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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 July, 2005, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Embattled Arroyo refuses to quit
Philippines President Gloria Arroyo, 8/7/05
Mrs Arroyo has been under pressure for weeks
Philippines President Gloria Arroyo has refused to give in to demands that she resign over vote-rigging allegations.

Mrs Arroyo, whose position has been seriously weakened by her backers withdrawing support, said she would appoint a new government team soon.

Ten Cabinet members stepped down in protest against Mrs Arroyo on Friday, calling on her to follow suit.

An influential business lobby, a party in her coalition and a former president also pressed her to resign.

Mrs Arroyo's problems stem from her admission she spoke to an election official after last year's polls, which she denied was cheating.

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

She said in a radio address on Friday that her opponents should take their concerns to Congress, where they could seek her impeachment - and where Mrs Arroyo's administration holds majorities in both houses.

"In the meantime, I will continue to focus on the people's business, which is getting our economy moving and creating better quality of life for our people," the president said.

Soldiers in the capital Manila were put on maximum alert, as army chief General Efren Abu told his troops not to intervene in the crisis, as has often happened in the past.

Poor at risk

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima was one of the 10 Cabinet members who asked Mrs Arroyo to quit.

"The longer the president stays in office, under a cloud of doubt and distrust, and with her style of decision-making, the greater the damage on the economy," he said.

The resigned officials called on Mrs Arroyo to make the "supreme sacrifice" and hand over power to her Vice-President, Noli de Castro, a former TV news anchor.

The Liberal Party, a key member of the ruling coalition, and the powerful Makati business group also called on Ms Arroyo to resign.

"It is no longer possible for her to govern," said former President Corazon Aquino, a close ally of Mrs Arroyo's coalition.

But several of Ms Arroyo's closest advisers in the Cabinet backed her, including Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales.

Former Philippines Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima
Finance minister Purisima was among those to step down

"[The resigning officials] have tried to do this probably in order to appear like heroes and the rest of us are villains," he said.

Illegal gambling

Mrs Arroyo is facing demands to quit over allegations she cheated her way to victory in last year's election.

The president apologised last week for a "lapse of judgement", after admitting that she phoned an election official during the 2004 poll, but she has denied trying to rig the poll.

"I was anxious to protect my votes and during that time had conversations with many people, including a Comelec [commission on elections] official," she said last week.

"My intent was not to influence the outcome of the election and it did not."

In addition to the election controversy, the president also faces separate allegations that members of her family took pay-offs from illegal gambling syndicates.

To try and defuse that controversy, her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo has left the country indefinitely, and is now in the US.

Mrs Arroyo is also losing popularity due to the poorly performing Philippine economy, and proposed budget reforms.

But nevertheless, public protests against her have so far been relatively small.

Your comments

Arroyo should not resign, she is the right person to lead the Philippines and its people, I lived in Cebu for eight years and I believe in Arroyo's capabilities because she really make things happen. The picture we outsiders have of Arroyo is generally a very positive one.
Mika Appel, Turku and Finland

While President Arroyo clearly does not possess the charisma and personality to evoke the trust of the Filipino people, she is a highly educated economist who is probably the only hope the Philippines has to resolve their economic troubles. If they truly believe former movie stars and TV personalities who lack the intellectual capacity to address the complexities and intricacies of government are the answers to their problems, then that myopic attitude will only perpetuate their state of disarray.
Chris L, Filipino in Boston, MA

Arroyo should continue to stay in power. It has not been proven that she rigged the election. Let the impeachment process decide her fate. If indeed she cheated, the Congress has the power to overthrow the President constitutionally. In the event Arroyo resigns, who is capable of replacing her? We can see pockets of rallies but nothing as united as the "people power" of 1986 and 2001. Probably because there is no better candidate to run for President than Arroyo. I believe that she is still the rightful President of the Philippines.
Jonathan, Ohio, USA

