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Daughter of the late Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal, Macapagal-Arroyo graduated from Assumption College in the Philippines, holds a master's degree in economics from Ateneo de Manila University, and a Ph.D in economics from the University of the Philippines.

After teaching economics, Macapagal-Arroyo became former President Corazon Aquino's Undersecretary of Trade and Industry. She was elected senator in 1992, winning reelection in 1995 in a landslide. In 1998 Macapagal-Arroyo easily won the vice presidency in January 2001 when street demonstrations forced Joseph Estrada, who faced serious corruption allegations, from office. She married to a lawyer.

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