Critics speak up as Arroyo weeds out opponents
Updated: 2006-02-26 14:38
MANILA (Reuters) -
Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo kept a tight net around suspected
coup plotters and opposition newspapers on Sunday amid criticism that the state
of emergency declared last week smacks of Marcos-era martial law.
"We want to assure our people that this declaration of state of national
emergency is temporary," police spokesman Samuel Pagdilao said in a radio
interview. "The only goal is to remove troublemakers in our midst and hold them
|Supporters of former Philippine president Corazon Aquino gather at
the Makati's financial district in Manila February 24, 2006, to celebrate
the 20th anniversary of the 'People's Power', shortly before they were
dispersed by riot police. [REUTERS]
He said there would be a fresh round of arrests, continuing a purge since
Friday of alleged masterminds behind what Arroyo described as a conspiracy by
members of the opposition, communists and "military adventurists" to topple her.
The army has detained the commander of an elite regiment as the leader of
troops who were allegedly planning to incite crowds at anti-Arroyo rallies, and
on Saturday a former police chief and leftist congressman were questioned.
ABS-CBN news said police had a list of 100 people to be arrested over the
plot, including former Senator Gregorio Honasan, a hero of the "people power"
overthrow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos 20 years ago.
Arroyo went to church on Sunday and Manila's streets were calm, reassuring
analysts that financial markets would recover their footing after a 1 percent
slide in both the peso and the main stock index on Friday's emergency
"The risk to the administration seems to be dissipating," said Jonathan
Ravelas at Banco de Oro Universal Bank in Manila. "Since we have not seen any
adverse movement during the weekend, we will probably see a more stable market
Arroyo, an economist who has pushed reform to lift government revenues, moved
on Saturday to rally confidence in her handling of the debt-ridden and
impoverished southeast Asian nation.
"Our economy is improving so we won't allow the destabilisers and coup
plotters to destroy our momentum," she said.