Sunday, February 26, 2006

Philippine Marine unit defies Arroyo: backs down

Breaking: The insubordinate Marine unit has stood down. At a press conference in the Philippines the insubordinate officer says he will not split the Marines. A variety of rumors are circulating to explain why the defiance took place and what persuaded the insubordinate unit to stand down.

Manila news has reported the following cryptic report:

The standoff created by the relief of former Marine commandant, Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda has been settled, the Corps' newly-installed chief said late Sunday night.

Brig. Gen. Nelson Allaga announced the development as a crowd gathered at the chapel in Fort Bonifacio in support of Miranda. Allaga told reporters that the "misunderstanding" that stemmed from a complaint made by Col. Ariel Querubin was patched up. He said the Marine leadership and Querubin have reached a gentleman's agreement to settle their differences.

"I’ve already conferred with my commanders and everything’s already settled. You [reporters] can go home now," Allaga said. The Marine commanding general said he is now the authority following the relief of Miranda. Allaga, however, declined to present Miranda to reporters though he was with Querubin during the address. The Marine general said Miranda was inside the headquarters. With regard to Querubin's initial refusal to recognize him as Marine commandant, Allaga said: "That's up to my discretion."

He then turned his back to reporters and refused to answer any more questions.

More:Xinhua is now reporting that the Philippine Marine Colonel who led the "protest"? "rebellion"? has been arrested.

Miranda's replacement, Brigadier General Nelson Allaga as new Marines Commandant ordered to take Marines Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Querubin into custody, as he told donzens of reporters that the situation at their headquarters is an "internal matter" of the Marines. ... The Marine Lieutenant Colonel was implicated in the alleged foiled plot to unseat President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, according to himself. Querubin also confirmed that he planned to join street protests on Friday and that he planned to bring along a "majority" of the 400-strong Marine officer corps. Querubin said he would join protests so that efforts to oust President Arroyo "will not turn bloody." Miranda tried to dissuade them from doing so, he said, adding "We were prevailed upon by General Miranda.

A Philippine Marine unit has defied President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's orders from positions within the main military base in the Manila area. There is no shooting so far but well known opposition figures are converging to where the rebels are gathered allegedly to provide political support.

For more information, go to Pajamas Media's coverage and Philippine Commentary.

The security force at the Presidential Palace has been augmented by police units. According to Manila news station ABS-CBN:

Members of the police Special Action Force (SAF) were deployed to Malacañan on Sunday night after tension erupted at the Philippine Marine headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, ABS-CBN News learned. Video footage from ANC showed SAF personnel alighting from a truck near the palace gates shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday. ... The deployment of additional forces came amid the tension at the Marine headquarters after the relief of Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda as commandant.

To illustrate the possible role of the Philippine Marines in the current coup crisis in Manila, readers can visit one of the coup plotter's websites. Remember the Tourist Guy -- the Internet legend who has posed everywhere and whose last photo was taken, smiling atop the World Trade Center on September 11? The coup plotters had their own version of the Tourist Guy in Philippine Marine Captain Nicanor Faeldon, who has a series of pictures which shows him posing, sometimes with a newspaper in hand, inside many major Philippine military bases after he escaped from jail on December 15, 2005, with the caption, "no one can stop me from entering these camps unless the corrupt generals themselves man the entrances", normally with some newspaper in hand to provide proof of date. He has equivalent pictures for Southern Command, National Police Headquarters, Central Command and at the General Headquarters Building.

Faeldon was recaptured on January 27, 2006. However, these instances indicate the depth of opposition to Arroyo.


The Philippine Bishops have denied they are calling for support for the rebels holed up inside the metropolitan military base. This reflects the reluctance by many sections of Philippine society to endorse an extra-Constitutional solution to the crisis in that country. However, there are apparently a fair number of political figures who are convinced that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo must resign. One of these is former President Corazon Aquino who called on Arroyo to resign. Breaking.


Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

I had heard the Oakwood mutineers who escaped were indeed claiming to have been on army bases and I never saw the pitctures they used to support such claims. Apparently the photos are not as supportive as I had supposed.

Anyway, everything I have heard is that Corazon Aquino nowhere commands the respect she once had. In any event Cory knows a thing or two about surving coups.

BTW Rizalist's Philippine Commentary and the INQ7 sites are proving to be good sources of up to the minute happenings.

2/26/2006 05:26:00 AM  
Blogger Ticker said...

It's breaking quite fast. The INQ7 site reported Aquino being barred, but Philippine Commentary is now reporting that Aquino has arrived on the scene to cheers. Hold on to your hat.

2/26/2006 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger Ticker said...

I'll put unconfirmed reports in the comment section and move them up to the main post as they are confirmed by other sources, such as MSM reports. CNN has already confirmed the main outlines of the story.

A prominent Filipino Bishop, Ted Bacani is saying, according to Philippine Commentary, that the government has released a large sum of money to hire a rent-a-mob. Make what you will of that.

I spoke to a source in the Philippines who says that the going rate for rent-a-mobs is about $10/a head but that skimming often reduces the take of the rented crowdster to about $2. A million dollars American can buy a lot of popularity. This tactic is apparently used on all sides, but some more than others. Bear this in mind when judging crowds.

2/26/2006 05:41:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

INQ7 must be getting hit hard I can not get info from it anymore.

Either that or its plug has been pulled.

2/26/2006 05:54:00 AM  
Blogger Ticker said...

Try ABS-CBN, not as much detail but at least it loads.

2/26/2006 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

No plug has been pulled I just pulled it up. Must be getting serious traffic.

2/26/2006 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Ticker said...

Strictly speaking, there's nothing to negotiate about. The Philippine Marines are in rebellion. Period.

This is about whether Arroyo stays in power or not. If she cuts a deal with the rebels her presidency is over. Therefore from her perspective the question is: can she suppress them?

My guess is that the average man in the street does not want a fight yet fears a junta. Therefore, if Arroyo can't smash the Marines, and in my opinion she will have a hard time getting a unit that will successfully do that in Manila (most of the Army is immobile in camps strung across the Philippines), then what this crisis will amount to over the next few days is to find some acceptable legal transition to a nominally Constitutional head of state.

But the underlying instability, as I observed in my earlier posts, is still there. Whoever takes the seat of power hereafter will sit ever more uneasily. That said, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has made many an enemy, and now the vultures are circling in the sky.

2/26/2006 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

INQ7 is now reporting protestors are massing at UP-Diliman. They protestors claim they are about 1,000 now and are promising to deliver about 15,000 to Ft. Bonafacio.

The above report seems sketchy and second hand. We will see.

2/26/2006 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Last couple of INQ7 reports DISAPPEAR

2/26/2006 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gray said...

i think this post title:
Philippine Marine unit rebels against Arroyo

is a bit misleading and presumptuous at this point. as of the moment, the Marine unit has just showed up at the Philippine Marine HQ apparently protest the change of the Marine Corps Commandant. Officially, the now ex-commandant voluntarily relinquished his post. But the issue is that he resigned to protest (or the impending arrest of one of his colonel subordinates whom he feels is very much upright.

2/26/2006 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Just recvd a txt from my Sister in law saying the situation is resolved. I don't speak txt-ese very well. So will wait and see.

2/26/2006 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger Ticker said...


I don't think it's unfair to characterize this as rebellion. People are holed up, refusing to follow orders. They are outside the established chain of command. If people go back to the news more on the 1986 People's Power rebellion, this is exactly what happened with a different cast of characters. In that instance, it was the Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile who refused an order from Marcos. Then he was joined by then-General Fidel Ramos. There was no fighting then. The question is whether there will be any now.

From ABS-CBN news:

President Arroyo instructed the Armed Forces of the Philippines Sunday to come up with a quick resolution to the standoff at the Philippine Marine headquarters inside Fort Bonifacio in Taguig.

