President of the Philippines from 20 January 2001, until then vice-president to Joseph Estrada, who was deposed by the Supreme Court on that date after a bribery scandal. She had repeatedly called for Estrada to resign. She is a doctor of economics and was a classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University in Washington.

She was undersecretary at the Department of Trade and Industry under President Cory Aquino, became a senator in 1992, and in 1995 garnered the biggest number of votes ever received by any candidate for any position in Philippine electoral history, over sixteen million. In her 1998 re-election she won with the largest margin ever recorded, more than seven million over her nearest rival, and became vice-president.

The daughter of former president Diosdado Macapagal, she and her husband José Miguel have three children, Mikey, Luli, and Dato. The fact that she will not be up all nights gambling, drinking, and womanizing is considered an advantage to her presidency.

She faced an apparent coup attempt on 26 July 2003 when soldiers took over a shopping complex in central Manila.

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