Arroyo's emergency order faces legal challenge
Updated: 2006-02-28 13:45
MANILA (Reuters) - Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's emergency
rule faced challenges in the Supreme Court on Tuesday as police geared for more
arrests of leftists and soldiers the president says conspired to topple her.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo attends a mass at a Catholic church in
Manila, February 26, 2006. Arroyo tightened the 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.
Arroyo, who survived an attempt to impeach her last year over allegations of
vote-rigging and corruption, says the situation is under control but has not
spelled out the duration of the state of emergency invoked on Friday with broad
powers of detention.
"Maybe within a week's time we will lift the emergency," a senior defense
official told Reuters.
"We're aware that it's causing some jitters. We're going to recommend the
lifting as soon as the threats are gone or brought to a more manageable level."
Radio station DZMM reported a Marine colonel was removed for leading a
protest on Sunday by about 100 of the elite force's soldiers at a Manila base
over the replacement of their commander in connection with the plot.
Police have filed rebellion cases against at least 16 people, two of them
arrested already. A pro-opposition newspaper has been threatened with closure
after being raided on Saturday.
At least 51 communist rebel chiefs and leftist leaders face a separate set of
The president's economic team is anxious to have the order lifted as soon as
possible to avoid damaging recent improvements to the fiscal picture, though the
streets are quiet and financial markets have more than recovered from the shock
of last Friday's announcement of the coup plot.
The peso was around 51.70 to the dollar on Tuesday morning, stronger than its
close at 51.96 on Monday and 52.20 on Friday. The main stock index was up 1.65
The Supreme Court started considering several petitions by groups arguing
that the president's order was unconstitutional, but Supreme Court spokesman
Ismael Khan said the justices would need time to hear comments from all sides.
Court officials said the government had been asked to respond by next Monday
and a full hearing would open the following day.