In April 2005, the Government and the Moro Front announced
that, during the initial peace talks in Malaysia, an
agreement had been reached on the indigenous territories
claimed by the rebels over the previous 3 decades. This
topic was the basics of the negotiation process. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of PH and its meanings of Philippines.
The presidential palace declared in June 2005 that it had
uncovered a plot to remove Gloria Arroyo due to alleged
irregularities in the election process the previous year.
Opposition members were accused of participating in the
plot, which included was to use a tape that originated from
North American officials. On the tape, one could hear
Arroyo’s voice urging Election Commission officials to
increase her voting share on Mindanao. The tape suggested a
possible US involvement in a conspiracy against the
president. However, the US Embassy in Manila rejected any
knowledge of the tape. Nevertheless, the president's
husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, volunteered in the United
The case triggered massive demonstrations in Manila in
June and July demanding the president's departure. Both
Senate President Franklin Drilon, former President Corazon
Aquino and several of Arroyo's ministers who had resigned
from their posts called on the president to step down.
Unsuccessfully. On July 9, the entire country was declared
in alarm mode. Still, the protests in Manila, Baguio,
Bacolod, Naga and Cebu continued. In Mindanao, too, the
people began to protest. Not with demands for Arroyo's
departure, but with demands for the formation of an
Despite calls and massive popular protests, Arroyo clung
to power, and in December Freedom House changed the
country's status from "free" to "partially free." It was the
first time this happened since the dictator Ferdinand Marcos
was overthrown in 1986.
On February 24, 2006, a coup attempt was made against
Arroyo, but it failed. It triggered nationwide state of
emergency that lasted until March 3rd. 4 MPs from the left
and 12 other opposition leaders were charged with taking
part in the coup. But right-wing General Danny Lim and a
number of other officers were also arrested. It is unclear
if a coup attempt actually took place.
A government report published in February 2007 accused
senior military officials of being behind the execution of
several hundred left-wing activists in the period since
The general election campaign up to the parliamentary and
municipal elections in May 2007 was, as usual, characterized
by extensive violence. Over 300 people were killed during
the 3 months leading up to the elections.
In May 2010, parliamentary elections were held. During
the election campaign, over 20 were killed: at least 5
candidates and 16 campaign activists, but the months before
were even more bloody. In November 2009, 63 people traveling
in an opposition candidate's convoy were killed in
Maguindanao province - including 34 journalists. The local
governor, Andal Ampatuan Sr. and a number of members of his
private army have since been arrested for the murders.
Amnesty International said the number of private armies
increased from 68 in December to 117 in February. Following
the Maguindanao massacre, there were strong calls for
President Gloria Arroyo to repeal Directive 546 of 2006 that
de-facto legalized private armies, but the president
refused. Authorities were generally very slow and reluctant
to investigate the circumstances surrounding the numerous
murders, let alone solve them.The NPA was reportedly
responsible for the murder of one of the 5 candidates, and
the military's 42nd Infantry Battalion was immediately put
into the hunt for partisans.
Davao City, General Santos City, Digos City, Tagum City
and Cebu City continue to be ravaged by death patrols
killing petty criminals, drug dealers and street children.
In Davao alone, 89 people were killed by death patrols in
the period January-September 2009. That brought the death
toll to 926 since 1998. The worst massacre took place on
November 23, 2009 outside the city of Ampatuan when 58 were
killed. The killers came from the Ampatuan family, which has
a standing "army" of 2-5,000 armed members. Very few of the
killings have been resolved. Both authorities and courts are
very long-suffering in investigations and judicial
proceedings. Most often, the authorities do not do enough to
protect any witnesses.
The May 2010 presidential election was won by Liberal
Benigno Aquino III, who won 42% of the vote. His mother,
Corazon Aquino, was president in the late 1980s, and his
father Benigno Aquino was assassinated by the dictatorship
in August 1983. The mother died in 2009, prompting strong
parties in the party to urge the son to stand. Upon his
accession, Aquino declared that he would set up a Truth
Commission to investigate the corruption charges against
former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It happened in
June. In September, he made his first foreign visit - to the
old US colonial power.
In August 2010, a fired policeman kidnapped a tourist bus
with 20 tourists and 5 Filipinos. The policeman believed he
had been unjustly fired and demanded a hearing where he
could defend himself. As a result of the police's hopeless
handling of the hostage situation, eight hostages and the
policeman were killed while several others were injured.
Hong Kong where tourists were advised against subsequent
trips to the Philippines.