Gen. Generoso Senga, AFP chief of staff, told reporters at a press conference in Camp Aguinaldo on Sunday night about the President's orders.

The President told him to resolve the situation as fast as possible and do it as peacefully as possible, Senga said.

Senga said he is calling on Col. Ariel Querubin, commander of the 1st Marine Brigade, to stop agitating people to join the protest in support of relieved Marine commandant, Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda. Another officer, Lt. Col. Archie Segumalian, went to the headquarters in protest of Miranda's removal.

2/26/2006 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

The INQ7 report about the massing of protestors at UP-Diliman is back up.

2/26/2006 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Ticker said...


I've changed the title as per your suggestion that it may be misleading. But personally I feel that in the context of the situation in Manila, it is rebellion.

2/26/2006 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger Ticker said...

Here's Reuters:

About 100 elite Philippine troops openly defied the government and its emergency rule on Sunday, calling for public support after a Marines commander was removed over an alleged plot to oust President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

2/26/2006 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

INQ7 is confirming my sister-in-law's txt.

For the latest from INQ7

From INQ7:
Allaga: 'We follow the chain of command'
By Joey G. Alarilla

MANDALUYONG CITY--Brigadier General Nelson Allaga has declared that he is in command as the acting commandant of the Philippine Marines Corps.

"We will follow the chain of command. We will follow the Constitution," Allaga declared in a press conference at the Marines headquarters, where he and Colonel Ariel Querubin faced members of the media.

Allaga responded to questions from the media, while Querubin remained silent. Asked what measures will be taken against Querubin, Allaga said this has been resolved internally and no longer needs to be explained to the media.

Allaga declared that the crisis has been resolved, and that the Marines remain intact.

Allaga said the Marines do not care about politics, and that they would not allow themselves to be recruited for any political cause.

He claimed that he has a gentleman's agreement with Colonel Ariel Querubin, and that Querubin will not talk to the media.

Allaga stressed that they are loyal to the chain of command, which begins with Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga as Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command.

Allaga said he called up the different heads of the Marines units in the country, explaining that he has been designated as the acting commandant and that the chain of command must be preserved.

2/26/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


However, it seems the gathered civilians are not standing down nor is the reported crowd at UP-Diliman who say they will march tomorrow morning. No new (or confirmed for that matter) reports on the size of the UPD crowd.

INQ7 further reports that police and fire units are beefing up their presence around the Edsa shrine and that security is increasing around the presidential palace.

This is not over.

2/26/2006 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The arrest of Marines Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Querubin may be the final undoing of Macapagal Arroyo. In tense situations like these, cooler heads most often prevail and brash moves tend to escalate tensions and stimulate acts of greater desparation. I am woefully ignorant of Philipine politics so I don’t know if a coup is taking place, a popular rebellion, or the makings of a civil war.

Meanwhile, the Western press is talking up civil war in Iraq as Sunday fair. I have checked the CNN website and watched it on TV, as well as Fox, and the Philpino affair is not showing up on the nominal radar.

So the Western press is talking up a civil war in Iraq while ignoring one in the Philipine Islands. The conflict in Iraq has been waged for three years. The body count in the past few days has been on a par with an average suicide bombing campaign. Yet the seminal news now is that there no distinction between victim and aggressor in this case. That there is no monoply of violence. Not the bad news that it is made out to be but instead, another example of if it bleeds Bushes’ popular support, it leads.

The second lead item on is “Beads and Bawdiness”, the Mardi-Gras celibration and something about a mistrial for the woman who cut off her babies arm. I wonder if it was holding an apple. Perhaps we can never mind the fate of the free-world, and instead, segue to Aruba, where a latent lawyer can ask a non-involved bystander, for yet another ill-informed opinion of the where abouts of a missing American teenager.

Thanks for your insights.

2/26/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Annoy Mouse,

FWIW my take would not characterize what is happening as the makings of a civil war, and as far as your first two choices coup and popular rebellion I would make it a mix of the two.

