President Rodrigo Duterte may not mention former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo often in his speeches, but they apparently have a solid friendship that couldn’t be damaged by political scandals.
Speaking at the launch of Pilipinong May Puso Foundation Inc. in Davao City Friday (Nov. 11), Duterte acknowledged Arroyo’s presence in the audience and called her “my President.”
Addressing the former Chief Executive, the President said: “I told you before. You were still President, it was election time, I said: ‘Ma’am, I am a loyal friend.’ No big deal, except that along the way, talagang lalo na yung nagkagulo-gulo na, I just kept my faith to myself also that someday…”
While Duterte supported Arroyo’s successor, former President Benigno Aquino III, he said he “was never really in the company of the elite.”
He added that he never even managed to set foot in Malacañang during the previous administration, a departure, he said, from his weekly habit of going to the Palace when Arroyo was President.
“Panahon ni Ma’am Gloria, almost every week ako doon (Malacañang) nagre-report because I was appointed as a consultant for law and order,” the President said.
It was under Duterte’s term that the Supreme Court dismissed the plunder charges against Arroyo over the alleged misuse of P366-million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), allowing her to walk free after being under hospital detention since 2012.