Today in Philippine history, April 5, 1947, Maria Gloria Macaraeg Macapagal was born in Lubao, Pampanga

Sunday June 28, 2020 ()

On April 5, 1947, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo y Macaraeg, 14th president of the Philippines, was born as Maria Gloria Macaraeg Macapagal in Lubao, Pampanga, to politician Diosdado Macapagal and his wife, Evangelina Macaraeg Macapagal. She is a polyglot fluent in English, Tagalog, Spanish, French, and several other Philippine languages, such as Kapampangan, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, Pangasinense, Bikolano, and Cebuano.

Gloria Macapagal ay Macaraeg
(Gloria Macapagal (center) as a magna cum laude graduate of the Assumption college, with a degree in economics. She is flanked by her parents President Diosdado and Eva Macapagal.)

In 1961, when Arroyo was just 14 years old, her father was elected president. She moved with her family into Malacañang Palace in Manila. She attended Assumption Convent for her elementary and high school education, graduating valedictorian in 1964.

Arroyo then studied for two years at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. where she was a classmate of future United States President Bill Clinton.

She then earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Assumption College San Lorenzo graduating magna cum laude in 1968.

She pursued a master's degree in Economics at the Ateneo de Manila University (1978) and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of the Philippines Diliman (1985). From 1977 to 1987, she held teaching positions in several schools, notably the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University. She became chairperson of the Economics Department at Assumption College.

Her eventual successor, President Benigno Aquino III, was one of her Economics students at the Ateneo de Manila.

In 1987, she was invited by President Corazon Aquino to join the government as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry. She was promoted to Undersecretary two years later. In her concurrent position as Executive Director of the Garments and Textile Export Board, Arroyo oversaw the rapid growth of the garment industry in the late 1980s.

She entered government in 1987, serving as the assistant secretary and undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry upon the invitation of President Corazon Aquino, Benigno III's mother.

After serving as a senator from 1992 to 1998, she was elected to the vice presidency under President Joseph Estrada, despite having run on an opposing ticket.

After Estrada was accused of corruption, she resigned her cabinet position as Secretary of Social Welfare and Development and joined the growing opposition against the president, who faced impeachment. Estrada was soon forced out from office by the Second EDSA Revolution in 2001, and Arroyo was sworn into the presidency by Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. on January 20 that year. In 2003, the Oakwood mutiny occurred after signs of a martial law declaration were seen under her rule.

Bill Clinton and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

(Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo with US President Bill Clinton)

She was elected to a full six-year term in the controversial 2004 presidential election, and was sworn in on June 30, 2004. Following her presidency, she was elected to the House of Representatives through her home district, making her the second Philippine president—after José P. Laurel—to pursue a lower office after their presidency.

On November 18, 2011, Arroyo was arrested following the filing of criminal charges against her for an alleged electoral fraud which was dismissed later on for lack of evidence. She was held at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City under charges of electoral sabotage but released on bail in July 2012. She was rearrested in October 2012, on charges of misuse of $8.8 million in state lottery funds. She was given a hospital arrest, allegedly due to "life-threatening health conditions" certified by her doctors.

On July 19, 2016, she was acquitted by the Supreme Court by a vote of 11-4 under the administration of her ally, Rodrigo Duterte. Also, the Supreme Court declared the DOJ's hold departure order unconstitutional. Her lawyers afterwards stated that Arroyo no longer needed her medical paraphernalia, releasing her from the hospital.

She has since been a member of the Philippine Academy of the Spanish Language after she announced her support to bring back Spanish as an official language of the Philippines during her 9-year presidency.

In July 23, 2018, she was elected as the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines under the Duterte Administration controversially replacing Pantaleon Alvarez. She spearheaded various controversial bills, including a bill that sought to lower the age of criminal liability to 12 years old.

In 1968, Gloria married lawyer and businessman Jose Miguel Arroyo of Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, whom she had met while still a teenager. They have three children, Juan Miguel (born 1969), Evangelina Lourdes (born 1971) and Diosdado Ignacio Jose Maria (born in 1974).


  1. Compiled from various online sources including Wikipedia


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