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The BBC's Jonathan Head
"The former actor realised it was time to leave the stage"
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Joseph Estrada, Philippine President
"I know that my mandate to lead our people will remain in question from here on"
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Dr James Putzel of the LSE
" rife throughout the Philippines' political system"
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Saturday, 20 January, 2001, 13:25 GMT
Challenges confronting Arroyo
Inaugural speech
She promises to wipe out corruption and poverty
By regional affairs analyst Nicholas Nugent

Gloria Arroyo begins her tenure as the 10th president of the Philippines with two major advantages.

Firstly, she is no Joseph Estrada with all the negative associations of patronage and corruption of her ousted predecessor.

Secondly, she is the daughter of Diosada Macapagal, the country's fifth president.

His reputation for personal and financial integrity stands in contrast with that of some other holders of the office.

Focus of campaign

To compound these advantages, Mrs Arroyo defected from the Estrada camp at a suitably early stage in the impeachment process.

Mrs Arroyo and Corazin Aquino
Inevitable comparison with Corazon Aquino
From being his vice-president and social welfare secretary, she became the focus of the campaign to displace him - in effect the president-in-waiting.

Mrs Arroyo is considered to have many of the personal qualities Mr Estrada lacked.

As a trained economist, she is regarded as an intellectual and there are no doubts in the public's mind that she will commit herself fully to the role of president.

It undoubtedly helps that she is a woman, and thus not given to the type of ''cronyism'' which was one of Mr Estrada's alleged sins.

She will inevitably be compared with Corazon Aquino, who similarly rode to office on a wave of ''people power'' after the ouster of the disgraced Ferdinand Marcos.

Tough task

It was under Mrs Aquino that Gloria Arroyo first entered government as under-secretary for trade and industry.

Manila celebrations
Celebrations as Gloria Arroyo is sworn in
Whilst Mrs Aquino inherited her mantle and her mission from her assassinated husband Benigno, Mrs Arroyo inherited hers from her late father.

However, Mrs Arroyo faces a tough task inheriting the presidency mid-term. In her inaugural address she spoke of healing and rebuilding the nation, pledging specifically to wipe out corruption and poverty

Touching the nation's rawest nerve, she promised to get rid of ''the evil of patronage''.

Land reform

Mrs Arroyo, who presented a regular TV programme for farmers, is expected to give particular attention to agriculture and the rural poor, the very constituency that her predecessor cultivated.

Her father is best remembered for having achieved a successful programme of land reform.

It is too early to tell whether she may also embark on political reform. The impeachment proceedings against Mr Estrada have shocked a nation that believed it had won its spurs as a democracy after the overthrow of the Marcos regime 16 years ago - the first eruption of ''people power''.

There is now disillusionment with a process that elected to office a man seemingly ill-equipped for the role.

Filipinos are also questioning whether there isn't a better way to get rid of a president who has lost the public's confidence.

Political campaign

The impeachment process - whose procedures were adopted and adapted from the United States constitution - is seen to have failed the nation at its moment of need.

In some people's eyes, its collapse has cast doubt on the integrity of the Senate and its ability to regulate the nation's chief executive.

However, others believe the Senate rightly threw out a manifestly political campaign to by-pass the ballot and oust Mr Estrada.

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See also:

20 Jan 01 | Media reports
Arroyo inaugural speech: Excerpts
18 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada's bank records revealed
18 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada tries to ride out storm
17 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Uproar at Estrada trial
08 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Mrs Estrada faces bribe claims
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