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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 June 2006, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Philippines president in hospital
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo
Arroyo has faced turbulent times since coming to office in 2001
Philippines President Gloria Arroyo has been taken to hospital after suffering abdominal pains, her chief-of-staff Mike Defensor says.

But the situation did not appear to be serious and the president was not in danger, he said.

Ms Arroyo, 59, was taken to a medical centre after experiencing pain while eating at a Manila restaurant, he said.

She is being kept in hospital overnight and her appointments for Friday have been postponed, officials say.

Police in the capital, already on a heightened state of alert due to reported concerns of possible bomb attacks, were upgraded to full alert after Ms Arroyo fell ill, Metropolitan Manila police chief Vidal Querol told the news agency Associated Press.

'She's OK'

Ms Arroyo, 59, was attending an early birthday dinner for her husband in a restaurant in a Manila suburb with relatives when the abdominal pains occurred, said Mr Defensor.

She returned to the presidential palace to be examined by a doctor, and was then taken to the elite St Luke's medical centre, he said.

The president has to rest, she has to slow down
Mike Defensor

"She's OK," Mr Defensor was quoted as saying by AP.

"The president is resting. There's nothing critical about her situation, nothing to worry," he said.

"She's undergoing routine check-ups so we can be assured there's no complication and nothing major about her situation.

"The president has to rest, she has to slow down," he said.

Ms Arroyo has been in power in the Philippines since 2001, after popular protests forced Joseph Estrada out of office.

She won elections in 2004, but the country has remained mired in periodic coup rumours and natural disasters.

Ms Arroyo has been under pressure over the last year after surviving an impeachment effort over claims she rigged the 2004 election.

She is due to leave on Saturday for visits to Italy and Spain, including a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.

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