[PHOTO: ON GUARD: An Army trooper from Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal guards the Anti-Crime Task Force headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in preparation for any attack by mutinous soldiers. - Ernie Peñaredondo]

Malacanang, August 4, 2003 By Mayen Jaymalin (STAR) Amid strong criticisms over the continued "state of rebellion," Malacañang yesterday called on the public for support and allow President Arroyo to resolve the problems created by the failed power grab last week.

"There is still a threat against the government so we are appealing for public understanding," Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said over Radio Mindanao Network.

"By the nature of the job of the President, she has information that may not be available generally so we have to support her and give her a chance to solve the ongoing crisis at the soonest possible time," he added.

Bunye said Mrs. Arroyo has already explained that the coup is finally over but there is a need to maintain the state of rebellion until all "residual threats" have been properly addressed and resolved by the government.

Mrs. Arroyo declared the state of rebellion at the height of the mutiny staged by some 300 rebel soldiers last July 27.

Various sectors joined some legislators and the business community in calling for Mrs. Arroyo to lift the state of rebellion on fears of its adverse effects on the economy and curtailment of civil rights.

While declaring the coup over, Mrs. Arroyo said the state of rebellion will stay as a "mantle of protection" of the people as they go on with their normal activities.

"Normalization has set in and must not be disturbed, but the need for vigilance continues," the President said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon earlier said Mrs. Arroyo still has the prerogative on the decision whether to lift the state of rebellion.

Drilon also brushed aside speculations that the state of rebellion will encroach on civil liberties and constitutional rights. He said "there is nothing in the state of rebellion which adds more power to the executive (branch)."

He said arrests without warrant under the state of rebellion are unjustified unless issued under the prevailing legal procedures and the courts.

Officials earlier said last week’s mutiny was part of a coup attempt and warned that the plot was not over, as some of the mutineers, including the alleged civilian masterminds of the scheme, were still at large.

Opposition Sen. Rodolfo Biazon said Mrs. Arroyo would lift the state of rebellion once the issue of involvement of Sen. Gregorio Honasan in the mutiny is resolved.

"I think the state of rebellion shall only be lifted if the Honasan issue is resolved," he said.

Honasan, then an army colonel, led several coup attempts during the administration of President Corazon Aquino in the late 1980s. He was later granted amnesty and elected senator in 1995.

Honasan was linked anew to another power grab by Interior and Local Government Secretary Jose Lina, who claimed he has evidence to prove it.

Lina said they are now "in the finishing touches" of filing the charges against the lawmaker.

This apparently prompted Honasan to go into hiding since last week although he denied the accusations of his involvement in the latest power grab.

Biazon, for his part, said he does not know his colleague’s whereabouts. "We were trying to call him. I really do not know where he is," he said.

Sen. Edgardo Angara said the government must have a clear definition of state of rebellion.

"And if you say it is a state of emergency, it would mean a totally different thing and it has already violated the law because it did not follow the procedure before it reaches such point," Angara said. –With Edith Regalado

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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