FLORIDABLANCA, Pampanga—The children of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have been visible of late in the province’s second district, standing in her place while she is on hospital arrest for a plunder case.
Despite her health condition and legal troubles, Arroyo did not withdraw her candidacy and is pursuing her bid for a second term as Pampanga representative.
Her children, Ang Galing Pinoy Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo and Evangelina Lourdes “Luli” Bernas, and her husband, lawyer Jose Miguel Arroyo, are registered voters in Lubao, a town in the second district where Arroyo’s father, the late former President Diosdado Macapagal, was born.
The Sandiganbayan had denied Arroyo’s request for a Christmas furlough in Lubao from Dec. 21 to Jan. 7.
Floridablanca Mayor Eduardo Guerrero said the presence of the Arroyo siblings during the holidays showed that Arroyo’s 2013 electoral campaign might involve more of her immediate family members.
“And I see no problem in that because it’s normal to be helped by your own family. [The participation of her relatives in the election campaign means that] Congresswoman Arroyo is not abandoned,” he said.
“We will also be campaigning for her,” Guerrero said, referring to the officials of Guagua, Lubao, Sasmuan, Sta. Rita, Floridablanca and Porac.
Arroyo did little campaigning close to the 2010 elections because a year before that and without yet declaring her candidacy, she had visited the second district towns more than 60 times and funneled nearly P4 billion worth of projects, especially in Lubao.
Lawyers Charlie Chua and Vivian Dabu, and Sasmuan Mayor Josefina Leoncio, a niece of Rep. Catalina Bagasina of the party-list group Ale, are challenging Arroyo.
Chua, running as an independent, used to be a nominee of Ang Galing Pinoy, which the Commission on Elections had disqualified for the May 2013 elections. Dabu is being fielded by the Liberal Party.
Luli, who rarely attended public events, has been representing Arroyo in town fiestas and Masses held for such occasions lately.
She pitched in for her mother in the Christmas party of the National Irrigation Administration here last week. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon