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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 05:01 GMT
Philippine speaker ousted by MPs
Jose de Venecia ( Nov 2007)
Mr de Venecia had been speaker for 12 years
The Philippine parliament has ousted its speaker, Jose de Venecia, after he accused President Gloria Arroyo and her family of corruption.

Mr de Venecia - a former ally of President Arroyo - was removed from his position in a House of Representatives vote late on Monday.

He had been in the role for 12 years, and was the longest-serving House speaker in Philippine history.

After being ousted, he told parliament he was going to join the opposition.

Mr de Venecia's removal is seen by analysts as strengthening Mrs Arroyo's control over the House of Representatives.

Friend turned foe

Mr de Venecia was once one of Mrs Arroyo's most trusted allies.

He led MPs in crushing three opposition attempts to impeach her, over claims of vote-rigging, corruption and human rights abuses.

Their close relationship frayed when the former speaker's son, Jose "Joey" de Venecia III, told an inquiry that Mrs Arroyo's husband had been involved in bribery in connection with a government contract.

In a speech before Monday night's vote, Mr de Venecia stood by his son, and accused the government of corruption.

"What is happening in our country? Everything is for sale? Bribery and corruption... Is this the Philippines we want to call our country?" he is quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

A total of 174 legislators voted in favour of removing Mr de Venecia, with only 35 against the move.

Prospero Nograles, an Arroyo ally, was elected unopposed to succeed him.



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