Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, saying it was her voice in recordings that have sparked calls for her to quit, apologized on Monday for a lapse in judgment but insisted she did not sway last year's election.
The opposition, which also accuses members of Arroyo's family of taking kickbacks of illegal gambling, has seized on the recordings of conversations with a senior election official as proof she cheated her way to a fresh term in May 2004.
"I was anxious to protect my votes and during that time had conversations with many people, including a Comelec (commission on elections) official. My intent was not to influence the outcome of the election and it did not," she said in a televised speech, breaking three weeks of silence over the recordings.
"I recognize that making any such call was a lapse in judgment. I am sorry. I also regret taking so long to speak before you on this matter."
There is no law to stop candidates from talking to election officials. But the opposition says the recordings, which seem to show Arroyo calling on election commissioner Virgilio Garcillano for a bigger margin of victory, broke the ethical limits.
Arroyo's spokesman had previously said the recordings had been doctored.
Nothing has been proven against Arroyo or her family, with the government saying the accusations are part of a plot to undermine and oust her. But the political noise has rattled financial markets over fears for Arroyo's fiscal reform agenda.
sway : to influence or direct by power and authority; by persuasion, or by moral force（影响，支配）
kickback: a commercial bribe paid by a seller to a purchasing agent in order to induce the agent to enter into the transaction（回扣，酬金）