CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Healthy, happy and no sign of political pressure.
Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo projected herself this way in her campaign posters that were put up all over the second district of Pampanga, where she is seeking a second term as a member of the House of Representatives.
The posters did not show her wearing a brace that has become a regular fixture on her neck after she underwent surgery for a degenerative bone disease. The same posters showed a younger Arroyo flashing a wide smile and wearing a blue blouse.
The seal of the Lakas political party, whose membership had dwindled in Pampanga, is printed on the top right corner of the poster.
But when the 65-year-old Arroyo will actually press flesh in the district’s six towns is uncertain.
Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo, one of her political allies in the province, had no information if she was able to get a permit from the court to leave Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City and stay in Pampanga to campaign for her reelection bid.
“What I know is that we will be celebrating her birthday, through a Mass at Veterans on April 5,” Pelayo said by telephone.
On Monday, it was Arroyo’s eldest son, Ang Galing Pinoy Representative Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, who launched her campaign in Lubao town.
Mikey went around the biggest villages of Lubao, the hometown of Arroyo’s father, the late former President Diosdado Macapagal.
Mikey, however, declined to comment on how his mother would campaign for a second term.
In 2010, when she ran for representative after finishing her term, Arroyo visited the district more than 60 times. She led a district-wide motorcade shortly before that year’s election.
Arroyo was arrested for alleged electoral fraud in July 2011 and was freed on bail due to the failure of the prosecutor to present strong evidence.
However, she was jailed again for a plunder case involving the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds.
Arroyo is facing lawyer Vivian Dabu of the Liberal Party and independent candidates, lawyer Charlie Chia and Sasmuan Mayor Josefina Leoncio, in the race. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon