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Top coup plotter arrested in Philippines
Cat : Democracy & H-Rights
Date : 2006-11-15 10:08:18                      Reader : 293
parliament to bring down the government . Otherwise they should prepare them selves for next democratic elections that must be descent , transparent and honest. All in this case must accept the result  what so ever it might be.


Associated France Press (AFP) 15/11/2006

Top coup plotter arrested in Philippines


by Jason Gutierrez

MANILA (AFP) - An ex-colonel and leader of the political opposition who allegedly was among the key plotters of February's failed coup against Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has been arrested.
Gregorio 'Gringo' Honasan, 58, also a former senator, went into hiding shortly after he was charged over the coup plot, which led President Gloria Arroyo to declare a state of national emergency.

He had evaded a nationwide manhunt for nine months, forcing a frustrated police leadership to offer a five million peso (100,000 dollar) bounty on his head.

Joint army and police intelligence operatives spotted Honasan in Manila late Tuesday and tailed his vehicle to the exclusive Greenmeadows residential enclave near the military headquarters in suburban Quezon city.

"The team arrested him after a brief chase," national police chief Director General Oscar Calderon told a news conference.

Two former ex-colonels and close associates of Honasan -- named as Jake Malajacan and Felix Turingan, and who were also implicated in the plot -- remain at large.

A colorful personality, Honasan once described himself as the Philippines' "resident adviser on failed coup attempts".

Shortly after he went into hiding earlier this year, he went on public television to declare he would never surrender and called on Arroyo to step down.

Honasan is also linked to a 2003 mutiny by some 300 junior officers and men who took over an upscale apartment hotel at Manila's financial district to demand the resignation of Arroyo.

The rebellion was crushed in less than a day, the ringleaders arrested and detained at barracks, although Honasan remained free.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales said Honasan had sent out surrender feelers last month, in exchange for the government dropping charges against him. The request was denied.

"Senator Honasan is involved in all cases. In all the coup d'etat attempts he is involved. His finger prints are always in every attempt at destabilization," Gonzales said, adding that Honsan would be detained to face charges in court.

Opposition leader Vicente Sotto said Honasan at the time of his arrest was busy lobbying in political circles to gather support for a possible comeback in next May's congressional elections.

A mobile phone seized from Honasan showed he made calls from public places, including upscale malls around Manila, and even from the grounds of an army headquarters.

In the 1970s, the charismatic Honasan was aide-de-camp to the then defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile, the enforcer of then president Ferdinand Marcos's brutal martial law.

But in 1986, Honasan led a cabal of colonels, backed by Enrile, to foment popular unrest against the dictator. Marcos discovered the plot and Honasan and Enrile holed up at the military headquarters and called on civilians, the church and the media for protection.

Millions of Filipinos trooped onto the streets to serve as human shields to keep Marcos' forces from crushing Honasan's men. That sparked the "people power" revolt that installed opposition leader Corazon Aquino as president.

Honasan, however, would later turn on Aquino, leading several bloody coup attempts. He was captured in 1987 and held in a prison ship, only to make a spectacular escape.

In 1989, Honasan and his allies launched their deadliest coup attempt, occupying key points in the capital and even major airbases, and using captured aircraft to bomb the presidential palace.

Honasan's forces did not retreat until US jet fighters buzzed the city.

Honasan was given amnesty and later won a Senate seat when Aquino stepped down and was replaced by former police general Fidel Ramos, who was also a key player in the 1986 revolt against Marcos.

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