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She has two older siblings from her father's first marriage, Arturo Macapagal and Cielo Macapagal Salgado. She is fluent in English, Tagalog, Spanish, French, and several other Philippine languages, such as Kapampangan, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, Pangasinense, Bikolano, and Cebuano.
In 1961, when Arroyo was just 14 years old, her father was elected as president.
She then earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Assumption College graduating magna cum laude in 1968.
In 1968, Arroyo married lawyer and businessman Jose Miguel Arroyo of Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, whom she had met while still a teenager.
After serving as a senator from 1992 to 1998, she was elected to the vice presidency under President Joseph Estrada, despite having run on an opposing ticket.
After Estrada was accused of corruption, she resigned her cabinet position as Secretary of Social Welfare and Development and joined the growing opposition to the president, who faced impeachment.
A municipality was named in her honor, Gloria, Oriental Mindoro.
On November 18, 2011, Arroyo was arrested following the filing of criminal charges against her for electoral fraud.
She was held at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City under charges of electoral sabotage She has since been a member of the Philippine Academy of the Spanish Language after she announced her support to bring back Spanish as an official language of the Philippines during her 9-year presidency.
She attended Assumption Convent for her elementary and high school education, graduating valedictorian in 1964.
Arroyo then studied for two years at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service in Washington, D. where she was a classmate of future United States President Bill Clinton.is a Filipino professor and politician who was the 14th President of the Philippines from 2001 until 2010.