Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a different kind of presidential Georgetown alum


Bill Clinton (SFS ’68) wasn’t the only president to come through Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service during the ’60s.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the current president of the Philippines, attended the SFS, too. Arroyo didn’t graduate from Georgetown, but she did study here for two years while Clinton was an undergraduate. In fact, Clinton recalled her as his “friend, a long, long time ago” when he attended a ceremony for the Clinton Global Initiative in the Philippines in 2007, and spoke admirably of the tough decisions she had made as the leader of her country.

Like Clinton’s, Arroyo’s term in office has also been marked by legal troubles … and that’s about where the similarities end.

Arroyo, notes every article about her presidency, is incredibly unpopular. She has had to stave off impeachment several times, and her administration is supposed to be behind several serious corruption scandals and the killing or kidnapping of many Filipino activists.

Most recently, “[h]er closest political allies in the southern Philippines were implicated last week in the massacre of 57 people, most of them journalists, in the country’s worst case of election-related violence,” writes Carlos Conde in the New York Times.

So when Arroyo announced on Monday that she would run for a seat in Congress in next year’s elections, it prompted speculation that she was doing so to retain immunity from prosecution, or so that she could use her clout to become prime minister—after creating the position herself.

Arroyo actually does have one last thing in common with Clinton—hers is a political family. A bizarre detail of this story is that the person who currently holds the seat she intends to run for—who said he will step aside for her to run—is Juan Miguel Arroyo, her son.

Photo from Flickr.

2 Comments on “Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a different kind of presidential Georgetown alum

  1. Pingback: Vox Populi » Costa Rica elects first female president, Georgetown grad Laura Chinchilla

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