Philippine anti-corruption chief steps down

Merceditas Gutierrez at a press conference on 29 April 2011
Image caption Merceditas Gutierrez said she was stepping down for the good of the nation

The top anti-corruption official in the Philippines has resigned weeks after politicians voted to impeach her.

Merceditas Gutierrez said she was stepping down to save the country from a lengthy impeachment process.

Her political rivals accuse her of protecting former President Gloria Arroyo from corruption allegations.

Ms Gutierrez, who was due to face an impeachment hearing in two weeks' time, denies any wrongdoing.

Last month, the House of Representatives voted to impeach her after she was accused of betraying public trust by failing to act on corruption claims made against Mrs Arroyo and her family.

Current President Benigno Aquino had described her as an obstacle to his anti-corruption campaign.

Ms Gutierrez said she could prove the allegations were false, but had decided to step down for the good of the nation.

"At a time when the present administration is in its infancy and beset with more urgent problems, the last thing that the nation needs is for the House and the Senate to be embroiled in a long drawn-out impeachment proceeding against a single public official," she said.

Mrs Arroyo, who was president between 2001 and 2010, denies the corruption claims.

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