My exclusive interview with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Disclaimer: Just for laughs!
Mark Madrona: Madam President, marami pong salamat sa pagpapaunlak ninyo sa isang panayam ngayong araw dito sa St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo: It’s my pleasure to speak to you. Alam mo naman, dominado ng mga kaalyado ni Noynoy Aquino ang media kahit nung kampanya pa.
MM: Madam, ano pong masasabi nyo sa pahayag ni Ricky Carandang na “your day in court has arrived”?
GMA: Well, yes, it did arrive. But it was a year and a half in the making! Estrada was detained just four months after leaving office, mind you.
MM: Mam, according to Atty. Raul Lambino (her legal spokesman) and Ms Elena Bautista-Horn, the charges against you was railroaded.
GMA: Obvious ba? Nagkaroon ng COMELEC resolution, pagsasampa ng kaso, at pag-issue ng arrest warrant in less than six hours! Daig pa nito ang MRT. It’s like the shinkansen!
MM: Madam, balikan lang po muna natin muna yung request ninyo to travel abroad for medical treatment.
GMA: Yes, salamat. Actually, nalilito na rin ako kung ano ba talaga ang sakit ko. Sabi kasi dati, pinched nerve daw. Nung inoperahan ako, biglang nagkaroon ng hypoparathyroidism. Ang sakit sa leeg. I can no longer move freely. Nasasaktan ako! As I said, not knowing what ails me is killing me.
MM: Pero hindi po kayo pinayagan ni DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima na bumiyahe.
GMA: Oo. I’m sure nabasa mo naman yung resolution nya. Kesyo indefinite daw ang pagbabalik ko tapos, ang pinili ko pang mga bansa, yung walang extradition treaty sa Pilipinas. Well, that’s not my fault kung sa walong bansa lang tayo mayroong ganun.
MM: Totoo po bang hindi na kayo babalik?
GMA: Babalik naman ako … kung hindi na si Noynoy ang pangulo.
MM: Paano po kung si Binay o Roxas ang pumalit sa kanya?
GMA: Well, let me put it this way. It took 25 years before ousted Haitian leader Baby Doc Duvalier returned. I can also do that.
MM: I see, Madam. Are you aware of reports that Thaksin Shinawatra would be returning to Thailand within the next few months?
GMA: Yes, of course He’s my friend. Ang suwerte nga nya kasi yung kapatid na nyang si Yingluck ang Prime Minister ngayon dun. I can’t do that here. Seriously, can anyone among Mike, Mikey, Dato, Luli, and Iggy become President, too?
MM: Any message po for Leila de Lima?
GMA: Alam mo, Leila, baka nakakalimutan mong I was the one who appointed you as Commission on Human Rights Chair nung 2008, kahit na lawyer ka pa ng Genuine Opposition nung 2007! Sisikat ka ba if not for that appointment? And please, don’t use me for your 2013 senatorial candidacy. I truly regret appointing you.
MM: Madam, sabi po ni Health Secretary Enrique Ona, you are recuperating “reasonably well” after undergoing three successive surgeries.
GMA: Drinking medicines makes me choke. My blood pressure is beyond normal. I have lost my appetite. I am 10 pounds lighter now. I am experiencing finger numbness and leg cramps. Does that mean I’m recuperating well?
MM: Pictures of you wearing a metal halo vest has been widely circulated.
GMA: Actually, I asked my lawyer Estelito Mendoza if that is still necessary. E the Supreme Court sided naman with us, so I guess it worked.
MM: Madam, many are asking … was that taken using a webcam?
GMA: Hahaha. Yes. We can’t use a Canon or a Nikon. You see, I have to be seen in the worst possible light. Para mas convincing ‘di ba?
MM: So you are admitting the picture was faked?
GMA: Oops! I am sorry. Please, put that off the record.
MM: Sabi po ni MTRCB Chair Grace Poe-Llamanzares, naniniwala syang hindi na kayo babalik. Ano pong masasabi nyo sa kanya?
GMA: Hija, hindi kita kilala personally, pero tandaan mo, ang sakit ko ay sakit rin ng ina mo. Regards pala sa HALF-sister mong si Lovi.
MM: What about COMELEC Chair Sixto Brilliantes?
GMA: I am very certain that life would be much easier for me if my former lawyer Romulo Macalintal were in his place. Well, Sixto, your wish for us to spend Christmas under arrest seems to be happening.
MM: Madam, what do you think of Chief Justice Renato Corona?
GMA: Hi, Nato! He voted in favor of allowing me to travel abroad not once, but twice last week. Iba na talaga ang may pinagsamahan. Too bad nakauna pa rin ang aking mga kalaban.
MM: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declined to comment po about your case during a forum last Wednesday.
GMA: Hillary, my friendship with your husband Bill dates back to our days in Georgetown University. He knew me before you. I was actually rooting for you over Obama last 2008.
MM: The foreign minister of the Dominican Republic has denied that you are seeking an asylum there.
GMA: A mis amigos en la República Dominicana. Yo sé que estáis de buena voluntad a ayudarme, pero yo fui impedido por mis enemigos antes de que pudiera pedir vuestra ayuda.*
(To my friends in the Dominican Republic. I know you are willing to help me, but I was stopped by my enemies before I can even ask for your assistance.)
MM: Mam, what do you feel about Len Horn?
GMA: I am touched by her presence. You know, as the song goes, “For good times and bad times, I’ll be on your side forevermore.”
MM: Any message po to your family?
Mike, Mikey, Dato, at Luli, mahal ko kayong lahat. Pagshubok lamang ito at malalagpashan nating lahat. Huwag kayong mawalan ng pag-asha.
MM: What can you say to Joseph Estrada?
GMA: He’s right. Our case is indeed different. Nung nag-request siyang bumiyahe for his knee surgery, mahigit tatlong taon na ang plunder trial nya. Ako, na-reject ang travel request ko kahit wala pang nakasampang kaso against me. Who between us was a convicted plunderer? I regret having pardoned him. Dapat nakakulong pa siya hanggang ngayon, had I not been persuaded by Mike Defensor and Ronaldo Puno. Huwag siyang magmalinis.
MM: What can you say to President Noynoy Aquino?
GMA: He’s a very vindictive man. He’s very keen on persecuting me and my family. Remember, his father was already convicted by a military court of rebellion when his father sought medical treatment abroad.
MM: Madam, last question. How do you see yourself 5-10 years from now?
GMA: I’ll be turning 70 by April 5, 2017. I granted pardon to Estrada because of that. You get it? And of course, I am wishing myself and Mike good health.
MM: Madam, you can now address the entire Filipino nation.
GMA: Mga minamahal kong kababayan, sa siyam na taon na ako’y inyong pangulo, ginawa ko ang lahat ng aking makakaya upang kayo ay mapagshilbihan. Hindi ako nandaya noong 2004, at wala akong inutusang mandaya para kay Miguel Zubiri noong 2007. Tiwala akong ako’y maaabswelto sa kasong electoral sabotage. Nais ko ring sabihin sa inyo na hindi ako kailanman nagnakaw sa kaban ng bayan. I am certain that the justice system will exonerate me from these baseless allegations. History will vindicate my legacy.
* – special thanks to my Christine Delner Robledo, Dan Daryll Arboleda, and Ron de Vera for helping me out in this translation. 🙂