Philippines intelligence chief quits

The chief of army intelligence in the Philippines has resigned after last weekend's failed mutiny by 300 soldiers.

Brigadier-General Victor Corpus, who was accused by the mutineers of incompetence and involvement in a bombing campaign, denied the allegations but said "deep restiveness" remained within the army's officer corps.

President Gloria Arroyo accepted his resignation but asked him to remain in the military.

A spokesman for the Philippines military, Lt Gen Rodolfo Garcia, told the BBC's East Asia Today programme that some of the mutineers' complaints were justified.

"Indeed there is corruption and graft in the armed forces. This is something that is a concern," he said.

But he denied the mutineers' claim that General Corpus, together with Defence Secretary Angelo Reyes, staged a series of bomb attacks on the southern island of Mindanao, which were then blamed on Muslim rebels.

Lt Gen Garcia denied that collusion between the armed forces and rebel groups was large scale or institutionalised. But he said it was possible that unscrupulous members of the armed forces might sell ammunition to rebels, civilians or arms traders.

The mutiny began on Sunday when the soldiers stormed a shopping and residential complex in Manila. They rigged it with explosives and demanded that the government step down.

It ended without violence after 20 hours.

Mr Corpus said earlier this week that Sunday's events were "only the tip of the iceberg", and that more troops had been preparing to join the mutineers had the military not thwarted the plot.

"The current political crisis is far from finished," he said in his resignation letter.

"In chess, when a queen is beleaguered, it is sometimes necessary to sacrifice a knight to save the game."

A group of junior military officers accused of leading the mutiny has already been arrested in connection with the incident.

So too has an ally of ex-president Joseph Estrada, Ramon Cardenas, who has been charged with rebellion.

Senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, who staged at least two coups against former President Corazon Aquino, is also being investigated by police.

Mrs Arroyo has also ordered two independent commissions to investigate the causes of the mutiny.

But leading opposition senators, including Mr Honasan, have cast doubt on whether these enquiries will address the real problem.

"I am not confident, because anyone appointed by the president cannot possibly be independent or impartial," Senator Honasan told the BBC.


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