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15 June, 2005 - Published 11:27 GMT
Philippine sedition charges
The Philippine government filed sedition charges on Wednesday against a former intelligence official who says he has audio tapes linking President Arroyo to cheating in the 2004 election. This report from Sarah Toms:
The man charged with sedition, Samuel Ong, is a retired intelligence official. He has been charged because he called for the overthrow of the president, Gloria Arroyo.
Mr Ong, who is in hiding, has said he has master tapes of the president's telephone conversations that prove she cheated in last year's elections. He says intelligence agents gave him the tapes in which President Arroyo seems to be pressing an election official for a bigger victory.
The government says the recordings have been altered and are part of a plot by the opposition to destabilise the government. President Arroyo herself has made no comment on the wire-tapping controversy, despite mounting pressure to break her silence.
Her ratings have slumped to a record low, amid accusations that members of her family have taken pay-offs from illegal gambling syndicates. They deny any wrongdoing and nothing has been proved.
Filipinos are also angry about rising prices and persistent corruption. In the latest protest, about a thousand people rallied outside Congress on Wednesday, calling on President Arroyo to resign. Analysts say mass protests of the kind that toppled Joseph Estrada as president in 2001 are unlikely. But the scandals have unnerved investors and raised concerns that President Arroyo's attention will be diverted from much-needed but unpopular economic reforms.
Sarah Toms, BBC News, Manila
to break her silence
have slumped to a record low
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