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Last Updated: Friday, 1 August, 2003, 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK
Mutineers 'planned to kill Arroyo'
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo (L) is accompanied by armed forces chief General Narciso Abaya (R)
Mrs Arroyo is anxious to find out exactly what the plan was
Police in the Philippines are investigating a claim that last weekend's failed coup attempt included a plot to kill President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Interior Secretary Jose Lina said the reported assassination plot was the subject of an intelligence report which had yet to be validated.

Mrs Arroyo's administration is anxious to get to the bottom of Sunday's coup attempt, which saw 300 soldiers occupy a shopping complex in Manila for 20 hours, demanding that the president step down.

Mrs Arroyo warned on Thursday that the threat against her government was "far from over", while Armed Forces Chief of Staff Narciso Abaya added that the risk posed by the renegade troops was "still live".

Attempts are continuing to identify the ringleaders of the mutiny.

More than 300 soldiers are now in detention on charges relating to the coup plot, but others are still unaccounted for.

Local media reported on Friday that about 100 armed men were missing.

Ex-President Joseph Estrada
Some accuse ex-President Estrada of involvement in the plot

Police are also checking reports of unauthorised troop movements in Manila.

Officers set up roadblocks outside the city on Friday, but so far "no busloads of soldiers have been found", army spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel Lucero told Reuters news agency.

As well as members of the armed forces, the government has accused supporters of former President Joseph Estrada of being involved in the uprising.

State prosecutors have already filed rebellion charges against Ramon Cardenas, a member of Mr Estrada's cabinet, after police said they found weapons and armbands used by the mutineers inside his house.

Jose Lina, speaking at a congressional hearing about the uprising on Friday, repeated his accusation that opposition senator Gregorio Honasan was involved in the mutiny.

Mr Lina said the government was preparing charges against Mr Honasan, a former army colonel who led several coup attempts against President Corazon Aquino in the 1980s.

Both Mr Honasan and Mr Estrada - who is currently in detention and on trial for corruption - deny involvement in the weekend's events.




SEE ALSO:
Philippines intelligence chief quits
30 Jul 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Manila mutiny 'aide' charged
29 Jul 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Arroyo undermined by mutiny
28 Jul 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Philippines press condemns mutiny
28 Jul 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Gloria Arroyo
28 Jul 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Estrada's fall from hero to villain
30 Jul 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
09 Jul 03  |  Country profiles


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