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Last Updated: Monday, 28 July, 2003, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK
Manila mutineers' claims
Philippine army rebel
The rebels made specific accusations
The group of 300 soldiers who staged a mutiny in the Philippines at the weekend made three main accusations against the government of President Gloria Arroyo.

  • The Philippines Government and armed forces were selling arms and ammunition to the country's main rebel groups - the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the New People's Army (NPA), and the Abu Sayyaf

  • President Arroyo, through her defence secretary and chief of the intelligence services, masterminded bombings in Davao City in March and April in order to secure funding from the United States to help fight terrorism

  • The government was planning to declare martial law in August in order to allow Mrs Arroyo to stay in power beyond her mandate in 2004

Mrs Arroyo responded to the accusations by announcing an independent commission to look into the roots of the mutiny and what inspired it.

She also announced a separate inquiry into the Davao bombings, which killed 38 people.

Two men were arrested in April in connection with the blasts, which some officials blamed on the MILF.

Damage

Whatever the truth behind the rebels' claims, the BBC's correspondent in Manila, John Mclean, says Filipinos are very prone to believing conspiracy theories, so the damage to Mrs Arroyo's reputation may already have been done.

The allegations will also cause concern among the Philippines' allies.

Mrs Arroyo had won praise from Washington for her participation in its war on terror, and the US has already provided military training for soldiers fighting the Abu Sayyaf rebel group in the country's south.

But her credibility was seriously undermined earlier this month when Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi, a suspected bomb-maker and member of the militant group Jemaah Islamiah, escaped from a Manila jail.

Allegations that the armed forces were improperly involved with armed rebels have been made before.

Marcia Burnham, a US citizen who was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf before being released last year, has claimed that military officials were colluding with her captors.

In a book published in May, she said that Filipino soldiers routinely gave the Abu Sayyaf guns and ammunition.

Mrs Arroyo has already ordered an investigation into Ms Burnham's allegations.




SEE ALSO:
Arrest over Manila mutiny
28 Jul 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Gloria Arroyo
28 Jul 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
09 Jul 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: The Philippines
18 Jul 03  |  Country profiles
Guide to the Philippines conflict
17 Mar 03  |  Asia-Pacific


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