Arroyo escapes impeachment bid

The Philippines' Congress has formally rejected an opposition attempt to impeach President Gloria Arroyo. 

The vote, which came after a marathon session, should strengthen Mrs Arroyo's bid to ride out accusations of corruption and electoral fraud. 

But opposition leaders have vowed to keep up their campaign, using the courts and popular rallies. 

Several thousand activists gathered on Tuesday to march to congress, where security had been stepped up. 

Mrs Arroyo has denied any wrongdoing but admitted to a "lapse in judgement" in phoning an election officer during the 2004 presidential poll. 

Deputies in the lower house voted on whether to endorse a committee report which last week recommended throwing out the claims against the president.

The opposition needed 79 votes to reject the report's findings, but managed to secure only 51. 

"We may have lost, we may have not gotten the 79 signatures, this does not mean that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has won," lower house opposition leader Francis Escudero said. 

Anti-Arroyo groups gathered in Manila on Tuesday, angry at the prospect of the president escaping impeachment charges. 

Former President Cory Aquino, who led the "people power" movement that ousted Ferdinand Marcos, joined the march. 

Mrs Aquino, who is still highly respected in the Philippines, has been critical of Mrs Arroyo but had not before taken to the streets. 

Although such protests have been frequent, even the largest anti-Arroyo rally has fallen far short of the hundreds of thousands that joined the uprisings that overthrew Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Joseph Estrada in 2001.

06/09/2005

Bron : BBC News

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