Philippines charges 16 for 'coup'

Police in the Philippines have charged 16 people over an alleged coup plot to oust President Gloria Arroyo, the state prosecutor has said. 

Soldiers, police officers and left-wing legislators were among those charged. 

The country remains under a state of emergency, which was declared by President Arroyo on Friday after the army said it had foiled a coup plot. 

Schools in the capital Manila stayed closed on Monday, and the situation remained volatile. 

A government spokesman said three of the 16 suspects had already been arrested. 

Four leftist members of the House of Representatives were listed as suspects, as well as former senator Gregorio Honasan, who has been linked to several previous coup attempts. 

Legal challenge 

The crisis began on Friday when the military announced it had uncovered a plan by senior officers to overthrow President Arroyo. 

Mrs Arroyo then declared a state of emergency, and a senior general, Brig Gen Danilo Lim, was detained on charges of planning the attempted coup. 

A state of emergency bans rallies, but Filipinos took to the streets in defiance of the ban on Friday and Saturday, to mark the 20th anniversary of a popular revolt that ousted Ferdinand Marcos as president. 

Then on Sunday, the man who commands the Philippines marines, Maj Gen Renato Miranda, was removed from his post, prompting a brief stand-off between his supporters and those of the president. 

According to the BBC's correspondent in Manila, Sarah Toms, Sunday's friction was a sign that the threat is still not over to Mrs Arroyo, who survived an impeachment attempt last year over allegations of election rigging and corruption. 

Two groups of lawyers and civilians went to the Supreme Court on Monday to challenge the state of emergency. 

Critics say the order reminds them of the use of martial law by Ferdinand Marcos.

27/02/2006

Bron : BBC News

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