MANILA, Philippines - Former President and now Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria warned Friday that the Philippine economy is losing its momentum because of a lack of leadership in Malacañang.
Arroyo said the lack of leadership in government became evident as early as the Manila hostage crisis last August 23, 2010.
"Yung characterization of nobody home, that's the main source, that there maybe danger lurking ahead for economy...Itong pagkukulang lumutang (noong) hostage crisis sa Luneta," she told reporters.
In her conversation with reporters, Arroyo noted how the government seems to have failed on building on her gains. This has led to a deceleration of the economy.
"A year later, the economy is still benefiting but this is not to say there are no danger signs. There are danger signs. Yung ekonomiya na iniwan ko very strong at a time when there was global crisis. Now, when the rest of Asia is recovering ours is decelerating," she said.
Arroyo noted how despite the credit rating upgrades of the country, the lack of pump priming also contributed to the deceleration of the economy.
"In the short run, it's good because it contributes to credit upgrade…I left the economy with sustainable growth. That's the problem. That's the problem because if there is no more spending, that contributes to deceleration," she said.
The President noted the importance of building on the successes of her predecessors, saying she worked for sustainability.
"A year ago, I was able to turn over to the administration a new Philippines with sustainable growth rate. I have sustainable growth rate, 10 years of uninterrupted growth. Even during global crisis I left with 7.9% growth rate. I left with automated elections. Gains I made built on gains of previous leaders because every administration should build on previous successes, continue programs that work and drop programs that didn't work," she said.
Corruption score up under PNoy
Arroyo noted how inflation, self-rated hunger and even corruption are going up under the new administration.
"During my time, inflation rate was slowest among administration. Now all prices going up sharply…Even the score of the Philippines in corruption is going up," she said.
Asked about the various corruption scandals leveled against her during her presidency, Arroyo said: "They are, as I've said before, they are unfounded but what I can say is we have a Constitution. We have laws. They have to be followed. We have courts that will enforce them. That's all I have to say."
When asked if she would attend President Aquino's State of the Nation Address next month, Arroyo sidestepped the question and asked if lunch is ready. She said the question is not on the questionnaire.
Another reporter asked her about Charter change, to which she said: "I support Charter change. The strategic issue is Charter change. Mode is operational issue, ok? Let's eat.
Solidify position on Spratlys
On the Spratlys, Arroyo reiterated her pitch that the issue be resolved amicably.
"I said disputes should be settled amicably. What we need to do is solidify our position. We enacted Republic Act 7522 to make sure baselines in accordance with the law of the sea convention. A lot of work still needs to be done to accomplish this. We need to consult with those knowledgeable," she said.
Arroyo recalled that during her time, then executive secretary Eduardo Ermita headed the Commission on International and Maritime Affairs for this task.
GMA has new spokesperson
Arroyo was asked about her life in Congress, where she now works on bills for her kabalen in Pampanga.
"My favorite bill is the corporate social responsibility bill, which was passed by the House and is already on floor in Senate sponsored I think by Sen. Manny Villar," she said.
Arroyo also revealed Maite Defensor, sister of her former presidential chief of staff Mike Defensor, is helping her get the bill passed at the Senate.
Defensor will also serve as temporary spokesperson for 2 weeks as Elena Bautista-Horn goes on leave.
Arroyo also noted that the bill creating the Department of Housing, which she principally authored, is a priority bill of the administration.
Arroyo made the statements at the Prado Farms Spa Resort in her hometown of Lubao Pampanga, over a sumptuous Kapampangan lunch of lechon, sinigang na baboy, plain rice, kapampangan arroz valenciana, vegetable salads, ham, dimsum, lumpia, leche flan and tanglad iced tea.
Pain in the neck
Arroyo also talked about her pinched nerve attack last week. She said it was an "old condition I had since I was in college. As you grow older, it gets worse. I had acute pinch nerve attack. Hospitalization was to cure myself of the pain of the attack."
The former President was wearing a neck brace during the interview.