GMA DENIES BELITTLING FPJ WHEN SHE CALLED HIM AN ACTOR

LUCENA CITY, April 16, 2004
 
(MANILA TIMES)
By Ma. Theresa Torres , Reporter —President Arroyo on Thursday clarified she was not underestimating the capability of her strongest rival in the presidential race, Fernando Poe Jr., by referring to him as a mere actor.

The President said she never addressed Poe as a “mere actor,” because his being an actor is not the problem in case he would win the presidential race but his lack of experience in governance.

“I did not use the word ‘mere.’ I admire actors. My son [Vice Gov. Mikey Arroyo of Pampanga] is an actor. I have two actors [Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. and Lito Lapid] in my lineup. It is [Poe’s] inexperience that is a problem,” she said.

Poe said Mrs. Arroyo should not underestimate him just because he is an actor.

At the Makati Business Club, President Arroyo, for the first time, directly referred to Poe as the most inexperienced among the presidential aspirants.

The President said [Poe] relies heavily on his battery of advisers to come up with a solution to the country’s problems.

Besides protesting that the President underestimated his capability to lead, Poe also called Mrs. Arroyo manhid [insensitive] and sakim [greedy] alluding to President Arroyo’s alleged scheme to dip her hands into the country’s coffers to enable her to use it as part of her campaign fund.

At a press conference, the President appeared irritated when she was asked to react on Poe’s comments.

“Sinagot ko na’yan, maraming beses na [I have already answered that a number of times],” she said while shuffling the papers in her table not looking at the reporters.

The President’s campaign spokesman, Michael Defensor, said the opposition is employing an “out-of-bound” tactic by taking at a personal level the attack on Mrs. Arroyo.

“Our President will always be a president, thus she has to fulfill her duties by providing basic services to the people,” Defensor said.

In Quezon, the President also attended the rally of support by Guardians International at West 1 Elementary School Open Field.

She also acknowledged the Guardians’ support for the administration and its campaign against terrorism.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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