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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 June, 2005, 06:55 GMT 07:55 UK
Arroyo's husband 'to move abroad'
Gloria Arroyo (left) and her husband Jose Miguel - archive picture
Mrs Arroyo called her husband's move a "sacrifice"
Philippines President Gloria Arroyo has said her husband, accused of influence-peddling, is to move abroad.

The move is seen as an attempt to silence calls for Mrs Arroyo, who also faces accusations of election fraud, to step down.

Mrs Arroyo did not say how long Jose Miguel, widely known as Mike, would remain abroad, or where he would go.

Opposition lawmakers have accused him of taking bribes from gambling syndicates. He denies the charges.

"My husband has volunteered to go abroad ... to remove himself from any situation which will cast doubts on my presidency," Mrs Arroyo told a business forum in Manila.

ARROYO'S PROBLEMS
Accused of using position to influence 2004 poll
Husband accused of influence-peddling and taking bribes
Son and son-in-law also implicated
Family denies all allegations

She said her husband had been "the object of pillory, especially by my political enemies, who have been trying to distract me from fulfilling my reform agenda as president."

She added: "I'm grateful to my husband for his sacrifice. My family will miss him terribly."

Impeachment calls

Her husband has been accused, along with their son and Mrs Arroyo's brother-in-law, of taking kickbacks from operators of illegal lottery operators.

The gravest thing that you have done is that you [Arroyo] have stolen the presidency, not once, but twice
Susan Roces, widow of presidential candidate Fernando Poe

The son, Juan Miguel Arroyo, recently took leave from his parliamentary seat amid the pay-offs allegations, which are the subject of a Senate inquiry.

Mrs Arroyo is facing growing pressure to resign after she admitted telephoning an election official during last year's presidential election.

On Monday, she apologised to the nation for what she called a "lapse of judgement" but denied trying to influence the vote.

Her presidency has also lost popularity due to the poorly performing Philippine economy, and proposed budget reforms.

Opposition groups are calling for her impeachment although analysts say that will be difficult as she enjoys majority support in both chambers of Congress.

In the 2004 election, Mrs Arroyo beat the now-deceased film star Fernando Poe by more than a million votes.

Mr Poe's widow Susan Roces called on Mrs Arroyo to resign.

"The gravest thing that you have done is that you [Arroyo] have stolen the presidency, not once, but twice," she told a news conference.


SEE ALSO:
Press reflects Philippine fears
28 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Opposition tells Arroyo to quit
28 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Gloria Arroyo
27 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Arroyo fights poll fraud claims
06 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Reforms key to Arroyo's new term
24 Jun 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
21 Dec 03 |  Country profiles


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