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Philippines president declares state of emergency after coup plot discovered

[JURIST] Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo [official website] declared a national emergency in a taped television address [recorded audio] Friday after uncovering a plot to oust her from office. The state of national emergency declaration [full text of Proclamation 1017] issued under Article 2, Section 4 [text] of the Philippines Constitution keeps the judicial system intact and allows Arroyo to use the military to quash uprisings. Arroyo, who took office in January 2001 after a military revolt against former president Joseph Estrada [Wikipedia profile], ordered the arrest of three officers from elite military units and confirmed plans to arrest at least eight more officers in connection with the alleged plot forged by right-wing and communist groups. Arroyo also suspended protests and intimated that the government may seek to investigate civilian suspects as well.

The proclamation follows Arroyo's announcement [press release] on Thursday that she intends to serve the entire six-year term to which she was elected in May 2004. The early part of Arroyo's term has been marred by allegations of election fraud of which she was cleared [JURIST report] in November. AFP has more. The Manila Times has local coverage from the Philippines.

9:05 PM ET - The Integrated Bar of the Philippines [profession website] said late Friday that it would challenge Arroyo’s declaration of a state of emergency before the Philippines Supreme Court. The United States, meanwhile, has called on Arroyo to respect the rule of law, uphold civil rights and reject violence [US Embassy Manila statement]. Manila TV station INQ7 has more in its running log of the latest developments in the governmental crisis.

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