24th Secretary of National Defense
The President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, holds many records. Elected as Senator during her first try in politics in 1992, she was re-elected Senator in 1995 with nearly 16 million votes, the highest number of votes in Philippine history. She was elected Vice President of the Philippines in 1998 with almost 13 million votes, the largest mandate in the history of presidential or vice presidential elections. She was sworn in as the 14th President of the Philippines on 20 January 2001 by Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. after the Supreme Court unanimously declared the position of President vacant, the second woman to be swept into the Presidency by a peaceful People Power Revolution (EDSA II).
The President is the daughter of the late President and Mrs. Diosdado Macapagal, who were well known for their integrity and simple but dignified lifestyle. During the Presidency of Diosdado Macapagal, the Philippines was second only to Japan in economic progress in Asia.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, born in April 5, 1947, was valedictorian of her high school class at Assumption Convent, was consistently on the Dean's List in Georgetown University in Washington DC, and graduated magna cum laude at Assumption College. She obtained a Master's degree in Economics from the Ateneo de Manila University and a doctorate's degree in Economics from the University of the Philippines.
Macapagal-Arroyo joined the Philippine government in 1986 during the administration of President Corazon Aquino, who appointed her Undersecretary of Trade and Industry. During her tenure in the Senate, she authored 55 laws on economic and social reform and was named outstanding Senator several times. When she was elected Vice President, President Joseph Estrada appointed her as concurrent Secretary of Social Welfare and Development, a post she held until her resignation from the Cabinet on 12 October 2000.