GMA makes it to Time’s ‘People Who Mattered’ list for 2005

- Ann Corvera -
She may have been afraid or petrified, but she survived — this year, at least.

"A survivor," was how Time Magazine described President Arroyo in naming her as one of the "People Who Mattered" in 2005.

In its latest issue, Time recognized the President as having weathered a line of impeachment cases, her husband and son’s alleged profiting from jueteng, coup rumors, and pretty much the general "gloom" cast over the nation’s economic and political skies due to corruption and poverty.

"She says it’s her faith in God that sustains her," said Time of the devout Catholic president.

The Dec. 26, 2005-Jan. 2, 2006 issue of Time had on its cover three "Good Samaritans" as "Persons of the Year" — rock star and debt relief advocate Bono of the band U2 and philanthropist-couple Bill and Melinda Gates.

Apart from Mrs. Arroyo, the lineup of "those who made a difference" this year included powerful politicians and personalities, a conservative new pope, Hollywood celebrities and a golfer.

The President was in the company of United States President George W. Bush and his Vice President Dick Cheney, US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Iran’s new president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — all survivors in their own right.

Then there’s Pope Benedict XVI, the "obvious choice" to succeed the late Pope John Paul II despite his conservatism, according to Time.

Flip the pages past a photograph of Mrs. Arroyo in one of her reflective moments, and there’s Darth Vader, "the movie icon we love to hate," said Time of the dark Jedi.

US Senators John McCain and Harry Reid were also on the list for playing their influence cards right on Bush; Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame, the controversial couple who got embroiled in the CIA leak scandal; Chinese oil tycoon Fu Chenyu; 16-year-old "wunderkind of women’s golf" Michelle Wie; and Asian actress Zhang Ziyi, who has made it big in Hollywood.

Perhaps as "misunderstood" as Darth Vader, Mrs. Arroyo has indeed gone through a lot over the past year, which could well be remembered as both the best and worst of times for her administration.

Sluggish ratings aside, the President has thus far powered her way through the start of her six-year term that began last year when she captured the May presidential election. Ironically, however, it was this victory that brought about months of impeachment nightmare.

Her faith apparently helped the diminutive president stand down a different kind of call — a clamor for her to resign amid allegations that she called a former election official to cheat her way to victory.

A magnet for controversies, First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo was accused of taking payoffs from the illegal numbers game jueteng before the "Hello, Garci" scandal erupted. The name of presidential son and Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo was dragged into the issue as well.

The House of Representatives eventually junked the impeachment complaints against the President while the jueteng congressional inquiry failed to deal a serious blow to her presidency.

Cries from the President’s opponents for her to quit have subsided — at least for now. And after the dust has settled, Mrs. Arroyo still remains in the seat of power.

In The STAR’s yearender report on the presidency last week, some analysts claimed she has been an accidental beneficiary of the people’s growing apathy.

"The low ratings from the beginning of the year, supposedly due to her unpopular measures like the expanded value-added tax, were enough to show that the people were far from satisfied with her presidency. But, observers noted, the rage was not enough to spark another people power revolt to unseat her," the report said.

The Arroyo administration is likely in for renewed rough waters when the new year begins, and the President may have to turn to her faith once again to tough it all out.

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