Arroyo: Nothing can stop me from retiring next year

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 29) — Nothing can stop House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from retiring.

"[I am] not just thinking [of it], I am retiring… I don't plan to run for anything in 2019," the former President said in an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines' The Source on Wednesday, dousing speculation that she wants to become prime minister.

Her son Mikey will be running as Pampanga representative in her stead, she added.

Arroyo rose as House Speaker after an unexpected ouster of her predecessor Pantaleon Alvarez last month. Congressmen told CNN Philippines that Davao City Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio had a hand in her return.

The comeback was met with criticism by several senators, who said President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign promise of federalism looked bleak with Arroyo heading the House. Arroyo also pushed for charter change during her term — a move her critics saw as an attempt to extend her stay in office.

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However, she said the position of prime minister was not provided for in a draft of the federal charter prepared by the Consultative Committee tasked to review the 1987 Constitution.

"I think people who keep raising that are people who want to stir up controversy," she said. "Let me tell you, it's not in the draft that's submitted by the administration. So therefore, I have no plans to become prime minister."

In fact, the former President conceded she may not see the passage of charter change during her time in government. She added she would leave it up to the next Congress. She added that she was impressed by many young congressmen.

"One thing about my being Speaker now, I have been exposed to many young congressmen," said Arroyo. "I'm confident when they take over the reins of government, they will do a good job. It's really time for us to retire."

Arroyo added she was looking forward to writing her memoirs during her retirement.

"It's really more or less my work as President, but I have to have an extra chapter as Speaker," she said.

Her term as President, which lasted from 2001 to 2010, was marked by economic growth — but widely criticized for alleged corruption, electoral fraud, and human rights violations.