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GMA to take oath with other provincial officials

President Arroyo waves to personnel of the Office of the President after leading the flag-raising ceremony for the last time as chief executive yesterday.        WILLY PEREZ

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga , Philippines  – Outgoing President and congresswoman-elect Gloria Arroyo, together with governor-elect Lilia Pineda and other elected provincial officials here, will take their oaths of office tomorrow.

After turning over the reins of government to president-elect Benigno Aquino III, Arroyo will proceed to this province to take her oath before Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura as representative of Pampanga’s second district.

The oath-taking ceremony will be held at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center.

Arroyo received an overwhelming mandate against her three political foes – Adonis Simpao, Filipinas Rosario Sampang and Feliciano Serrano – in the May 10 elections.

Her 169,109 votes gave her a margin of 148,187 against her closest rival Simpao of the Liberal Party, who got 20,922.

The second district, which comprises the municipalities of Guagua, Sta. Rita, Porac, Floridablanca, Lubao and Sasmuan, was formerly represented by the President’s son Juan Miguel Arroyo.

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Joining Mrs. Arroyo in the mass oath-taking are re-elected vice governor Roseller Guiao, Rep. Carmelo Lazatin (1st district), Aurelio Gonzales (3rd district) and Anna York-Bondoc (4th district).

Elected mayors of the province will also join in the oath-taking rites.

Meanwhile, a congresswoman who was a frequent travel companion of President Arroyo has expressed her desire to sit beside the outgoing chief executive in the 15th Congress.

Re-elected Pangasinan third district Rep. Rachel Arenas said congressmen are seated based on their regions. She hails from Region 1 while Mrs. Arroyo will be seated in the row of congressmen from Region 3.

However, she said they might eventually end up as seatmates because House of Representative members are allowed to sit where they feel comfortable during session.

Although they will be equals in Congress, Arenas said she still has high regard for the outgoing president, who administered her oath of office on June 23.

She added that Mrs. Arroyo must be congratulated for the work she has done for the country for almost 10 years despite all the attacks hurled against her.

Arenas told The STAR that despite criticisms against Mrs. Arroyo, she was steadfast in leading the country to progress. – Eva Visperas, Paolo Romero

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