President Rodrigo Roa Duterte expressed his admiration on Tuesday, July 9 to former House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, claiming that he had ‘killed someone’ in the past for her.
During his speech at the appreciation dinner for Arroyo, Duterte said that her work in the executive and legislative branches of government helped the country propel to economic development. He added that he always held Arroyo in high esteem”for inspiring and disciplined leadership not only for my presidency but for the rest of the public as well.”
After 27 years, Arroyo announced that she will now be retiring from politics.
“Madame President, we raise our glasses for the invaluable contributions that you have made as a public servant. May your legacy shine to inspire millions of Filipinos as we move forward in realizing our dream of building a better and more prosperous Philippines for all,” Duterte said.
Duterte also reminisced how he would stay up late at night just to talk and seek the advice of Arroyo.
“Bilib ako sayo Ma’am because you might want to know that even when I was mayor, and for the years that President Arroyo was there, I was really working for her,” he said.
In the end, Duterte revealed that there was an instance wherein he “worked” for Arroyo back when he was still the mayor of Davao City.
“Of course wala akong pinatay na tao na utos niya. Pinatay ko na lang kasi feeling ko gusto niya. Maraming salamat po,” Duterte said. Back then, the chief executive has been accused of being involved in the Davao Death Squad, a vigilante group that is said to have summarily executed people in Davao City and other cities in Mindanao.
Arroyo extends gratitude
On the other hand, the former President thanked Duterte for supporting her, especially during the dismissal of her plunder case back in 2016.
“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, so that the court voted 11-5 in my favor, including half of those who were appointed by my successor,” Arroyo said.
Just months after Duterte assumed the presidency, the Supreme Court (SC) acquitted Arroyo over the million worth of misused funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
The ruling allowed her to walk free after nearly four years of hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial and Medical Center.