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Philippine President Declares State of Emergency


Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has declared a state of emergency after some senior members of the military were detained in an alleged coup plot. Mrs. Arroyo says she is responding to the opposition, as well as extremists in the political left and right, who are trying to bring down her elected government. This comes as the nation marks the 20th anniversary of the "people power" revolution that ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

President Gloria Arroyo told the Philippines Friday that the military had blocked an attempted coup by some officers.

In a broadcast message, Mrs. Arroyo said the threat to the nation is clear and she will bring the full weight of the law against those that want to thwart the constitution.

In an official proclamation declaring a state of emergency, the president said it was necessary to block extremists in the political opposition who want to bring down the duly elected government.

The Army, meanwhile, announced it has detained Brigadier General Danilo Lim, who was at the center of the alleged plot scheduled for Friday. Military officials say breakaway soldiers had allegedly planned to join Friday's demonstrations against President Arroyo, and declare they were withdrawing their support from her, in hopes of sparking an uprising.

The armed forces chief of staff, General Generoso Senga, held a news conference to underscore these are rogue elements and assured the nation the military is loyal to the civilian government.

"I would like to report to you that the armed forces of the Philippines leadership, and chain of command down the line, is in full control," he said. " We are committed to adhere strictly to the chain of command and to remain loyal to the flag, the constitution and to the republic."

Emotions are running high in Manila. The country is marking the 20th anniversary of the ousting of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 by a "people power" revolt.

Opposition rallies went ahead even though police canceled permits under the state of emergency. There were scattered clashes with demonstrators.

Security has been beefed up at the presidential palace and checkpoints cropped up around Manila.

Mrs. Arroyo survived impeachment on charges of corruption and election fraud last September. But the opposition, and some of her former allies, continues to call for her resignation. She has vowed to stay in office saying she is the properly elected leader.

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