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Philippines Charges 16 with Plot to Overthrow the Government


Philippine police filed charges of rebellion Monday against 16 people, including a former senator and a congressman, as the government continued its crackdown against the opposition.

The 16 were charged with conspiracy to overthrow the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who declared a state of emergency Friday claiming disgruntled members of the military and opposition members from the left and the right of the political spectrum were plotting to overthrow her government.

Mrs. Arroyo says she issued the emergency decree to save her government.

"[There has been] a steep rise for political mischief," she said. "And that is why we had to declare a state of national emergency."

The declaration gives sweeping powers to the government.

Those charged include the former opposition senator and former soldier Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, who led several bloody coups against the presidency of Corazon Aquino in the late 1980s, House of Representatives member, Crispin Beltran, several soldiers, and three leftists members of Congress.

Lawyers and other citizens petitioned the Supreme Court to rescind the emergency decree, calling it unconstitutional.