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Destabilization efforts against the Arroyo administration

November 29, 2007 1:32pm

May 1, 2001 (EDSA III): Estrada loyalists stormed Malacañang amid the Estrada camp's demand for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to step down. It took the police and military 12 hours to drive them away. President Arroyo declared a state of rebellion and ordered the warrantless arrest of the alleged brains of the failed power grab.

July 27, 2003 (Oakwood Mutiny): More than 300 junior officers and enlisted men led by Navy Ltsg. Antonio Trillanes IV, Army Capt. Gerardo Gambala, Army Capt. Milo Maestrecampo, Navy Ltsg. James Layug and Marine Capt. Gary Alejano took over the Oakwood Premier in Makati to air their grievances against the government, including graft and corruption in the military. President Arroyo declared a state of rebellion. The mutineers returned to barracks within the day.

November 7, 2003 (NAIA Siege): Former Air Transport Office chief Capt. Panfilo Villaruel (ret) and his aide, Navy Lt. (SG) Ricardo Catchillar took over the air traffic control tower a the NAIA Centennial Terminal. The siege ended early the following day when an assault team gunned down Villaruel and Catchillar. Villaruel was in the middle of an interview with Arnold Clavio for DZBB when he was shot.

January 2004 (Kawal Pilipino): A group calling itself "Kawal Pilipino" held a clandestine press conference in which they claimed that Malacañang is using the AFP to work against Arroyo's political opponents in the May 2004 presidential election. The group stood behind a modified Philippine flag as one of the members, a certain "Captain Gabay", read their statement. "Captain Gabay" was later identified as Baltazar Asadon, a businessman from Cavite. Boy Saycon was implicated in the incident.

Malacañang dismissed the incident as an "isolated case of partisan exploitation of military adventurism."

April 30, 2005: Retired Army General Fortunato Abat launched the Coalition for National Salvation at Club Filipino, Greenhills after proposing the establishment of a revolutionary transition government and the abolition of Congress and the 1987 Constitution. AFP laughed off Abat's threats and declared its full support for the Arroyo administration.

December 13, 2005: Ret. Gen. Abat proclaimed himself as "president" of his revolutionary transition government at Club Filipino, Greenhills. Malacañang dismissed Abat's "antics" as "pathetic", and brushed off renewed coup talks.

December 14, 2005: Oakwood mutineer Capt. Nicanor Faeldon escaped from the Makati Regional Trial Court where he was attending a hearing on the Oakwood Mutiny case. Malacañang linked his escape to continuing efforts by "shadowy personalities" to destabilize the government, saying that Faeldon's escape appears to have been well-planned and well-coordinated.

Faeldon, who called for civil disobedience after his escape, was recaptured on January 27, 2006.

January 3, 2006: Air Force Col. Efren Daquil surfaced in a press conference in a hotel in Metro Manila, claiming that about P30 million in savings was taken from his office and used by Air Force officials for unexplained purposes. Malacañang said that Daquil's allegations will be investigated as part of the AFP's reform process, and that coup rumors should be set aside.

January 17, 2006: The escape of Oakwood mutineers Capt. Nathaniel Rabonza and first lieutenants Sonny Sarmiento, Patricio Bumidang Jr. and Lawrence San Juan from military custody at Fort Bonifacio triggered talks of a coup attempt against the Arroyo administration. Philippine Army chief, Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon however said the escape is "no cause for alarm" and assured the public that the military and the police are doing everything to recapture the fugitives.

San Juan was recaptured on February 21, 2006.

February 20, 2006: An explosion near the Radio and Television Malacañang Office shook the palace grounds. In an unsigned statement faxed to media outfits, the Young Officers Union of the New Generation (YOUng) and the Reformist Armed Forces of the Philippines (RAFP) claimed responsibility for the blast. Malacañang, however, said in a news conference that the explosion was not caused by a bomb but by lacquer thinner inside a garbage can that was ignited by a lit cigarette or a burning object.

Earlier, a grenade with its safety pin missing was found in a garbage bin outside the National Printing Office in Quezon City. It was disarmed by police.

Hours after the Malacañang blast, a separate explosion hit Makati and injured a 3-year-old girl.

February 24, 2006: President Arroyo declared a state of emergency after the AFP discovered the plot of some members of the military to withdraw support from the President.

Sources: GMA News,, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Office of the President, AFP-PIO, National Bureau of Investigation
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