Sun, Mar 05, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Government charges two over criticism of Arroyo

AFP , MANILA

The Philippine government has filed charges of incitement to sedition against a newspaper publisher and two of her columnists for their attacks on President Gloria Arroyo, the publisher said yesterday.

The charges were filed against Ninez Cacho-Olivares, publisher of the Daily Tribune newspaper, and columnists Ike Seneres and Herman Tiu-Laurel, the newspaper reported on its front page.

Justice Department officials confirmed that charges of incitement to sedition had been filed against officials of the Tribune but would not give details.

Cacho-Olivares said in her newspaper that Arroyo was merely "sore" at her for her criticism of the government.

The government had posted several policemen at the Tribune's headquarters last week after Arroyo declared a state of emergency to foil an alleged coup attempt against her government.

Arroyo lifted the state of emergency on Friday after deciding that the threat against her government had receded. The policemen at the Tribune have been withdrawn.

However a leftist congressman was arrested, three police and military commanders have been relieved of their posts and more than a dozen opposition figures are still being hunted for their alleged role in the plot.

Meanwhile, a military spokesman said yesterday that communist guerrillas had infiltrated the Philippine capital and were ready to support the foiled coup against Arroyo

However, the claim was rejected by the communists.

Major Bartolome Baccaro said in a radio interview that infiltration was part of an alliance between communist insurgents and military rebels that prompted Arroyo to declare the emergency last week.

"There was an understanding of these groups... they had a common objective of overthrowing President Gloria Arroyo," he said.

The communist New People's Army (NPA) had infiltrated guerrillas into Manila while rebel forces would mount the coup, he said.

"They were ready to move in support if needed. They wanted to escalate whatever happened in relation to the coup [attempt]," Baccaro said.

Interviewed on the same radio show, NPA spokesman Gregorio Rosal denied that there was an alliance between the military rebels and the communist insurgents, saying that "the alliance of the military and the communists ... is not true. There is no conspiracy. There is no coup plot."

He said the communists had not abandoned their principle of conducting a Maoist "protracted people's war," and had not embraced the idea of seizing power through a coup.

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