May 3, 2006

Philippine court upholds Arroyo’s emergency order

By Rosemarie Francisco

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines (Reuters) - The Philippine Supreme
Court gave President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo a legal boost on
Wednesday when it upheld her order declaring emergency rule
after the discovery of an alleged coup, a source said.

After recently striking down two other government policies,
the court voted 11-3 to uphold Arroyo's controversial decision
to declare emergency rule for a week ending on March 3, a court
source told Reuters.

The Supreme Court was expected to announce its decision
later today.

Arroyo declared a state of emergency after she said she had
discovered a coup plot by renegade soldiers and leftwing foes.

During the emergency rule, widely criticized by human
rights groups, several people were detained without charge, an
opposition newspaper was raided and troops were sent to monitor
two television stations.

Opposition groups had argued in court that the emergency
order denied them their civil liberties.

The state countered that any hit to human rights was due to
the military and police implementing the order incorrectly. It
insisted a state of emergency was necessary.

Last week, the Supreme Court struck down Arroyo's order to
break up street protests as she faced a political crisis.

Earlier in April, the court said another Arroyo order,
which had prevented government officials from attending
congressional hearings, was unconstitutional.

(Additional reporting by Manny Mogato)