June 27, 2005

Arroyo, in speech, to say her voice was on tape

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Gloria MacapagalArroyo will say on Monday it was her voice in recordings thathave sparked calls for her to quit, apologizing for a lapse injudgment, an advance copy of her speech showed.

The opposition, which also accuses members of Arroyo'sfamily of taking payoffs from illegal gambling, has seized onthe recordings of a conversation with the election commissioneras proof she cheated her way to a fresh term in the May 2004polls.

"I was anxious to protect my votes and during that time hadconversations with many people, including a Comelec (commissionon elections) official," said the copy of the speech.

"I recognize that making any such call was a lapse injudgment. I'm sorry."

There is no law to stop candidates from talking to electionofficials. But the opposition says the recordings, which seemto show Arroyo calling on election commissioner VirgilioGarcillano for a bigger margin of victory, broke the ethicallimits.

Arroyo's spokesman had previously said the recordings hadbeen doctored.