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Philippine President Arroyo on the uprising in Manila

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Arroyo  

"I tolerate the right to assembly, but I do not tolerate rebellion and I do not tolerate violence"

MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo told CNN she remains in control of her country despite what she described as a "rebellion" by supporters of her predecessor, arrested last week on corruption charges.

CNN International's Ralitsa Vassileva talked to Arroyo on Tuesday, after security forces drove demonstrators from the gates of Malacanang Palace, the presidential residence.

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CNN's Kathy Quiano describes the situation

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In the streets Monday night and Tuesday, there has been violence and arrests (May 1)

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Philippine President Arroyo declares 'state of rebellion'

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Vassileva : Tell us about what further measures your government is going to take.

Arroyo : We're not going to allow any more anti-government rallies to take place, for one thing, at least in metro Manila. And also we are going to arrest the people who have been connected to this rebellion.

Vassileva : These are pretty serious measures you're taking. How worried are you about reasserting control over the country?

Arroyo : I'm not worried. I'm in control. I don't have to reassert, because I never lost control.

Vassileva : You have been talking about a plot by political opponents to install a junta. What can you tell us about that?

Arroyo : These are the people that we're arresting now. That's what they want. They have a civilian component -- this mob marching from Alejana to take over the palace -- and then a military component that would give the final deathblow. And then, then they would have a junta and from my understanding, the head of council would be the leader.

Vassileva : Are you intending to take even more serious measures other than declaring a state of rebellion, like martial law?

Arroyo : The way that we have everything under control, no. I don't think we have to go beyond anything but this.

Vassileva : This certainly underscores how difficult it will be for the legal process against former president Estrada to continue. How do you anticipate being in control as this process takes its course?

Arroyo : If we put the people in jail, then it would be more difficult now. They were able to get a lot of the mass action participants from the major religious groups -- who are now realizing that their members are being used to form that rebellion (and) have pulled out. They have made it very clear that they are in support of my administration.

What's very important for them is to be convinced that this is a government that will truly be for the poor and also that we want to give humane treatment to the former president.

While we prosecute him, we will not persecute him.



RELATED STORIES:
Church counters Philippine counter-protest
April 29, 2001
Arroyo warns Estrada supporters as protests continue
April 28, 2001
Estrada arrests trigger angry protests
April 26, 2001
Estrada: 'The truth will come out'
April 25, 2001
Estrada arrested
April 25, 2001

RELATED SITES:
Philippine Office of the Press Secretary
Philippines House of Representatives

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