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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

16 Charged Over Philippines Plot

MANILA, Philippines -- Police filed charges of rebellion Monday against 16 people suspected of plotting to overthrow Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, as dozens of protesters tried to storm the Philippine legislature, officials said.

Among those charged were former opposition Senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, a veteran of past coup attempts in the 1990s, five members of the House of Representatives, a communist rebel leader and some soldiers. They "conspired to overthrow the Arroyo government," said prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco.

Rebellion is a non-bailable capital offense punishable by at least 40 years in jail.

Arroyo on Friday declared a state of emergency to quash an alleged coup plot by the political opposition, elements within the military and left- and right-wing civilian groups, officials said.

Police on Monday arrested left-wing Republican Joel Virador and Dennis Maga, a spokesman for a group calling for Arroyo's resignation. Several other Arroyo opponents have been detained since Friday's declaration, but at least four have been released, including two retired police generals.

About 100 left-wing protesters, yelling anti-government slogans, barged into the House of Representatives on Monday to denounce the decree and the arrest of a leftist lawmaker, but were pushed back by police, officials said.

Shouting "No to martial law!" and displaying anti-Arroyo placards, the rowdy protesters ran past guards and entered the House lobby, but other guards quickly shut the main door to the plenary hall, where lawmakers had just gone into recess after opening their session.

Arroyo said Monday that her government would work to avoid economic fallout from recent political turmoil, a day after disgruntled marine officers ended a standoff that was viewed as a challenge to her leadership.

Schools across the Philippine capital were closed in an apparent bid to prevent students from protesting against Arroyo.

Two groups of lawyers and other citizens petitioned the Supreme Court to lift the emergency, saying it was unconstitutional. The court's spokesman, Ishmael Khan, said the court could take up the matter as early as Tuesday.

The decree bans rallies, allows arrests without warrants, permits the president to call in the military to intervene and lets her take over facilities -- including media outlets -- that may affect national security. Anti-Arroyo groups have vowed to defy the protest ban.

In a television appearance, Arroyo said previous attempts to unseat the Philippine government since 1989 had undermined economic growth in what she described as a "steep price for political mischief."

But she noted that the stock market rose Monday, saying it was likely because of the resolution of the standoff at the marine headquarters on Sunday.

Thanking those who remained loyal in the political crisis, Arroyo announced that the government had earmarked money for salary increases and housing for soldiers, police, teachers and other government workers.

The standoff Sunday at marine headquarters showed that efforts to oust Arroyo remained alive despite the security clampdown, which critics fear is a step toward martial law.