Tue, Nov 01, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Philippine leader not worried about loyalty of guards

DPA , MANILA

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines yesterday expressed confidence on the loyalty of her close-in security guards amid reports that her opponents were trying to infiltrate their ranks.

"There is no reason to doubt the loyalty of the president's guards as they have already proven many times over their professionalism and devotion to duty," Arroyo's spokesman, Ignacio Bunye, said in a statement.

He said the alleged attempts to infiltrate the ranks of the President Security Group (PSG) only confirm "the desperation of the president's detractors to resort to any low yet futile tactics to advance their sinister plans."

Arroyo has been battling a four-month crisis sparked by allegations she connived with a senior election official to rig the results of last year's presidential presidential election.

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales has received reports that some former high ranking military officers were trying to penetrate the PSG to persuade Arroyo's guards to turn against her.

"This is part of the efforts to wean the armed forces from the chain of command," Gonzalez told the Inquirer. "I trust the chain of command is holding."

Bunye denied reports that Arroyo became so concerned of her safety at the height of the crisis in July that she ordered PSG officers to leave their weapons in their armories so no one could come near her carrying a gun.

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