3RD LD: Estrada virtually quits, calls for snap vote in May.
MANILA, Jan. 19 Kyodo
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Philippine President Joseph Estrada This page is currently protected from editing until (UTC) or until disputes have been resolved. virtually resigned Friday, calling on Congress to declare a snap presidential poll in May in which he promised he would not be a candidate.
In a televised address, the president told Filipinos he would ''immediately'' hand power to whoever is elected to succeed him.
It is unclear, however, whether the president's apparent capitulation CAPITULATION, war. The treaty which determines the conditions under which a fortified place is abandoned to the commanding officer of the army which besieges it.
2. to massive calls for him to quit now will end the protests against him that are filling streets throughout the Philippines.
Earlier Friday, a string of cabinet secretaries and the entire military hierarchy abandoned the president.
Military chief of staff Gen. Angelo Reyes
Angelo Tomas Reyes was the Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2001 to 2003. He is currently the Secretary of the Department of Energy. , flanked by generals from practically all key military commands and Defense Secretary Orlando Mercado Orlando Rodriguez Mercado (born. November 7 1961) was a Puerto Rican baseball player, who became a local star for his play in the Portland Beavers Triple-A franchise in the late 1980s. He had a few short stints in the majors with the Detroit Tigers, Dodgers, and Oakland A's. , told tens of thousands of demonstrators demanding Estrada's resignation that he and the 113,000-strong armed forces were withdrawing support from the president.
''We are withdrawing our support for (the Estrada) government,'' Reyes said to thundering cheers from anti-Estrada protesters at the EDSA Shrine The EDSA Shrine is a small church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila located at the intersection of Ortigas Avenue and Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Quezon City. . The shrine, the focal venue of protests, commemorates the 1986 ''people power'' revolt that drove the late Ferdinand Marcos Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralín Marcos (September 11, 1917 – September 28, 1989) was President of the Philippines from 1966 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives (1949-1959) and a member of the Philippine Senate (1959-1965). into disgraced exile in Hawaii.
Reyes said the military is throwing its support to Estrada's ''constitutionally mandated successor,'' Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (born April 5, 1947), also known by her initials "G.M.A.", is the 14th and current president of the Republic of the Philippines. She is the country's second female president after Corazon Aquino. , leader of the united opposition.
Mercado told the cheering crowd his decision to leave Estrada was difficult because of friendship, but the interest of the country is paramount. ''The more difficult task of rebuilding has not even started.''
The military defection is seen as the deciding blow to Estrada's attempts to stay in office.
A domino-like chain of resignations by cabinet and key officials followed the military defection.
Finance Secretary Jose Pardo and all his undersecretaries, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Felipe Medalla, Acting Trade Secretary Tomas Aquino, Public Works Secretary Gregorio Vigilar, Education Secretary Andrew Gonzales, Tourism Secretary Gemma Cruz-Araneta, Social Welfare Secretary Dulce Saguisag, and National Treasurer Leonor Briones all quit the government.
Earlier Friday, Estrada said he ordered his lawyers in his impeachment impeachment, formal accusation issued by a legislature against a public official charged with crime or other serious misconduct. In a looser sense the term is sometimes applied also to the trial by the legislature that may follow. trial to drop opposition to the opening of crucial bank documents prosecutors say will prove the president amassed up to 3.3 billion pesos ($63 million) in unexplained wealth.
The Senate impeachment court Tuesday voted 11-10 to keep the documents sealed, sparking the angry street protests and the launching of many now call ''People Power Part 2.''
The vote prompted House of Representatives prosecutors and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel to resign and the impeachment trial to virtually collapse.
Even three of the 11 senators who made votes Tuesday to leave the evidence sealed urged Estrada on Friday to resign.
''I realize that the country is deeply divided because of this issue. To return to the process spelled out by the Constitution, I ordered my lawyers, defense counsel, to agree to the opening of the second envelope,'' Estrada said in the earlier televised announcement.
Tension rose earlier in the day when troops were seen moving from nearby provinces to Manila, but a military spokesman said the troop movements were authorized.
''These movements have been authorized...to respond to a situation that may arise, '' Brig. Gen. Generoso Senga said. ''But I categorically deny there is military intervention.''
Tens of thousands of anti-Estrada protesters continue to flock to EDSA EDSA Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (Metro Manila, Philippines)
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EDSA Extensible Directory Service Agent , the metropolitan Manila shrine dedicated to the memory of the 1986 people's power revolt that drove Marcos into disgraced exile in Hawaii. The rallies that began late Tuesday have grown bigger everyday.
In Manila's Makati financial district, anti- and pro-Estrada rallyists clashed, throwing stones and plastic bottles after trading jeers jeer
v. jeered, jeer·ing, jeers
To speak or shout derisively; mock.
To abuse vocally; taunt: jeered the speaker off the stage. .
Estrada was impeached by the House of Representatives on Nov. 13 on charges of bribery, graft and corruption, betrayal of public trust and culpable Blameworthy; involving the commission of a fault or the breach of a duty imposed by law.
Culpability generally implies that an act performed is wrong but does not involve any evil intent by the wrongdoer. violation of the constitution.
The impeachment followed allegations by a former drinking and gambling buddy of the president that Estrada pocketed up to $11 million in kickbacks from illegal gambling and tobacco taxes.