Philippine rebels in Manila hotel arrested

Renegade Philippine soldiers who had holed up in a Manila hotel on Thursday calling for the overthrow of the government surrendered after elite forces battered down the door and fired tear gas into the lobby.

Senator Antonio Trillanes, who led a failed mutiny in 2003 against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was taken away in handcuffs.

”We are going out for the sake of the safety of everybody,” he had told reporters earlier.

It is ”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.

About two dozen rebel soldiers had earlier 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 lobby, 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.

An armoured personnel carrier bashed in the front doors of the hotel, fired tear gas canisters, and for a time parked in the trashed lobby of the luxury hotel, a favourite watering hole of Manila’s elite.

Another four armoured vehicles had parked in the driveway.

”We have been assaulted by tear gas,” Argee Guevarra, a member of an anti-Arroyo group, had told Reuters by phone.

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.

Scores of journalists and hotel staff had been trapped in the hotel, along with a number of guests initially.

The rebel soldiers, who had earlier stopped people from leaving the hotel lobby as a 7am GMT deadline for them to end their mutiny passed, later relented and allowed them to go out.

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 Philippines has seen more than a dozen coup attempts since the overthrow of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and residents of Manila are used to varying degrees of unrest. Thursday’s drama attracted some curious onlookers. — Reuters

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Eskom and unions reach wage agreement, workers back at work

The power utility warned that the system would take some time to recover because maintenance work had been postponed because of the unprotected strike

Start of State Security Agency R1-million theft case delayed

Thuso Oesi, a former SSA administrator accused of fraud, did not arrive in court for medical reasons

Why government would fall short of cash if the fuel...

But restructuring the Road Accident Fund levy would reduce pressure on consumers

Gordhan’s Eskom ‘blame game’ underwhelms ANC leaders

Sources at a meeting of the national executive committee said a call was made to shift the power utility to Gwede Mantashe’s ministry of minerals and resources

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…