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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 June, 2005, 06:02 GMT 07:02 UK
Philippines' Cardinal Sin is dead
Cardinal Sin in July 2003
Cardinal Sin twice helped topple corrupt presidents
Cardinal Jaime Sin, the influential former leader of the Philippines' large Roman Catholic community, is dead, Church officials have announced.

Cardinal Sin played a key role in the Philippines' transition to democracy following the lengthy dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

He had a history of illness, having suffered from a reported heart attack last year, and was aged 76.

He retired in 2003 after nearly 30 years heading the Manila Archdiocese.

That period saw him playing key roles in the toppling of both Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Joseph Estrada in 2001.

Cardinal Sin in 1991
Born 31 August 1928, the 14th of 16 children, to a Chinese father
Ordained in 1954, he became a cardinal at the age of 47
Democrat politically, conservative religiously

The cardinal never made any secret about his view that religion had a role in affairs of state.

"My duty is to put Christ in politics," he said at his retirement ceremony. "Politics without Christ is the greatest scourge of our nation."

He was once called "the divine commander-in-chief" by former President Fidel Ramos for his ability to marshal huge protests.

Current President Gloria Arroyo described him as "a blessed man who never failed to unite Filipinos during the most crucial battles against tyranny and evil".

"Cardinal Sin leaves a legacy of freedom and justice forged in deep personal courage," she said in a statement.

'Political duty'

Cardinal Sin was taken to Manila's Cardinal Santos Medical Centre with a high fever on Sunday evening and suffered multiple organ failure, said his spokesman, Father Jun Sescon.

We got rid of Ali Baba but the 40 thieves remained
Cardinal Sin, on Marcos era corruption

He died there at 0615 on Tuesday (2215 GMT Monday).

Speaking on Philippine radio station DZBB, Fr Sescon called on people in Asia's largest Catholic country to "include in their prayers the soul of Cardinal Sin".

His successor as archbishop, Gaudencio Rosales, presided over a wake at Manila cathedral and led a packed congregation in prayer.

Church officials are consulting with the late cardinal's family about funeral arrangements.

Cardinal Sin espoused a conservative vision of Catholicism, and after the election of the new pope in April he described Benedict XVI as a "bright and good man, and a good friend".

Known for his ready wit, he once said of the corruption which persisted after Ferdinand Marcos was ousted:

"We got rid of Ali Baba but the 40 thieves remained."

See key points from Cardinal Sin's career

Obituary: Cardinal Jaime Sin
21 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Timeline: The Philippines
19 Apr 05 |  Country profiles
Philippines' Cardinal Sin retires
15 Sep 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
10 Mar 03 |  Country profiles

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