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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 13:25 GMT
Profile: Antonio Trillanes
Antonio Trillanes, who led a group of renegade soldiers in a short-lived military coup attempt in the Philippines, is no stranger to rebellion.

Antonio Trillanes
Mr Trillanes says the time is ripe for change in the Philippines

A senator and navy lieutenant, the 36-year-old is currently on trial for organising a 2003 attempt to wrest power from President Gloria Arroyo.

After the 2003 coup, he justified his actions saying that his complaints to Miss Arroyo about corruption in the armed forces had been dismissed.

From prison while awaiting trial for his involvement in the coup he campaigned to be elected senator, using an online networking website to swell support.

He gained 11 million votes in a May 2007 poll becoming the country's first senator to be elected while in prison.

Trillanes in and of himself is not a particularly charismatic figure but he enjoys a certain military backing
Vincent McKee
Political analyst

But political analyst Vincent McKee says that Mr Trillanes is merely one of several "distinguished rebels" whose popularity stems from their opposition to Miss Arroyo's leadership.

"Trillanes is a manifestation of a fragmented but increasingly assertive opposition in the Philippines," Mr McKee said.

"He is symptomatic of a very disfigured opposition. He is not significant in himself."


On 27 July 2003, Mr Trillanes led some 300 officers in occupying an apartment block in Makati City, saying that they had lined the building with bombs.

The 18-hour uprising ended when the mutineers failed to rally enough support from the army.

However, tacit approval from the country's armed forces enabled Mr Trillanes to walk out of his trial for the first coup and attempt a second in November 2007.

"Trillanes in and of himself is not a particularly charismatic figure but he enjoys a certain military backing," Mr McKee said.

On a website set up by the renegade military officials, Mr Trillanes writes: "The time is ripe for Filipinos to make a decision. The Armed Forces will support the people whichever side they will take".

But analysts say that the highly divided nature of the country's opposition means that Miss Arroyo is unlikely to face a real threat to her position for some time yet.

Manila rebel soldiers surrender
29 Nov 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
25 Oct 07 |  Country profiles

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