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1986: Filipino coup leaders tell Marcos to go

Two senior members of the Philippines government have taken refuge in the defence ministry building in the capital, Manila, after denouncing President Ferdinand Marcos.

Yesterday, Defence Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and chief of staff Lieutenant-General Fidel Ramos accused the president of planning to arrest leaders of the opposition.

They called on ministers and army officers to help them topple Marcos and then took over Camp Aguinaldo, the defence ministry.

Speaking from Camp Aguinaldo, Mr Enrile told the press Mrs Aquino had won the election and Marcos should step down.

"We had no plans to stage a coup d'etat. But we are going to defend ourselves from an imminent assault," Mr Enrile said.

Lt-Gen Ramos told American TV all 13 regional army commanders had pledged their support for a coup, while Marcos claimed he had control of "99% of the military".

Heavily armed troops have surrounded the building and President Marcos has said the situation is "under control".

He also accused the two men of conspiring to assassinate him and his wife, Imelda, and demanded their surrender.

Dispute over election results

In elections held on 7 February, the main opposition party, led by Corazon Aquino, and President Marcos both claimed victory.

The US has attempted to mediate by sending US special envoy Philip Habib who reports back to President Reagan later today.

Mrs Aquino, widow of Benigno Aquino assassinated on his return from exile three years ago by Marcos supporters, rejected Mr Habib's proposal last week for a power-sharing government.

Mrs Aquino has accused the president of stealing power and called for a one-day general strike next week and a boycott of businesses owned by the Marcos entourage.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, Cardinal Jaime Sin, is also demanding an uprising.

He has called on the people to support Mr Enrile - despite the fact that he helped Marcos impose martial law in 1972 - and Lt-Gen Ramos.

"If such a government does not of itself freely correct the evil it has inflicted on the people then it is our serious moral obligation as a people to make it do so," he said.

"The way indicated to us now is the way of non-violent struggle for justice."

In Context
The following day hundreds of thousands of civilians responded to calls for an uprising by surrounding troops at Camp Aguinaldo with barricades of buses, sandbags, logs and rubble.

The army put up little resistance to this "people power" and on 25 February Ferdinand Marcos and his wife were forced to flee to the United States. Marcos died in Hawaii in 1989.

Both were indicted by a US court on charges of fraud but Imelda was acquitted in 1990. In 1991 she was allowed home and ran for president but lost.

Two years later a Filipino court sentenced her to 18 years for corruption. She appealed and was acquitted.

Mrs Corazon Aquino was sworn in as the country's first woman president the day the Marcos' left.

She survived six coup attempts before she stepped down in 1992 to support her former Defence Minister Fidel Ramos as the next president.


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