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1987: Aquino suppresses rebel uprising

VIDEO : Aquino's forces suppress attempted coup

President of the Philippines Corazon Aquino has forced a group of heavily armed rebels occupying a television station to surrender.

Her troops fired tear gas into the Channel 7 building in Manila to try to flush out the group who have occupied the centre for the last two days.

A few minutes later they all surrendered.

Around 1,000 heavily armed troops wearing gasmasks, surrounded the building just before the attack.

The rebels were warned that they had 15 seconds to surrender over a loud speaker but the army were forced to move in.

Following the stand off President Aquino said: "Here was a determined attempt to disrupt the affairs of government and those of the people at large.

"Here was a determined attempt to overthrow the first principle of democracy, which is civilian supremacy by those specially charged with its preservation."

Earlier, the rebel leader Colonel Oscar Canlas had hinted that they would surrender and follow orders from the Armed Forces, Chief General Fidel Ramos, who had repeatedly ordered the group to give themselves up.

But Colonel Canlas insisted that unspecified arrangements had to be made first and the armed forces refused.

Although the rebels had control of the building, loyal officials cut off their electricity supply to prevent them from broadcasting.

The take-over was part of a series of carefully orchestrated attacks on key military bases and broadcasting stations.

The rebels also attacked the Villamor air force base near Manila airport in the south of the city but armed forces prevented their assault after 10 minutes of heavy fighting.

Two rebels were killed and another 50 captured in the conflict.

General Ramos later said that government troops are now in control of all the areas targeted by the armed group.

In Context
Following the uprising, Corazon Aquino ordered the arrest of a number of dissident high ranking army officers involved in the rebellion.

Despite re-election to power shortly after the coup, another attempt was made to topple her government in August 1987.

It was the fifth uprising following her controversial election victory in spring 1986.

Throughout her term in office the Philippines remained in deep political crisis primarily because she took over from a corrupt dictatorship and tried to install a democratic regime.

At the same time she inherited a Communist insurrection as well as a restless right-wing military regime who were used to serving under martial law.

She survived one more coup attempt before Fidel Ramos succeeded her as the next president in 1992.


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