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RAMOS IS DECLARED WINNER OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

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Congress Monday officially proclaimed former Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos the winner of the May 11 presidential election.

The 64-year-old West Point graduate will take office June 30 as the eighth president of the Republic of the Philippines, succeeding Corazon Aquino, who supported his campaign.Ramos, a second cousin of former President Ferdinand Marcos, played a key role in the 1986 uprising that installed Aquino as president. He then defended her against seven coup attempts.

He won the seven-way election contest with 23.5 percent of the votes, the smallest mandate in Philippine history.

Opponents claimed Aquino rigged the election and accused Congress of failing to exercise its constitutional duty to investigate allegations of fraud.

Sen. Joseph Estrada, a former actor who ran on a ticket with presidential candidate Eduardo Cojuangco, was proclaimed winner of the separate vice presidential race.

A joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives voted Monday to accept findings of a congressional committee that certified Ramos and Estrada as the winners last week.

In Manila Monday, police used bullets, tear gas and nightsticks to disperse thousands of demonstrators who urged the military and police to overthrow the government.

No casualty figures were immediately available; at least two people were arrested.