Arroyo denies trying to muzzle media

The Philippine government says press freedom will not suffer despite an ongoing search for conspirators of a failed military coup last month.

    Philippine president has stepped up security and is cracking down on dissenters

    The statement followed a news report that President Gloria Arroyo confronted a broadcast journalist about an interview she did with  Gregorio Honasan, now accused of being the mastermind of the uprising on 27 July, AFP reported.

      

    Press Secretary Milton Alingod denied reports on Sunday that Arroyo accused the journalist of aiding conspirators and saying that intelligence sources had seen her meeting Honasan.

     

    “The president explained that the government does not intend to muzzle the media,” Alingod said on Radio Mindanao. “There's nothing to be afraid of.”

     

    Mutiny

     

    Security was stepped up in and around the Filipino capital after some 300 mutineers seized a section of the Makati financial district at dawn three weeks ago.

     

    The mutineers called for Arroyo's resignation, saying the president and the army were corrupt.

     

    The rebels surrendered less than 24 hours later when they failed to garner any support.

     

    Arroyo has alleged the mutiny was part of a larger plot to depose her and install a 15-member junta to rule the country.

     

    Coup central

     

    Investigators, who recovered equipment worth as much as half a million dollars, have pointed to the fact that junior army officers could not have raised enough money to buy the hardwear unless they received external support.  

     

    The Philippines suffered a rash of right-wing military coup attempts in the late 1980s that damaged the economy, leaving it lagging its rapidly developing neighbours.

     

    Government prosecutors have been told to prepare rebellion charges against Honasan in connection with the mutiny, AFP reported.

    SOURCE: AFP


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