Accessibility links

Philippine Police Question Presidential Critics, Raid Newspaper


Philippine police have questioned several prominent government critics and raided a newspaper, a day after President Gloria Arroyo declared a state of emergency in response to an alleged coup plot. One former Filipino leader has compared the president's move to the tactics of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, ousted 20 years ago this week.

A former president of the Philippines, Fidel Ramos, said Saturday that President Arroyo overreacted in declaring a state of emergency. He criticized the order, called Presidential Proclamation, or PP, 1017.

"I am surprised by PP 1017," he said. "In fact, I was appalled, when I heard about it yesterday. And I am dismayed."

Ramos called the declaration "Marcosian", a reference to Ferdinand Marcos, the dictator ousted in 1986 by a "people power" movement, known as the EDSA revolution.

Rallies were planned to commemorate the anniversary of Marcos's overthrow this week, but the emergency order bans all demonstrations. Some protests took place on Friday, but police broke them up, and, on Saturday, the streets of Manila were quiet.

Ramos says Mrs. Arroyo's declaration has hurt the spirit of freedom created by EDSA.

"I am saying that the issuance of presidential proclamation 1017, just in that barest form, has been more damaging to the spirit of EDSA, than the protests that were done yesterday," he added.

Ramos has previously supported the president. His backing was crucial to Mrs. Arroyo's survival during an attempt to impeach her on charges of corruption and vote rigging in September.

On Saturday, police questioned several critics of the president, including former police General Ramon Montano, who had previously urged Mrs. Arroyo to resign. Left-wing Congressman Crispin Beltran was also taken in for questioning.

Police also raided the printing house and editorial offices of The Daily Tribune, a newspaper that has been critical of Mrs. Arroyo's government.

The president declared the state of emergency Friday, after the military said it had foiled an alleged coup plot and detained a general linked to it.

Mrs. Arroyo said she acted because the opposition, along with extremist elements from both the left and right, were trying to bring down her legitimately elected government.

XS
SM
MD
LG