Philippine official arrested for spying in U.S.

The government said Monday that political opponents have ruined the Philippines' diplomatic integrity and embarrassed the country, after U.S. authorities arrested two men on charges of passing classified information to Filipino opposition figures.

Former President Joseph Estrada, toppled amid massive street protests in 2001, last week acknowledged receiving at least six reports from Leandro Aragoncillo a Philippine-born U.S. FBI intelligence analyst charged last month with providing classified information.

Aragoncillo is being separately investigated for allegedly taking classified material about the Philippines from the White House when he worked in the vice president's office from 1999-2002.

His alleged go-between, former Philippine police official Michael Ray Aquino, was indicted last week on charges of conspiracy and acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

"Self-serving politicians can ruin our diplomatic integrity by spying on our allies, but this only shows how far some of the president's political detractors will go just to satisfy their raw ambition for power," Arroyo's spokesman Ignacio Bunye said in a written statement.

"This is an embarrassment for our people who deserve an apology from those who messed up the good name of our country," he said.

The arrests were announced soon after Arroyo, a staunch U.S. ally in counterterrorism efforts, survived an impeachment bid on vote-rigging allegations. The opposition has vowed to bring her down amid coup rumors, reports the AP.


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