Mr Andaya is right. The alternative to Mrs Arroyo is the vice president, Mr de Castro. A nice man, but a television personality with no experience of government or business. Philippine politics is personality based. There are no political parties as we know them in Europe. Sadly I can forsee a spiral of such political chaos unless there are radical changes such as the plan of ex-president Ramos for a parliamentary system of government.
D. Yates, Manila, Philippines

She should resign, for her to regain trust and confidence.
Celso Villanueva, Quezon City, Philippines

I think we must respect the rule of the law not by just going to the street and asking for President Arroyo's resignation or by people power again but rather follow the due process of law through an impeachment as it says in the constitution. In doing this "people power" will not happen anymore.
Michael N Villespin, Rizal, Philippines

No. Let the courts decide. Both sides can put their case there. There should be some value given to honesty. She was honest enough to admit her mistake and should be given a chance to prove that her intent was not to cheat but just to protect her votes ie to protect herself from being cheated against.
Ramesh, Singapore

Mrs Arroyo should not resign till 60% of the electorate ask her to do so. Those asking her to resign have been part of the problem, and are looking for means of escaping responsibility. Who is righteous? God help them understanding.
Moriah Mulah, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

She should not have been the president in the first place. The protesters are quite precise in saying that she rigged the election. Clinging on to an illegitimately-taken power by invoking constitutional means is shameless and a mockery itself of the whole nation and its laws. So that chaos in the streets will not once again reign in Manila and in our country as a whole, she should step down.
Emanuel De Guzman, Manchester, England

Whether President Arroyo resigns or not, the very pathetic and poor economic and political situation in the country will still be the same if not worse. What the Filipino people need is to change their "crab mentality" attitude. Instead, get your heads together and help each other out of the mess you are in! Stop playing politics which leads to corruption! For those who are in any political influence, you should start asking yourselves what you can do for your country and people rather than what you can get from them to enrich yourselves.
Anonymous, Filipino in Hong Kong

As a Filipino myself, she should definitely resign. The Philippine economy is going downhill because of her. Giving her another chance will jeopardize the entire system of government.
Arlin, Dublin

She should resign! If she really cares for our country she should not think twice in stepping down or better yet she should have called for an snap election sooner but now its too late that the people have spoken for her immediate resignation!
Rex Lopez, Philippines

Reluctantly, I must say she should resign. There is virtually no way the President can reverse the situation; calls for her resignation have snowballed. Her late admission to the phone conversation scandal did more harm than good. As public trust has deteriorated considerably, it's therefore difficult for her to continue instituting reforms without being suspected of serving her own needs. She must then sacrifice and set as a good example instead of clinging to her post. I feel sad about this because in the past two decades, the Philippines have been into "people power" which did not alleviate the country's situation.
Elmer W Cagape, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong

It's very sad that my country is once again facing this kind of situation. I believe in Arroyo's leadership and I really pray for her to withstand this crisis. We voted for her! She is the best we could think of to lead the Filipinos. Those people who are in doubt of her presidency should opt for an impeachment process instead of calling for her to resign. We don't need another "EDSA" revolution; a lot of us have become so weary of it. But, if ever she will be brought down out of office, I will surely rally to the streets of Cebu City asking for her to come back and resume her office at Malacanang.
Romsil Cosmo, Cebu, Philippines

It seems that every time the Philippines runs into some dissatisfaction with the incumbent administration, the Filipinos are always eager to remove the leader from power. It has become an old tune - Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, Joseph Estrada in 2001. Perhaps next time the Filipinos should elect the right leader with a more efficient voting system, not conducive to vote-padding? The real issues aren't addressed.
Schulze, London, UK

Arroyo has definitely lost the trust of her people. But if she does resign, who's going to take her place? At the moment she might actually be the only person capable of turning the Philippine economy around.
CJ Andaya, Valenzuela, Philippines

Press abuzz over Arroyo crisis
08 Jul 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Arroyo asks all ministers to quit
07 Jul 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Arroyo problems see minister quit
30 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Gloria Arroyo's toughest week
30 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Arroyo's husband 'to move abroad'
29 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Gloria Arroyo
27 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Noli de Castro
08 Jul 05 |  Asia-Pacific

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