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Guingona quits as ambassador to China

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Ambassador to China Teofisto Guingona Jr. resigned yesterday, joining a growing number of key officials who have withdrawn support from President Arroyo over allegations of election fraud.

"It pains me to write this letter, but the challenge that confronts the nation today goes beyond personal attachments," Guingona, who previously served as Arroyo’s vice president, said in a letter to her. "We decide as conscience dictates."

Guingona also briefly served as Arroyo’s foreign secretary, and disagreed with some of her policies — especially on giving US troops access to counter-terrorism training grounds in the Philippines.

Earlier yesterday, 10 of Arroyo’s Cabinet members — one-third of the total — resigned, and asked her to hand over power to Vice President Noli de Castro.

Guingona did not raise the topic of Arroyo’s resignation.

Mrs. Arroyo has bolstered relations with China and said cooperation with Beijing was one of the pillars of her foreign policy.

Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo, who has remained loyal to President Arroyo, said a Chinese delegation headed by Beijing’s ambassador to the Philippines has expressed support for her administration despite the current crisis. — AP, Pia Lee-Brago

ARROYO

BEIJING

CHINA TEOFISTO GUINGONA JR.

FOREIGN SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO

GUINGONA

MRS. ARROYO

PIA LEE-BRAGO

PRESIDENT

PRESIDENT ARROYO

VICE PRESIDENT NOLI

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