Manila: President Gloria Arroyo was included in Time magazine's 2005 list of People Who Mattered, a distinction she shares with the likes of US President George W. Bush, Pope Benedict XVI, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, golfer Michelle Wie and such fictional characters as Star War's Darth Vader.

Time magazine, in its December 26 edition, described Arroyo as a political "survivor, riding out a bruising battle to impeach her for alleged vote rigging, a financial scandal that embroiled her husband and son, rumours of a potential coup and widespread gloom over the country's seemingly intractable problems with corruption and poverty".

Arroyo bitterly fought off attempts at an extrajudicial ouster by her political opponents. Although her grip on power remains, persistent attempts for a power grab now appear to be strongest from left-wing groups.

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, Arroyo became former president Corazon Aquino's Undersecretary of Trade and Industry.

She was elected senator in 1992, and in 1995. In 1998 she won the vice-presidency. She assumed the presidency in January 2001 when street demonstrations forced Joseph Estrada from office.