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Philippines military court dismisses mutiny charges for 2006 coup plot

A Philippines military court dismissed mutiny charges Tuesday against seven officers allegedly involved in the February 2006 coup attempt [BBC report] against former president Gloria Macapagl-Arroyo [BBC profile]. The seven-member military tribunal determined there was insufficient evidence [Inquirer report] to charge the seven junior officers with committing "overt acts" to overthrow the government. Under court-martial, the seven officers will be able to return to active military service. The court has yet to decide on mutiny charges for nine other officers allegedly involved in the attempted 2006 coup. Their hearing is set for November 17.

The 2006 coup plot [JURIST report] involved five members of the Philippines House of Representatives [official website], soldiers, a communist rebel leader and Philippines Senator Gregorio Honasan [official profile], who participated in other coup attempts during the 1990s. Charges against the five lawmakers were dismissed [JURIST report] in May 2006. There have been multiple other coup attempts [JURIST news archive] in the Philippines in the last decade. In 2007, more than 30 military officers and supporters were formally charged with rebellion [JURIST report] when about a dozen officers on trial in the Philippines in connection with a failed 2003 mutiny [BBC report] walked out of court, took control of a Manila hotel and demanded Arroyo's resignation. Philippine military and police forces subsequently regained control of the hotel after a lengthy confrontation. In addition to the aborted 2007 coup, 54 military officers were sentenced [JURIST report] to seven years and six months in prison for their participation in the 2003 coup attempt. No shots were fired during the 2003 incident, in which 31 officers commandeered a Manila hotel, threatened to set off explosives, and held off police for 19 hours before surrendering.

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