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Friday, 26 January, 2001, 13:00 GMT
Arroyo gets tough with new cabinet
Arroyo swears in new justice secretary Hernando Perez
Many of the new ministers are familiar faces
Philippines President Gloria Arroyo has sworn in half her cabinet, ordering members to adopt a simple lifestyle following the downfall of her predecessor in a massive corruption scandal.


The poor, the disadvantaged and the marginalised in Filipino society are my key customers

Arroyo's code of conduct
She made members to sign a code of conduct that included showing "respect for others", living simply and focusing on the poor.

Mrs Arroyo told cabinet members to avoid business transactions involving relatives and banned her own family from government business, according to reports.

She also ordered the sale of luxury cars that bureaucrats were given under former President Joseph Estrada, with the proceeds going to public coffers.

Arroyo
Gloria Arroyo: Appeal for honest lifestyle
"I believe in leadership by example," Mrs Arroyo said. "We should promote solid traits such as work ethic and a dignified lifestyle, matching action to rhetoric."

Mrs Arroyo took power last Saturday after Mr Estrada was ousted amid a popular revolt backed by the military.

The uprising followed the dramatic collapse of Mr Estrada's impeachement trial on multi-million dollar bribery and corruption charges.

Setback

The swearing in ceremony came a day after her administration was dealt its first blow with the resignation of Defence Secretary Orlando Mercado.

Mass protest
Mass protests helped topple Mr Estrada
Mr Mercado told her he could not work with National Security Adviser Lisandro Abadia, whom he said was tainted by a military corruption scandal four years ago.

Mr Abadia was not sworn in on Friday - it was said he had also offered to quit after denying Mr Mercado's allegations.

Mrs Arroyo did not name a new vice-president on Friday or other key posts including foreign affairs and defence.

Old faces

Critics said Mrs Arroyo had reneged on a promise to appoint young and dynamic ministers to her cabinet.

Of the 10 members sworn in on Friday, seven had held senior posts under presidents Corazon Aquino or Fidel Ramos.

The powerful Makati Business Club, which was prominent in the anti-Estrada campaign, said she appeared to have made appointments to appease political factions that helped bring her to power.

It called for more specialists and professionals and fewer career politicians.

Mrs Arroyo has promised to pay special attention to the economy.

Economic Planning Secretary Dante Canlas said economic growth would be 3.8% this year, compared to 3.9% last year.

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See also:

25 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Arroyo dismisses coup threats
25 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Philippines coffers 'empty'
23 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada banned from leaving Philippines
20 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
World leaders welcome Arroyo
21 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Arroyo moves to bolster economy
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