President Rodrigo Duterte said on December 7 that he owed a lot to former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo, his “boss.”
“So I am here to serve the invitation of the President — kay si Ma’am. Alam naman ninyo ang boss ko si President Arroyo,” Duterte said during a speech at the Kapampangan Food Festival.
He said that he was Arroyo’s “very close confidant.”
“And I know that you know that I owe a lot sa kanya. Though I was not really a member of the Cabinet or what not. But I was a very close confidant. We talked about state affairs and — particularly law and order,” he added.
Duterte served as Arroyo’s consultant on public order during her administration. During the presidential campaign in 2016, he promised to release Arroyo from detention.
Arroyo was released after the Supreme Court voted 4-11, junking the plunder case filed against her due to lack of sufficient evidence.
The former president also praised Duterte’s “awesome” leadership and consoled Duterte after his ratings drop, noting that she had worse during her presidency.
Duterte also appointed many officials from the Arroyo administration.
Jesus Dureza, Duterte’s presidential adviser on the peace process, was appointed by Arroyo to the same position.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. served as Arroyo’s Presidential Management Staff and Armed Forces chief.
Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. Chairperson Andrea Domingo was Arroyo’s Bureau of Immigration chief.
Solicitor General Jose Calida served as the undersecretary of Department of Justice during Arroyo’s time.
Current Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque was Arroyo’s DOH chief, too.
Alfonso Cusi, the current Department of Energy secretary, was appointed as general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority in the Arroyo administration.
Agnes Devanadera, appointed by Duterte as the chief of the Energy Regulatory Board, served as Arroyo’s solicitor-general and later, the acting chief of the Department of Justice.