STATE OF EMERGENCY LIFTED; ARROYO: 'I'LL DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN IF...'

MANILA
, March 4, 2006, (MALAYA) PRESIDENT Arroyo yesterday lifted the state of national emergency she declared last Friday, saying order has been restored and the plot against her has been broken.

Arroyo, through Proclamation 1021, said "the AFP and PNP have effectively prevented, suppressed and quelled the acts of lawless violence and rebellion."

She warned political opponents to stop undermining her government with their "cheap political antics."

"I will not stand for this kind of adventurism at any time. And I will act with the same force of will and determination again and again if our opponents insist on inflicting instability on the nation and hurting our economy," she said.

She said the state of emergency was necessary to ensure the stability of the people and the country against "an alliance of malicious destabilizers and misguided military intriguers" who wanted to take advantage of the EDSA celebrations to sabotage the Constitution and bring down the government.

"It was not an action I took lightly, but I felt too much was at stake to do anything less. I believe my actions strengthened and protected our civil liberties and free press, and maintained the economic gains we fought so hard to secure," she said.

She said the actions of the destabilizers have been documented and the justice system will see to their fair trial.

Arroyo ordered Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr. to lead a "bottom-up review" to get the views of the soldiers in the field and make sure that reforms in the military continue.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said General Orders 5 and 6, which ordered the AFP and PNP to ensure law and order, and Administrative Order 143, which prohibits the carrying of firearms outside homes and offices, will be lifted.

At noon yesterday, the police detail at the Daily Tribune began to move out.

Tight security remained around Malacañang with bags and packages inspected at least four times. Container vans still stacked near the gates.

President Fidel Ramos said he is gratified with the lifting of the state of emergency as it prevented a more serious action from restive members of the military.

He said Arroyo must still explain provisions of PP 1017 as well as General Orders Nos. 5 and 6 as these served as bases for some of the actions taken by the military and the police.

"There are some follow-up actions that need to be taken, to really justify or affirm the much publicized Leftist, Rightist conspiracy and that is a dampening reason for the chilling effect on the economy," Ramos said.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said government will continue to monitor media and other individuals perceived to be aiding destabilization efforts.

"We have to be more vigilant now. We can always impose it (PP 1017) when the necessity arises," he said in a briefing.

Gonzalez said PP 1017 has a "sobering effect" on the media that even those who were anti-government have learned to toe the line.

"There are many lessons learned from PP 1017. Even the most rebellious media has started to re-examine its own policies," he said.

He said even without PP 1017, the police may conduct arrests without warrants of offenders who are caught in flagrante delicto, or in the act of committing crimes, or of fugitives from justice.

Gonzalez said charges of rebellion and attempted coup against key opposition, figures including former Sen. Gregorio Honasan, Anakpawis party-list Rep. Crispin Beltran and escaped Magdalo leader 1Lt. Lawrence San Juan, will be pursued despite the lifting of the state of national emergency.

The cases are pending before the Makati regional trial court while at least 14 left-leaning congressmen suspected communist leaders are facing preliminary investigation at the DOJ next week.

He also said the government, with the National Telecommunication Commission and the PNP at the helm, will continue to monitor media entities that are "recklessly" reporting the claims of groups linked to those wanting to wrest power from government.

Blasts rock Pasig MALAYA March 4, 2006

Two explosions a few minutes apart hit Pasig City yesterday.

The blasts were likely caused by homemade bombs called pillbox because investigators found no wiring or other materials that would indicate use of a powerful improvised explosive device, said Director Vidal Querol, chief of the Metro Manila police.

The first blast occurred at 9:45 a.m. near a cement power post at the foot of Julia Vargas flyover near the Eastern Police District annex building and Metrowalk along Ortigas avenue. The annex building houses the EPD-SWAT. Witness said the blast damaged the post.

The second blast took place 10 minutes later at a vacant lot 300 meters away from the site of the first explosion. The explosive was planted in a parked white van. The cafeteria near the vacant lot suffered damages.

PNP chief Arturo Lomibao told field commanders to stay vigilant.

The explosions occurred shortly before President Arroyo lifted the state of national emergency she declared Friday last week. – Raymond Africa


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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