Lawmaker says GMA can be an asset to Duterte admin
Alexis Romero ( - June 8, 2016 - 8:39pm

DAVAO CITY – With talks swirling that the Supreme Court will soon decide on whether to free detained former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a lawmaker said she would be an “asset” to the Duterte administration if she decides to join the majority.

Arroyo, who served as president from 2001 to 2010, is facing plunder case for the alleged misuse of a P366 million intelligence fund of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. She has been under hospital arrest at the Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City since 2011 due to a back ailment.

Despite the corruption allegations thrown at her, Arroyo remained popular in her home province, managing to win as representative of the second district of Pampanga in 2010. She is about to serve her third and final term.

Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, a friend of Arroyo, said the former president is capable of handling key committees if she decides to join the House of Representatives majority.

“The former president will be an asset to the administration if she heads the Committee on Trade and Industry. That's where she's good at, or (Committee on) Economic Affairs,” Suarez said. 

On Tuesday, sources said the Supreme Court would act on Arroyo’s plunder case. The high court, however, did not issue a ruling on the case that day.

It remains unsure if Arroyo, a member of Lakas party, will align herself with the majority or the minority. If she chooses to side with the allies of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and if the high court absolves her from her case, there is a possibility that she would be named as chairperson of a House committee.

Suarez said he is scheduled to visit Arroyo in Manila today (June 9) to “ask her what she wants to do.”

Last month, Duterte revealed that Arroyo had refused his offer of pardon because it would require her to admit an offense.  

“I’m ready to grant pardon to Arroyo. Let me explain, Arroyo to my mind should also be released because all the others who were charged in connection with the (Philippine Charity) Sweepstakes (Office) expenditure of intelligence funds have been released,” the incoming president said in a press conference last May 23.   

“I said when I become president I will pardon her. I said I want to grant her pardon not because she is my friend but because I don’t think there’s a good case against her,” he added. 

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