Philippine President Benigno Aquino III yesterday granted amnesty to officers and soldiers accused of plotting to overthrow his predecessor.
Only a handful of the original 300 troops who took up arms against former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in July 2003 remain in military custody on charges of mutiny and coup attempt.
The military restiveness highlighted the Philippines’ political instability during Arroyo’s tumultuous nine-year reign.
Aquino took office after a landslide election win in May promising to end corruption, poverty and political divisions.
The most prominent of the military rebels is former navy lieutenant Antonio Trillanes IV, who was elected senator in 2007 after campaigning from detention.
He led the mutineers in seizing the upscale Oakwood Hotel and rigged the area with explosives to demand Arroyo’s -resignation for alleged corruption. They -surrendered later that night without firing a shot.
Nine officers were convicted and sentenced in 2008 to prison terms of 12 to 40 years. They later apologized to Arroyo, who pardoned them.
Aquino said yesterday that he submitted his amnesty proclamation for congressional approval. A majority of the House of Representatives and the Senate had already signed separate resolutions supporting amnesty for military rebels.
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