A Philippine court ruled Thursday that two alleged coup plotters can leave their jail cells to register as candidates in senatorial elections in May.
The Makati Regional Trial Court granted requests by former Sen. Gregorio Honasan and Navy Lt. Senior Grade Antonio Trillanes to be allowed to leave detention to personally file their certificates of candidacy at the elections commission office.
Honasan, 58, was arrested in November after nine months on the run and is being held under tight security in a police training camp near Manila.
He has been indicted on charges of leading a mutiny by about 300 junior officers who briefly occupied a ritzy apartment-hotel and mall complex in Makati, Manila's financial district, in July 2003. He also faces charges in a failed coup last February which prompted President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to declare a weeklong state of emergency.
Trillanes was among the young officers who led the short-lived mutiny in 2003.
Both plan to run as independents for the Senate.
Judge Oscar Pimentel permitted Trillanes to leave his detention cell at the Philippine Marine headquarters on the morning of Feb. 6, escorted by security guards. He allowed a similar leave for Honasan on the following day.
The court ordered Honasan and Trillanes to refrain from discussing their cases with the media.
Honasan, a former army colonel popularly known by the nickname "Gringo," was a key leader in the attempt to oust late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. That uprising failed but sparked massive protests that led to the strongman's fall.
He also turned against Marcos' successor, Corazon Aquino, staging coup attempts against her before he was given amnesty and won a Senate seat in 1995 and again in 2001.