Philippine coup threat 'has waned'

Philippine officials have said that a coup plot against the president has been largely beaten, but opponents could still try to destabilise her administration.

    President Arroyo lifted the week-old emergency rule

    Gloria Macapagal Arroyo lifted a week-old state of emergency on Friday after her security advisers assured her that the threat of a coup by a loose coalition of opposition politicians, communist guerrillas and right-wing elements in the military had waned.

    In a weekly newspaper column, Ignacio Bunye, the presidential spokesman, said: "With the plot effectively beaten back, we can now get back on track.

    "The enemies of the state will always test a new threshold of destabilisation but they will never dent the rock steady foundations of our constitutional democracy.

    "We leave to our law enforcers and the criminal justice system the task of meeting the residual threats posed by the remnants of the failed conspiracy."

    Battling treachery

    Lieutenant-General Hermogenes Esperon, the head of the army, said most participants in the failed coup have been identified but those who remained unidentified could regroup and continue to plot against the government.

    "With the plot effectively beaten back, we can now get back on track."

    Ignacio Bunye, the presidential spokesman

    Critics have accused Arroyo of exaggerating the coup threat to justify her declaration of a state of national emergency more than a week ago and a crackdown on opponents and the press to ensure her hold on power.

    Arroyo's camp responded with a public campaign against the coup plotters.

    Over the weekend, the government released a video documentary, called "Battling Treachery", which detailed several plots to oust her through a coup, assassination, attacks on key government installations and massive protests.

    The documentary was shown on state-run TV networks and featured in a government website.

    General Generoso Senga, the military chief of staff, said in the documentary that the coup plot would have caused chaos had it succeeded because those involved would definitely fight over power.

    SOURCE: AFP


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