so the result of this chaos? none really, except hurt the country’s image… again.
MANILA (Reuters) – Elite military and police units stormed the Manila Peninsula Hotel on Thursday, ending a short-lived coup attempt by a small group of soldiers and others who had called on the army to mutiny.
The government forces fired teargas into the lobby of the hotel and used an armoured personnel carrier (APC) to batter down its glass doors before storming in, but there were no casualties.
The rebel soldiers, a senator and a handful of priests who had occupied the plush icon in the sprawling city of 12 million people were arrested.
Most of the guests had been evacuated before the assault, but over 100 people, including hotel staff and journalists, were caught in the midst of the action.
Senator Antonio Trillanes, who led a failed mutiny in 2003 against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and was elected to the upper house in May, was hauled away in plastic wrist restraints.
Fellow mutineers, including around two dozen soldiers, a priest and a retired bishop, were also arrested along with scores of journalists.
Authorities said the journalists would be freed after identity checks. (yeah, identity checks, one of those arrested is an award-winning newswoman who can be identified even by a 2-year-old)
“We are going out for the sake of the safety of everybody,” Trillanes earlier told reporters.
“For your sake, because we will not live with our conscience if some of you get hurt or get killed in the crossfire. We cannot afford that,” Trillanes said.
There were no reports of any casualties.
“The wrong ways of some does not speak well for the nation or the armed forces and the police,” Arroyo said in a brief television address, her only public reaction.
“Just like before, we will impose the full force of the law strictly and without favour.”
LATEST COUP ATTEMPT
It was the latest in a series of coups in the Philippines since the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos two decades ago.
It started when Trillanes and some other soldiers walked out of their own trial for the 2003 mutiny, escorted by guards assigned to keep them from escaping.
They marched to the Peninsula Hotel in Manila’s Makati financial district and took over the building, calling for the overthrow of President Arroyo.
“We have been witness and victims of the kind of ruthlessness this administration is giving to the people. Now, like soldiers we are going to face this,” Trillanes told reporters, when asked if he was ready to face fresh charges over this incident.
Journalists trying to do live phone-ins spluttered and covered their faces with handkerchiefs as the tear gas rose from the lobby to higher floors.
The rebel soldiers, who had earlier stopped people from leaving the hotel lobby as a 3 p.m. (7 a.m. British time) deadline for them to end their mutiny passed, later relented and let them go.
Arroyo, deeply unpopular due to long-running corruption allegations, has survived at least two coup plots and three impeachment bids because the jaded middle class is sick of political instability, and she has a huge majority in the lower house.
She has also been buoyed by a strong economy.
The stock market and the peso currency pared earlier gains on the soldiers’ actions but the main index still finished up 1.17 percent and has risen nearly 20 percent this year.
The peso is Asia’s top performing currency, up 14.80 percent since the start of 2007.
“It hurts the whole country,” said Vivian Yuchengco, a director of the Philippine Stock Exchange. “People like that should be thrown in jail.”
The Philippines has seen more than a dozen coup attempts since the overthrow of Marcos in 1986 and residents of Manila are used to varying degrees of unrest.
Thursday’s drama attracted hundreds of curious onlookers, but no one voiced any support for those inside the hotel, and there were no reports of unrest within the military.
The government imposed a curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. in Manila and two surrounding regions on Friday, a government holiday. Officials called it a precautionary measure. (hahahahahahaha)
Markets were unlikely to be much affected when they reopen on Monday, barring any further unrest, economic analysts said.