by DAR, the petition for cancellation and/or revocation of the conversion order covering 144 hectares of hereby granted.” San Miguel Foods as landowner must be paid the current value of the property before the land can be distributed to the farmers. [ [, Palace restores Sumilao land to agricultural use] ]

Criticism and public perception

According to a survey conducted by Pulse Asia from October 20 to 31, a pluralty of Filipinos (at 42%, beating former president and strongman Ferdinand Marcos by 7%) consider Arroyo the "most corrupt (president) in the history of the Philippines". [ [ Survey: Arroyo most corrupt, Aquino cleanest of 5 prexies] ] A November 30 - December 3, 2007 Social Weather Stations survey found Arroyo's net satisfaction rating at -16 (32% satisfied minus 48% dissatisfied). [ [ SWS Media Release] ]

The Social Weather Stations 2nd Quarter 2008 survey revealed that Arroyo is the 'Most popular leader', since 1986. Her net satisfaction rating (the difference between those satisfied and dissatisfied) dived to -38 points from -26 in March, 2007. It was a 12-point drop from net -26 (27% satisfied, 54% dissatisfied) in the last March 28 to 31, 2008 survey. It was the 4th consecutive drop since June 2007's neutral -3. Her previous worst was a -33 rating in May 2005. [ [, 'Most unpopular leader', Arroyo approval ratings dive to -38 in June] ]


Arroyo is both Chief Scout of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and Chief Girl Scout of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines. [cite web |url= |title=National Leadership (2005-2006) |accessdate=2007-06-04 |publisher=Boy Scouts of the Philippines] [cite web |url= |title=Central Board |accessdate=2007-06-04 |publisher=Girl Scouts of the Philippines]


External links

* [ Office of the President of the Philippines]
* [ President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo official website]
* ['s-Notebook-Ang-Palasyo--Reporter's-Notebook-Special Reporter's Notebook: Ang Palasyo Reporter's Notebook Special, 12/04/2007]

Incumbent succession box
before = Joseph E. Estrada
title = President of the Philippines
start = 2001
Succession box
before = Joseph E. Estrada
title = Vice President of the Philippines
years = 1998 &ndash; 2001
after = Teofisto Guingona
Succession box
before = Teofisto Guingona
title = Secretary of Foreign Affairs
years = 2002
after = Blas Ople
Succession box
before = Angelo Reyes
title = Secretary of National Defense
years = 2003
after = Eduardo Ermita
Succession box
before = Franklin Ebdalin
title = Secretary of Foreign Affairs
years = 2003
after = Delia Albert
Succession box
before = Avelino Cruz
title = Secretary of National Defense
years = 2006 – 2007
after = Hermogenes Ebdane

NAME=Arroyo, Gloria Macapagal
SHORT DESCRIPTION=14th President of the Philippines
DATE OF BIRTH=April 5, 1947
PLACE OF BIRTH=San Juan, Rizal, Philippines

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