Philippine opposition seeks President’s ouster

Philippine opposition groups rallied in the capital Wednesday to seek President Gloria Macapagal ouster, a day after her allies in Congress threw out an impeachment attempt.

About 8,000 protesters led by the opposition Solidarity Movement occupied the People Power Monument on a Manila highway, the site of the 1986 popular uprising that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Elsewhere, police blocked about 2,000 marchers headed toward the Malacanang presidential palace. reported earlier, that thousands of people planned to march in the Philippine capital on Wednesday, trying to keep up the momentum of street protests against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo a day after she survived an impeachment attempt.

The administration-dominated House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 158-51 to toss out three impeachment complaints against Arroyo.

"Since they have closed off the process in Congress, we are opening up the streets as an option for the people," said Rep. Teddy Casino of the left-wing Bayan Muna party.

As the House concluded an unprecedented 23-hour marathon session Tuesday, former President Corazon Aquino and Susan Roces, the widow of Arroyo's chief rival in last year's election, Fernando Poe Jr., led 10,000 protesters in a march on the legislative building.

It was stopped by hundreds of police.

In a statement Tuesday, Arroyo said she was grateful that Filipinos adhered to the constitutional process "instead of forcing a president out of office through “people power.”

On Wednesday, she repeated her call for reconciliation, but the opposition said she was insincere.

"We sincerely believe in the need for national unity in the face of our many problems, but we cannot achieve this unity with Mrs. Arroyo at the helm, for Mrs. Arroyo is the problem," said a statement from the Solidarity Movement.

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