Nine pardoned military officers freed in Philippines

Nine pardoned military officers freed in PhilippinesManila  - Nine Philippine military officers convicted in a failed July 2003 mutiny and pardoned by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were freed Friday after almost five years in detention.

The nine officers were "in high spirits" as they walked out of the detention centre at Army headquarters in Manila, said Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner, an Army spokesman.

Brawner said the nine officers agreed to the conditions of the pardon granted by Arroyo, including their permanent disqualification from military service.

They also promised not to commit "any crime or felony or participate in a coup d'etat or other forms of military adventurism," Brawner said.

"They expressed their sincerest gratitude to President Arroyo for her magnanimous act of executive clemency," he added.

Arroyo approved the pardon for the nine officers Monday.

Last month, the nine officers were convicted of coup d'etat and received sentences ranging from six years to life imprisonment.

They were among more than 300 soldiers who seized a shopping complex in the financial district of Makati in the Manila metropolitan area to demand Arroyo's resignation. The mutiny ended with the troops surrendering in less than 24 hours without a single shot fired. (dpa)