MANILA, Feb 25 (AFP): Philippine police arrested an opposition congressman and a retired general and raided a newspaper office Saturday after President Gloria Arroyo launched emergency measures to foil an alleged coup plot.
Congressman Crispin Beltran, a leader of the leftist Bayan Muna (Nation First) coalition, and retired general Ramon Montano, who has publicly backed the removal of Arroyo, were arrested separately, police said.
Arroyo declared a national emergency Friday to quell an alleged conspiracy by military officers and civilian allies coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the February 25, 1986 fall of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Demonstrations linked to the anniversary of the "People Power" revolt, which the opposition is using to demand Arroyo's resignation, have been banned.
A Catholic mass was the only public event marking the day, attended by former presidents Fidel Ramos and Corazon Aquino, who are both estranged from Arroyo.
Streets in the capital appeared calm Saturday and there were reports the military may stand down from a maximum-alert status but Arroyo opponents have accused her of trying to bring the country back to the Marcos martial-law era.
Three officers from elite security units led by US-trained special forces officer Brigadier General Danilo Lim were relieved of their commands before dawn Friday and placed under investigation.
At least eight other persons were being sought in connection with the alleged conspiracy involving a "withdrawal of support" by military officers to signal the start of a mutiny to force Arroyo to step down.
Police raided the offices of the Daily Tribune, a small newspaper highly critical of Arroyo, early Saturday, confiscating papers and documents.
Daily Tribune editor and publisher Ninez Cacho-Olivares said she would try to bring out the Sunday edition of the paper. "I'll be damned if I let them take it over," she said.
Staff at two other Manila newspapers, the Malaya and its sister tabloid Abante, said they too expected police to take them over.