Security chiefs cite plot to kill Philippines president

Philippines security officials said on Thursday they had uncovered a plot by Islamic militants linked to the al-Qaeda network to assassinate President Gloria Arroyo.

Her security chief, Brigadier General Romeo Prestoza, said Arroyo had been informed of the threat, which forced her to cancel a scheduled trip on Friday to the northern resort city of Baguio.

Security forces in the Philippines were placed on full alert.

The announcement came a day ahead of a major rally by political opponents of Arroyo to demand her resignation over allegations of corruption linking the first family.

Prestoza said the plot was hatched by “extremists Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf Group”, referring to Muslim militant groups with reported links to al-Qaeda.


“It is not just the president, there are other targets,” he told reporters. “If they want to launch it, they can do it anytime.”

He said the plan did not appear to be connected to the opposition rally at the Makati business district in Manila, planned for Friday.

Armed forces chief General Hermogenes Esperon said news of the plan “had become the basis of our action for putting the armed forces of the Philippines in full state of preparedness”.

He said elements composed of militants from Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah were also planning to hit “high-value targets” around Manila.

Both groups, which have been blamed for the worst terrorist attacks in the Philippines in recent years, are known to operate on the southern island of Mindanao.

They are, however, known to field “cells” responsible for bombings around Manila in the past as well.

Earlier Thursday, army spokesperson Captain Carlo Ferrer cited intelligence reports that elements from the communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebel group may infiltrate the ranks of protesters on Friday and instigate violence.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging a Maoist rebellion since 1969.

Arroyo’s critics have been holding daily protests around Manila calling on her to resign over fresh claims that her husband and a political ally tried to get millions of dollars in kickbacks from a telecoms deal with a Chinese firm.

The $329-million deal for a national broadband network with China’s state-run ZTE has since been cancelled by Arroyo.

Some business groups have warned that the scandal could plunge the country into a new round of political instability and dampen investor confidence. — AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

ConCourt settles the law on the public protector and interim...

The Constitutional Court said it welcomed robust debate but criticised the populist rhetoric in the battle between Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Minister Pravin Gordhan

Small towns not ready for level 3

Officials in Beaufort West, which is on a route that links the Cape with the rest of the country, are worried relaxed lockdown regulations mean residents are now at risk of contracting Covid-19
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday