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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Filipinos urged to 'report-a-mistress'
Ex-President Joseph Estrada
Ex-President Estrada is said to have housed his mistresses in palaces
An anti-corruption watchdog in the Philippines has begun a "report-a-mistress" campaign.

It was launched on Thursday by the Citizens' Battle Against Corruption, in an effort to stop officials spending government money on their extra-marital affairs.

Only one day into the campaign, the group is reported to have received at least 500 calls, e-mails and text messages.

"Report-a-mistress is not an attack against mistresses," said Congress representative Kim Lokin.

"We are just looking here at the corruption aspect," Ms Lokin told a local radio station.

"It is not right for an official to use public funds to sustain his questionable lifestyle."

Ms Lokin said that any complaints received by the watchdog would be investigated by the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation.

Officials suspected of corruption could face penalties ranging from fines, dismissal or even prison terms.

The Philippines is a predominantly Roman Catholic nation, but many Filipino men have mistresses and even second families.

Former President Joseph Estrada was well-known for his extra-marital affairs. He is thought to have kept his mistresses in palatial mansions.

He was ousted in 2001 on charges of large-scale corruption.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has recently ordered a "lifestyle check" of all public servants to make sure they live within their means.

The Philippines has been ranked the third most corrupt country in Asia, with an estimated $48bn lost through government corruption in the past 20 years.

Estrada's fall from hero to villain
30 Jul 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Estrada mistress linked to mutiny
08 Aug 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
09 Jul 03  |  Country profiles

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