President Duterte has named former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as his adviser on projects and programs in Clark, Pampanga, Malacañang confirmed.
In a text message to reporters on Thursday afternoon, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the Chief Executive tapped Arroyo as Presidential Adviser on Clark Flagship Project and Programs.
Arroyo had served as House Speaker for one year during the Duterte administration after members of the Lower House ousted Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.
The Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone is located in Pampanga, Arroyo’s home province.
Arroyo served as the country’s president from 2001 until 2010.
Duterte is known to be closely allied with Arroyo. He had described the former leader as a friend during his campaign for the presidency and even after he had been elected.
In a dinner arranged for Arroyo at the Manila Hotel in July 2019, Duterte praised the former president and said he drew inspiration from her particularly in strengthening the country’s armed forces.
In 2012, Arroyo was arrested in hospital on plunder charges for allegedly misusing P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) when she was still president. In July 2016, barely a month after Duterte assumed the presidency, the Supreme Court acquitted Arroyo of the said charges.
In July last year, Arroyo expressed gratitude to President Duterte for the dismissal of the plunder charges against her, resulting in her freedom.
She likewise 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.
Arroyo was detained at the Veterans Memorial and Medical Center for four years.