update As Gritchka points out, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became president of the Philippines on Feb 20, 2001. This happened after people power booted Joseph Estrada out of office. While I was critical of her actions, I wish her well, and hope she be instrumental in bringing the country out of economic doldrums.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was elected Vice President of the Philippines in 1998. She is the daughter of former president Diosdado Macapagal.

Because of a raging controversy, Arroyo is poised to prematurely be President of the Philippines. It is interesting that while Gloria is somewhat popular among the masses, she does not have the support of the middle class. Qualifications wise, she is eminently qualified to become president of the Philippines. She has a PhD in economics. She has a good record in the Senate. She has done fairly well as DSWD secretary (at least, she has had no major scandals). As the daughter of president Macapagal, and as a career politician, she knows the ins and outs of the bureaucracy.

Yet she is not well liked by the intelligensia. The radical leftists (and even the more moderate ones) do not like her because she espouses globalization and free market economics. The suposed intellectual elite at the University of the Philippines (perhaps the same people) do not like her simply because they dislike everybody .

The rest of us dislike her because she smells like a "trapo". Her every action seems to be calculated to advance her political fortune. Take for example, the 1998 presidential elections. Gloria was then the only person with a prayer to win against Erap. But instead of rising to the challenge, she shrank from it, choosing instead to run for the safe position of vice president.

Politically, this is a sound strategy. She knew full well that because of her popularity among the masses, she would become the president after Erap, whether he finished his term or not. Yet, she must have known as well that Erap was bad news for the Philippines, that he would ruin the economy. She probably knew that she was the only one who could hope to challenge Estrada to the highest position in the land.

However, rather than take a principled stand, she chose political advancement.