She never learns. President Gloria Arroyo flew all the way from the Middle East to attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. in hopes of getting some face time with President Barack Obama. In the most recent of a series of snubs from the U.S. President dating back to the presidential campaign, Obama did not even so much as smile her way. And Barack is nothing if not “inclusive”. It wasn’t as if she was inconspicuous, as GMA was in the company of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The excuse given by Malacanang that it was a religous event and that her main objective in attending was spiritual is particularly lame, as even the official government statement on the visit says that the NPB is a “a forum for political, business and social leaders of the world to assemble together and build relationships“. Invited heads of state get to spend some time, even if it’s only a few minutes for a photo op, with the U.S. President. It’s a networking event after all. A meet and greet at the mall, with a direct line to God as the ostensible draw.
Not only was the invitation to GMA sent insultingly late, on January 31 or just about a week ago, it necessitated a drastic change in her travel plans and additional expense, her entourage being billeted in the tony Four Seasons hotel. To no avail. One almost feels sorry for her, until you remember that all costs involved in this latest diplomatic fiasco will of course be borne by the taxpayer.
It’s unseemly for President Arroyo to keep throwing herself at Obama like a groupie. It’s obvious he wants to keep GMA and her scandal-tainted administration at a safe distance. Almost as if she’s toxic and contagious. Certainly, she makes us all look foolish with her Obama-stalking.
This presages a chilly period in U.S.-Philippine relations, at least until Arroyo hopefully steps down next year. In the meantime, there shouldn’t be any more wasteful side trips to Washington or anywhere else, for that matter. Enough is enough.