Philippines Imposes Martial Law in Province

Some call President Arroyo's move overkill
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 5, 2009 9:44 AM CST
Philippines Imposes Martial Law in Province
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal in a 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo imposed martial law today on a southern province, while security forces detained the patriarch of a powerful clan and three of his sons. They are accused of massacring 57 people and fomenting rebellion. Critics accused Arroyo of overkill—it's the first time martial law has been imposed in three decades—but officials said the clan had "plans to undertake hostile action."

The clan, which has ruled Maguindanao province with a private army for years, is accused of massacring a rival's convoy last month. "They are really a threat to the peace and order of the province," said a military official. A human rights group says the government is supposed to impose martial law only to suppress insurrection, rebellion, or invasion. "None of these grounds are existent." (Read more Philippines stories.)

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