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Philippine President acknowledges Church's 'moral influence'
    President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has articulated her vision of government by integrity, suggesting the Church does not exert power as much as it does 'moral influence'.
    Arroyo, who assumed office January after former President Joseph Estrada was forced from office in the wake of protests over corruption allegations, said on Saturday that the only way to build a brighter future for the Philippines is 'leadership by example'.
    "We have to work on integrity down the line," she told The Associated Press.
    While division of church and state is enshrined in the constitution, the Catholic Church remains a major force in nearly every aspect of life, and Arroyo sees no reason to change that, suggesting the church does not exert power as much as it does "moral influence."
    Asked about the prospect of seeking her own six-year term in 2004, Arroyo, who celebrates her 54th birthday on Thursday, said she was leaving that decision up to divine provenance.
    "The Lord has been a very good manager of my career," she added.
   
AP
   
2-Apr-01


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