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Learning English - Words in the News
15 June, 2005 - Published 11:27 GMT
Philippine sedition charges
Samuel Ong

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:

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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

Listen to the words

actions that can encourage people to disobey a government


to destabilise
to make somebody or something (here: a government) become less successful or powerful, or less able to control events

the action of secretly listening to other people's telephone conversations (by connecting something to the wires of the phone)

mounting pressure
gradually increasing attempts to persuade somebody by using arguments or threats

to break her silence
to start speaking about something

have slumped to a record low
have suddenly gone down to the lowest level so far

money given to someone for something

persistent corruption
dishonest or illegal behaviour that continues to exist

took power away from a leader or government, especially by force; overthrew

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