Philippine police charge 16 with attempting to overthrow government

Philippine police charge 16 with attempting to overthrow government

[JURIST] Police in the Philippines [JURIST news archive] Monday charged 16 people with rebellion for allegedly planning to oust Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo [official website; BBC profile], according to the head of the police legal department. The coup plot 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. The police say they have gathered electronic materials that indicate an alliance among the suspects. Only two individuals have been detained [JURIST report] so far and have refused to participate in a hearing before a panel of prosecutors. The speaker of the House of Representatives has proposed [press release] putting the five House member implicated under his custody until arrest warrants are issued.

Arroyo declared a state of emergency [JURIST report] on Friday in an attempt to stop the coup plot and to protect the economy [government press release], which prompted 100 protestors to storm the legislature shouting anti-government sentiments. The emergency decree [text of Proclamation 1017] allows warrantless arrests, bans rallies, and permits the president to seize buildings. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines [profession website] has asked the Philippines Supreme Court [official website] to end the decree saying it is unconstitutional and a violation of civil liberties. AP has more.