People of Philippines celebrate their liberation from Estrada

Philippine’s Vice-President Gloria Arroyo has taken over as the country's leader after the incumbent, Joseph Estrada, was swept from power by a wave of popular protest. A 53-yearold Mrs. Arroyo is daughter of Mr. Makapagala, Philippines’ 1st president. After being sworn in, she gave a short address in which she promised to be guided in her work by high moral principles. The police and armed forces had both withdrawn their support from the president. Tens of thousands of demonstrators in the capital, Manila, greeted the news with wild jubilation, heralding it as another 'people power' revolt, similar to the one that brought down Ferdinand Marcos 15 years ago. Mr. Estrada has now abandoned the presidential palace after saying he had "strong and serious doubts" over the legality of Mrs. Arroyo's presidency. As she was sworn in, Mrs. Arroyo pledged to wipe out corruption and poverty, and restore dignity to the people of the Philippines. Mr. Estrada spent his final hours as president confronted by mass protests outside the presidential palace, as military helicopter gunships hovered overhead. After he refused to meet a deadline set by the protesters to resign, the supreme court stepped into the fray, declaring the presidency vacant. The Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Jaime Sin, together with leading politicians and foreign diplomats joined Mrs. Arroyo's emotional swearing in, held outdoors at a shrine for victims of the uprising that led to the fall of Ferdinand Marcos. Fighting back tears, Mrs. Arroyo lambasted the Philippine political system that Mr. Estrada was accused of manipulating to gain millions of dollars in bribes from illegal gambling syndicates and excise taxes. Shortly afterwards, Mr Estrada, the former all-action film star, bowed to the inevitable. In a one-page statement, he said he was leaving the presidential palace "in order to begin the healing process of our nation". "I do not wish to be a factor that will prevent the restoration of unity and order in our civil society", the statement said.

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