State of emergency lifted in Philippines
Updated: 2006-03-03 13:39
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo lifted a week-old state of emergency on
Friday, after her security advisers assured her that the threat of a coup had
"I am happy to report that we have
dismantled the sabotage efforts," Arroyo said in a nationally televised address.
"I strongly believe that law and order has returned."
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo smiles as she walks towards the briefing
room to make her announcement Friday, March 3, 2006 at the Malacanang
palace in Manila. Arroyo lifted a week-old state of emergency on Friday,
after her security advisers assured her that the threat of a coup has
Arroyo declared the emergency last Friday to quash a coup plot allegedly
involving disgruntled soldiers, communist rebels and civilian backers. On
Thursday, the defense, justice and police chiefs said they would recommend
lifting the decree because the situation was normalizing.
"It is important for our political opponents and the opportunists to stop
this nuisance to our economy and embarrassment to the Philippines caused by
these useless charades," Arroyo said.
"I will never tolerate this kind of adventurism. No matter how many times, I
will act with steadfastness and determination each time our enemies undermine
our nation and the economy."
Opposition and civil activists have warned that political freedoms were being
Authorities have filed criminal charges against at least 51 opposition
members, military personnel and others for trying to overthrow the president.
They include five left-wing lawmakers who sought refugee at the House of
Representatives and refused to be interviewed by police.
"Many subversives and some police and soldiers have been arrested," Arroyo
said. "Our justice system will deal with them."
Civil libertarians, lawyers, businessmen and media groups have expressed
concerns over a string of warrantless arrests, a ban on rallies and a raid on a
Left-wing Rep. Teodoro Casino, one of six lawmakers charged with rebellion,
called the end of Arroyo's decree a "cosmetic" move amid all the flak generated
by her emergency proclamation. He and four of the other legislators have been
holed up in the House of Representatives building to avoid arrest.
"So what? We still cannot go out of Congress, we still have a lousy
president, and the military and police are still after 'the enemies of the
state,'" he said. "She lifted it to escape the snowballing protest against the
proclamation. It's cosmetic, but in a way it's a victory, because she was forced
to lift it."
Four legal challenges to Arroyo's decree had been filed with the Supreme
Court, which had set oral arguments for next Tuesday. Casino said those actions
are now moot and academic but vowed protests will continue against what he
called continuing political repression.
Arroyo said she had been forced to declare the emergency because "there was a
clear and present danger to the republic" as it marked the 20th anniversary of
the "people power" revolt that ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
"One week ago, malicious destabilizers and wayward police and soldiers joined
forces to exploit the emotional celebrations," Arroyo said. "They had no other
goals but to sabotage our constitution and to destroy the legal government of
The marine commander was relieved of duties Sunday, sparking a standoff at
marine headquarters when his backers called on citizens to defy a ban on rallies
and gather at marine headquarters to protect officers "from aggression."
Arroyo said she has ordered the defense secretary to review the events with
troops to determine their sentiments and listen to their grievances and needs
and push ahead with reforms in the armed forces toward