Gov't says more arrests planned after coup plot uncovered
First posted 03:29pm (Mla time) Feb 26, 2006
AUTHORITIES plan more arrests after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared a state of emergency to preempt an alleged coup plot, a military spokesman said Sunday.
Chief of staff General Generoso Senga met major service commanders earlier in the day to instruct them on their task to "identify or neutralize the conspirators of the plot," military spokesman Colonel Tristan Kison said.
He said the armed forces remained on maximum alert.
"While the security situation has eased a lot we cannot say for certain if the recruitment or other actions [of the plotters] have stopped," Kison said over GMA Network dzBB radio.
Arroyo on Friday declared a "state of national emergency," invoking constitutional powers to use the armed forces to suppress the plot as well as to take over public utilities if necessary.
The government said it had learned of a plan by some military officers to withdraw support from Arroyo and join a planned opposition demonstration last Friday to call for the president's resignation, with the hope that their actions would snowball and Arroyo lose the support of the military.
A leftwing legislator and two retired paramilitary officers have since been arrested, while three senior military and police officials are under investigation for their role in the alleged plot.
Police also raided the offices of the opposition Daily Tribune newspaper in Manila and seized some documents, but later allowed the paper to publish without interference.
Kison declined to identify the other people that the government planned to arrest.
But he described the plot as a "confirmed alliance between the Communist Party of the Philippines" and an alliance that included a military clique as well as a number of non-government organizations.
The communist party's 8,000-member New People's Army has been waging a 37-year insurgency.
Kison said some of the evidence against the conspirators was seized by the authorities during the arrest last week of Army First Lieutenant Lawrence San Juan, who was detained with two alleged communist rebels.
San Juan had escaped from military prison last month while on trial for a failed July 2003 mutiny against Arroyo.