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Filipino actor to challenge Arroyo in polls

Manila, Nov. 23 (Reuters): A hugely popular Philippine movie star, Fernando Poe Jr, has decided to challenge President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in next Mays presidential election, according to political sources and media reports today.

The 63-year-old idol of millions of Filipino movie-goers, whose lack of political and economic experience worries financial markets, said he was still discussing his candidacy with political leaders. But a strategist close to Poe said he had decided to make himself available for selection as the opposition candidate and a newspaper quoted him as saying he would run.

I cannot turn my back on the people, he told the Philippine Star newspaper .I cannot be deaf to their clamour.

As he left his film studio in Manila today, Poe said he was still discussing his candidacy with political allies. But he did not explicitly deny the newspaper report.

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