Arroyo to seek 2nd congressional term despite ailment, says allyBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Despite her health problems, the “workaholic” former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo would seek a second term as Pampanga representative in the 2013 polls, and her allies are behind her quest, Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez said Wednesday.
At the same time, Arroyo’s partymates at the Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats are determined to play a role in the senatorial elections by endorsing candidates from the administration slate and from the United Nationalist Alliance, Suarez added.
The list of the candidates has yet to be finalized, but one sure name is that of Zambales Representative Milagros Magsaysay, who is running under UNA. Magsaysay, like Suarez, is a member of the House minority.
President Benigno Aquino’s Liberal Party is fielding a roster that would include candidates from its partners Nationalist People’s Coalition and Nacionalista Party.
Despite its dwindling membership, Suarez said Lakas could still muster enough votes from its supporters at the local level to make a difference in the standing of several senatorial candidates.
“We still have good command votes,” he said in a press briefing Wednesday.
“If you look at the members … these are governors and congressmen and city mayors that have command votes. If you give their fanatics sample ballots, they will follow these. So the help of the party would help a candidate, even if we may not have the superiority in numbers like in 2010,” he added.
Lakas may even get more than a million votes for aspiring senators, he further said.
He also said that for the candidates battling it out for the lower rankings in the 12 slots for the Senate, the votes from Lakas supporters could spell the difference. According to him, the candidates in the last few slots may only have a few thousand or a few hundred votes’ difference between them.
Lakas has about 160 members consisting of congressmen, governors and mayors. It used to be the dominant party during Arroyo’s presidency. But since then, its members have jumped to other groups.
As for Arroyo, whose health has supposedly not markedly improved since her release from detention in July, Suarez said she was intent on pushing on with running for another term. He talked to Arroyo last week, and she confirmed her plan to him.
Suarez also said Arroyo would rather be busy than idle. “I can’t imagine how she feels if she would be doing nothing.”
Her allies are behind her decision, and as far as he knows, nobody has dissuaded her from joining the 2013 polls.
“We’re happy that she decided to run,” he said.
But he also said Arroyo would have to work on improving her health so that she could better serve her district.
Arroyo, who underwent three cervical spine surgeries last year to deal with neck pain due to a degenerative bone condition, has been losing weight because, as her doctors had explained, the titanium plate implanted on her spine is shifting and causing her difficulty in breathing and swallowing food.
She has little appetite to eat and last time Suarez saw her, she was down to 88 pounds. She is also undergoing regular therapy as well as stem cell therapy, and has been wearing a neck brace since her first surgery.
But despite her ill health, she still shows up at the House of Representatives from time to time, although she could not stay long.