Philippines mutineer hits back
 

The spokesman for the military officers who mutinied in the Philippines last month has accused President Gloria Arroyo of ignoring their complaints before the uprising.

Navy Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes told an independent inquiry into the mutiny that, two weeks earlier, he had tried to tell the president about corruption in the Philippine armed forces.

But he said that, instead of investigating, Miss Arroyo ordered him to be detained for several days.

"Instead of opening her mind to the serious allegations, she went on berating me and paraded me through the media.

"I cannot find the words to describe how arrogant our president was," Lieutenant Trillanes said. "She just kept on yakking and yakking."

The commission reminded him that he remained a military officer and could be court-martialled for any disrespect shown to the country's commander-in-chief.

Denials

Lieutenant Trillanes denied government allegations that the aim of the 27 July takeover of Manila's Makati financial district was to install a 15-member junta.

He also denied that the group wanted to reinstate detained former President Joseph Estrada or put opposition Senator Gregorio Honasan in power.

The rebels would have respected "constitutional succession" with the vice-president taking over, he said.

According to Lieutenant Trillanes, the group wanted to implement the "National Recovery Programme" put forward by Mr Honasan, who is in hiding.

Police in the Philippines filed charges against the senator - who has taken part in previous coup attempts - last week, implicating him as one of the mutiny leaders.

Mr Honasan has strongly denied any hand in the uprising, but backs the mutineers' complaints of corruption in the military and the government.

"You can count on one hand the morally upright generals in the (armed forces)," Lieutenant Trillanes told the hearing.

"If we remove everybody, at least that is a big step."

Professor Miriam Coronel Ferrer, associate professor of political science at the University of the Philippines, says the problem is a mix of politicisation combined with long-standing corruption in the Philippines.

"Young general officers get disillusioned with the system because they see military leaders working closely with some civilian political leaders who do not have a very good agenda in mind," she told the BBC's World Today programme.

"The result of their discontent was a coup which was reduced to a mutiny last month."

13/08/2003

Bron : BBC World News

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