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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 February 2006, 16:21 GMT
Philippines marine leader removed
Col Ariel Querubin (in uniform, left) and Gen Nelson Allaga (in uniform, right)
Col Querubin (left) seems to have accepted Gen Allaga's authority
The man who commands the Philippines marines has been removed from his post, prompting a brief stand-off between his supporters and those of the president.

Maj Gen Renato Miranda was relieved of his command two days after an alleged military coup plot was discovered.

One of his subordinates - who has been linked to the plot - called for people to rally in support of him at his base.

Some did so - reportedly including former President Corazon Aquino - but a new commander seems to be in control.

"We follow the chain of command. We follow the duly constituted authority," Brig Gen Nelson Allaga said after the five-hour stand-off.

Some people had come out in support of Gen Miranda, and the government deployed riot police, but the confrontation ended peacefully.

'No plot links'

Gen Miranda had no known links with the alleged plot, Col Tristan Kison said in announcing that the marine commander had been removed from his post at his own request.

Soldiers patrol outside the offices of a Philippines television station
President Arroyo has put soldiers out on the streets

He does not appear to have spoken in public about his removal.

But marine Col Ariel Querubin denied that his superior had gone voluntarily, calling for people to rally in support of Gen Miranda at the marines' camp.

Col Querubin was commander of an elite marine unit until he was sacked on Friday as a key figure in the alleged coup plot.

The colonel reportedly admitted on Sunday that he had planned to lead men into demonstrations against President Gloria Arroyo on Friday.

His new commanding officer refused to say what his punishment would be.

"That's among us soldiers," the AFP news agency quoted Gen Allaga as saying.

"You don't have to know about that... This is an agreement among men. We are professional soldiers."

State of emergency

It is not clear if the marines rallied in support of Gen Miranda simply out of personal loyalty to him or because they favoured the alleged coup.

President Arroyo declared a state of emergency on Friday after the military announced it had uncovered a plot by senior officers to overthrow her.

A top general was detained on charges of planning to launch the putsch in connection with rallies on Saturday marking the anniversary of a popular revolt that ousted Ferdinand Marcos as president in 1986.

The state of emergency bans rallies, but Filipinos took to the streets in defiance of the ban on Friday and Saturday.

President Arroyo survived an army mutiny in 2003.

She herself became president when her predecessor, Joseph Estrada, was ousted by popular protests.

There has been some criticism of her declaring a state of emergency - both because of its echoes with one imposed by Marcos for nine years and because it enables her to take control of the media, arrest people without warrants and detain them without charge.

A small newspaper has been raided, and troops have been deployed outside of two television stations, officially to protect them.

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25 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Emergency declared in Philippines
24 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
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21 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Gloria Arroyo
24 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
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06 Sep 05 |  Asia-Pacific

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