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Galawang CIA? Arroyo: My presidency became turbulent after pullout of PH troops in Iraq

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

MANILA – Former President and now outgoing House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo admitted that her nine-year presidency became turbulent following her decision to withdrew the country’s troops deployed in Iraq.

In an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), Arroyo said the United States government was “not pleased” over her decision to recall Filipino soldiers from the so-called “Coalition of the Willing” after the kidnapping of Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Angelo dela Cruz in July 2004.

“They (Americans) were really not pleased with that,” said Arroyo.

Dela Cruz, a truck driver working for a private company was abducted by members of Islamist militant group Khaled Bin Al-Walid Squadrons near the City of Fallujah in Iraq while transporting fuel from Saudi Arabia.

Dela Cruz’s kidnappers who were part of a bigger militant organization, the Islamic Army of Iraq, has demanded the Philippine government to withdraw its 50-person contingent from the US-led multinational coalition in Iraq “as soon as possible.”

Arroyo said “it’s very easy” for her to choose dela Cruz over her alliance to the Western superpower since “OFWs are the most precious more than any geopolitical alignment or alliance.”

“I have to choose between the United States which was urging me to stand my ground or to fight for our OFW and to me, the OFW’s are the most precious, more than any geopolitical alignment or alliance,” said Arroyo.

Dela Cruz, a native of Pampanga just like the former chief executive, was freed by his abductors on July 20, 2004, or exactly four days after the formal announcement of the troop withdrawal by the Philippine government.

“Since after 2004 I really had a very turbulent Presidency,” said Arroyo.

Over the next six years, Arroyo’s administration was marred by a series of controversies such as the Hello Garci scandal, her alleged cheating during the 2004 Presidential Elections, and the NBN-ZTE scandal.

Arroyo was also rocked by a mass Cabinet resignation, bombings by local and foreign terror groups, and mutinies staged by disappointed officers and members of the Armed Forced of the Philippines (AFP).

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