PALACE SAYS  CORY  'IS  NOT  A TARGET'

MANILA
, March 6, 2006 (MANILA TIMES) By Sam Mediavilla, Reporter - Malacañang denies it’s after former president.

MalacaÑang officials said on Sunday that government probers are not trying to build a case against former President Corazon Aquino for plotting against the government.

Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio said on Sunday that investigations against supposed destabilizers and coup plotters linked by the Department of Justice to the failed attempt to oust President Arroyo on February 24 are not intended to pin down former President Corazon Aquino.

“Cory is not the target. There is no such thing as ‘intended’ targets,” Claudio said in a text message to The Manila Times.

Claudio said the government did not predetermine the situation that led to the declaration of Proclamation 1017 as well as persons identified with the thwarted coup.

Opposition Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. on Saturday alleged coup probers are going after Aquino because she is a staunch critic of the President.

Pimentel said the administration has been trying to link Aquino’s brother, Philippine Olympic Committee Chairman Jose Cojuangco, and civil society advocate Pastor “Boy” Saycon, both presidential appointees, to the alliance between communist rebels, rightist military adventurists and anti-Arroyo politicians to justify the planned arrest of Mrs. Aquino.

Last year Aquino challenged Mrs. Arroyo to make the “extreme sacrifice” by stepping down.

She has since repeated her calls in forums and protest rallies.

Claudio said Pimentel only “wanted to make a martyr out of the former president and desperately resuscitate their unjust and hopeless cause” to topple Mrs. Arroyo.

“We hate to disappoint him, but that’s not going to happen,” he said.

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, in a telephone interview with The Manila Times, branded Pimentel’s attempt to fuel the political turmoil as another failed speculative move.

He said Mrs. Aquino’s cause is all within the bounds of the Constitution.

What the government is running after are personalities and groups who are using violence to advance their personal agenda.

Last week the Philippine National Police and the Department of Justice filed rebellion charges against Party-list Representatives Liza Masa, Crispin Beltran, Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casiño, Joel Birador, former Sen. Gregorio Honasan and 46 others.

Gonzales also branded as “purely malicious and imaginative” claims by Sen. Rodolfo Biazon that the administration had planned a “pro-government bombing scheme.”

Biazon, the Senate Defense Committee chairman and a former Armed Forces chief of staff, has claimed that the administration had designed a bombing plot to justify Proclamation 1017 and delay the lifting of the state of national emergency.

Biazon alleged that a group of five soldiers were ordered by their commanders to carry C4 explosives to Manila last Friday, the same day President Arroyo lifted emergency rule and recalled Proclamation 1017.

When the soldiers tasked to bring the explosives learned there were orders to shoot them on sight, they went into hiding, Biazon said.

The plot was designed to make it appear that the soldiers were in league with renegade troops out to destabilize the government, he said.

In a telephone interview with The Times, Gonzales said the government has had a hard time containing destabilization attempts but stressed the administration does not need to concoct an artificial scenario to justify emergency rule.

Gonzales said that although there is no immediate danger to the government at this time, it security forces are not keeping their guard down.

In his weekly column, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said that if the President did not acted swiftly, the country would have been in the “clutches of a civilian-rightist-leftist junta which would soon be fighting among themselves for supremacy.”

VIEW FROM THE PALACE (FOR THE WEEK ENDING MARCH 05, 2006)

MALACANANG,
(VIA E-MAIL) by IGNACIO BUNYE - True to her word, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo immediately lifted the state of national emergency following the positive assessments made by Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez and PNP Chief Arturo Lomibao.

The earlier decision to declare the country under a state of emergency was not an easy one for the President to make. The President was only too aware that the opposition and left-wing groups will take advantage of the situation to depict her as an authoritarian leader.

Yet, she did what she had to do. A preemptive self-defense, as Senator Miriam Santiago put it. To paraphrase Senator Santiago, you do not have to wait for the other guy to shoot you before you take defensive action. It is enough that the other guy reaches for his gun.

Had the President not acted in the timely manner that she did, we would in all probability find ourselves now under the clutches of a civilian-rightist-leftist junta which would soon be fighting among themselves for supremacy.

Some sectors including the media railed against what they perceived as an over-reacting presidency. They belabored the point that the crackdown was being undertaken during the week of the EDSA celebration. We maintain that press freedom was never under threat, but due to poisoned politics, the qualities of fairness and sober reporting were.

Nevertheless, AFP Chief Generoso Senga, in a documentary shown over NBN 4, RPN 9 and IBC 13 over the weekend, proved beyond doubt the existence of an intricate web of conspiracy among extremists of the Left, Right and hard-core political opportunists to topple the government. The timing to coincide with the 20th anniversary celebration of EDSA I was part of this insidious plan.

With the plot effectively beaten back, we can now get back on track. The enemies of the State will always test a new threshold of destabilization but they will never dent the rock steady foundations of our constitutional democracy. So we leave to our law enforcers and the criminal justice system the task of meeting the residual threats posed by the remnants of the failed conspiracy

In displaying decisive leadership, the President has firmly steered the ship of state away from raging waters into safer ground Now, the President is back on schedule as the nation leaves this crisis behind and goes back to the business of the people. She has a job to do and that is to grow the economy, fight poverty, hunger and unemployment; and lift the Filipino to greater heights of excellence.

Note:

CD copies of the documentary entitled ‘Paglaban sa Kataksilan: 1017’ are available upon request. For the computer-savvy, you may wish to check out www.gov.ph.

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Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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