27 July 2003

Allies of ex-president Estrada 'behind coup plot:

"Manila: Allies of deposed Philippine president Joseph Estrada may be behind the coup plot against his successor, President Gloria Arroyo, a senior military official said today.

Military spokesman Lieutenant General Rodolfo Garcia said that 'we do not want to believe it yet but there is information which we are verifying that (the plotters) are connected with the Estrada group'.

He refused to elaborate, saying, 'I would not name names at this point.'

Earlier, in exposing the coup plot, Arroyo warned 'unscrupulous politicians who exploit the messianic complex of these officers for their naked ambitions'.

Defence Secretary Angelo Reyes said, 'there are some people who would want to work behind the scenes, controlling or manipulating (the officers) - taking advantage of their youth and lack of experience', to mount this coup.

Whether Estrada is really involved does not make all that much difference. At the time of writing about 50 of the mutineers have surrendered, the hostages have been released and there is little sign of the coup succeeding.

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