Philippines to lift martial law imposed in Maguindanao

The Philippines will lift martial law imposed in the southern province of Maguindanao night, Executive Secretary Ermita said.

Philippines to lift martial law imposed in Maguindanao

The Philippines will lift martial law imposed in the southern province of Maguindanao on Saturday night, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said.

Martial law was imposed on Dec. 4 after a massacre in which 57 people were killed.

Eduardo said the decision was taken after a cabinet recommendation. He said the martial law regulations would cease to be in force at 9 p.m. (1300 GMT), but about 4,000 soldiers would remain in the province to maintain law and order.

A state of emergency remains in force in Maguindanao.

He said on radio that more than 500 people were arrested after the proclamation of martial law on Dec 4.

Sixty-two people, mostly from the powerful Ampatuan clan that controls the province, had been arrested on charges of rebellion and more than 600 were likely to be finally charged with the crime, which carries a life sentence.

Eduardo said the criminal justice system in Maguindanao had resumed operations.

"In view of these accomplishments under martial law, the cabinet group recommended for the lifting of the proclamation and the president has approved the recommendation," he said.

opposition groups and analysts say the measure was unjustified as there was no concrete evidence of an invasion or rebellion in the province, as required under the 1987 constitution.

Congress has held two joint sessions on whether to endorse the measure, and was due to take a vote on Dec. 15.

Opposition groups have said martial law could be used to cancel presidential elections next year, citing the case of strongman Ferdinand Marcos who declared martial law in 1972 after an assassination attempt on his defence secretary and then ruled under it for 14 years.

Reuters
Last Mod: 13 Aralık 2009, 14:44
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