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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July 2005, 18:39 GMT 19:39 UK
Press abuzz over Arroyo crisis
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo addressing the nation, 27 June
President Arroyo: refusing to go

Newspapers in the Philippines reflect the intense speculation throughout the country over the future of President Gloria Arroyo after she vowed to stay on despite heavy pressure on her to resign.

A cartoon in The Manila Times has a priest on a pulpit saying to his congregation: "And so we must ponder the everlasting mystery, the eternal question, and the fate of this nation hinges on the answer - to impeach, or not to impeach?"

For those who want to kick the president out of office, they should go about this through legal means
Makati City Tanod

The Pilipino Star Ngayon believes the impeachment process should be implemented.

"There is no other way but to follow what is in the constitution, which is impeachment. We should adhere to the result of the impeachment process. It will be more peaceful than staging rallies which scare away investors."

Rule of law

The Tagalog-language Makati City Tanod also calls for the rule of law to be part of the process which decides whether the president stays or goes.

"For those who want to kick the president out of office, they should go about this through legal means so that it will not result in chaos or in a military junta. The rule of law should reign above all."

The paper goes on: "The republic is in the grip of a crisis and is in peril. The ongoing conflict between various political factions is becoming more and more bloody. Every day, anxiety increases because of destabilization rumors.

"And where will all this lead us to? The economy continues its decline. The value of our peso continues to weaken against the dollar. Foreign investors are scared of coming into the country to start businesses."

Will GMA win this war? Only if she hangs tough
Philippine Star columnist

Fears of a military coup are also expressed in The Philippine Star. "Of course, GMA's [Ms Arroyo's] generals, from the military to the police, are swearing undying loyalty to her. But it would be wise to keep an eye on the younger officers, from the rank of captain to major, to colonel" - meaning those who command combat units, warns a columnist.

"Will GMA win this war? That's the question. Only if she hangs tough, doesn't trust the wrong people, as she's done, and does something decisive, not pandering to everybody - especially those in her coterie, and her family, who have done her in," the columnist concludes.

A letter in the Philippine Inquirer says that "Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will remain President of our country and survive this crisis, notwithstanding calls for her ouster and resignation".

"Let's just move forward and do our utmost to help our country and fellowmen, and we may succeed yet in building a better nation, not because of, but in spite of the government."

Moral high ground

However, a writer in the The Manila Times says Ms Arroyo "has lost the moral high ground. [Vice-President] Noli de Castro scares the bejesus out of us, but he may arguably have extorted enough before, and should consider himself told and instructed".

"Meantime, GMA should learn that trust betrayed is impossible to earn again. Her marriage to the nation must end."

Doubts about the suitability of the vice-president to replace the president are also expressed in other papers.

An editorial in Quezon City's Tagalog-language Bulgar asks: "Kabayan, are you up to it?", referring to his nickname.

"The people are no longer discussing heatedly whether Big Sister Glo [Ms Arroyo's nickname] should be removed from Malacanang Palace. What is obvious is that she will be ousted, which is why the public is debating who will be her successor.

Vice-President Noli de Castro is one of the major reasons why GMA is still in her post

"The chief issue now is whether Vice-President Noli de Castro is qualified to sit in Malacanang."

Bulgar believes Mr de Castro needs to distance himself from Ms Arroyo and show the people he is set on "meaningful reform".

"There is no doubt that if Kabayan shifted his position any time soon, he would certainly be the next president of the republic. This will put an end to the speculation and military intervention."

A commentator in Abante is less sanguine about the vice-president. "Vice-President Noli de Castro is one of the major reasons why GMA is still in her post, not because of the vice-president's popularity, but because a lot of Filipinos fear that he will take over Malacanang."

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

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