The sense I get is the majority of Philippinos on Luzon want PGMA out. In the Bisayas and Mindanao it is not so clear (to me at least). However, the majority of people are sick (this is opinion on my part) of what is becoming all too regular, that is calls for people power Edsa X where X increases by 1 each time.

This however does not stop those who are in positions of power to try to topple PGMA, as they know the apathy that keeps people at home when the call for Edsa X goes out will also apply if PGMA is toppled. However, there is still the Bisayas & Mindanao uncertainity. In the past there have been threats from both regions of secession if PGMA is toppled, I have not seen any commentary by the leaders down there lately that change that sense I have.

One person I have been corresponding with asked rhetorically what's wrong with the agitators, instead of quiibbling in Manlia they should be in Leyte helping with the mudflow situation.

Well this situation seems to calm for at least a few hours. Lets see what happens in the morning with that reported mob at UP-Diliman.

2/26/2006 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Mr. Dave Shock said...

Last night the usual roads passing through the remaining military sections of Fort Bonifacio were barricaded by riot police with shields and vehicles. There was also some special message that all foreigners were banned from the areas. Don't know what that meant??? From my house bordering the area I could hear lots of activity, lots of loud speaker announcements. Situation was apparently resolved about 0200h today.

Not much traffic today on the streets as I headed into my office in the Makati Financial District. GMA has ordered schools to be closed today.

I am quite surprised that this "event" lasted so long in duration over this weekend. I think this shows that the situation is certainly graver than the usual Western media outlets are reporting.

However, despite the fact that opposition to GMA has been slowly growing since she rigged her re-election and when her husband was implicating in the national gambling syndicate among other kickbacks, as well as her screw up with the private sector airport investment deal, the crux of the matter is that the oppostion is not united and one of the reasons for this is that there is no serious alternative figure to take control. Yes, Ramos is a good character for the role, and perhaps could be an advisor of sorts, but he is too old for the re-taking the helm himself. Ping Lacson would be the obvious choice but I believe he may have too much baggage.

Upon declaring this State of Emergency and putting her government on "double" red alert (I kid you not! Almost like Animal House Double Secret Probation) she has also apparently authorized the arrest of some 100 or so persons on some list which has reporters, professors, politicians, etc.. Police are also scrutinizing the local media for counter govt. publications. I guess she missed her civil liberties class at Georgetown? Anyhow, it either goes to show the extent of her paranoia or the degree to which she will act to stay in power if the threats are truly there. Apparently from people I know who have met her, she does not tolerate dissenting views to her own on serious issues. Certainly not a Platonic Philsopher King...

Where will it go? Even with the previous revolutions of the past, the Philippines continues to sink economically relatively to its neighbors. It's sad b/c its a nice place with friendly people, but perhaps the people are too friendly. They have been downtrodden for so long in feudal system that despite these previous "peaceful" changes in government, the same 20-30 extended landed families continue to control the political system and the great majority of the economic resources. There is still no serious land reform, and therefore middle class growth is stifled as well as that for the lower class agricultural based masses in the provinces. For instance, these landslides will continue to occur as the poor in the provinces resort to illegal logging and wood cutting for their fires on land that they do not own and thus do not have a long term interest in upkeeping in an environmentally sound manner or even a long term economic appreciation of value in use. Recall that there was another similar one last year right before the tsunami. It will happen again.

The brain drain continues where those smart and talented enough to get out, do. Doctors leave here to be nurses in the US. The remittances from the Overseas Filipino Workers in the US, the Middle East oil fields, and maids of Singapore, Japan, and HK is what has allowed the economy to stay afloat.

Despite its official "hands-off" rhetoric, a lot will depend on what the US will do? In the past the US has supported the landed families and perpetuated the status quo in its old colony. Whereas, for better or worse the other countries that are now moving forward were "reset" after their previous colonial masters were kicked out. US policy does not want change in the Philippines as it breeds instability, and GMA has been such a big Bush supporter in the war against terrorism. Last week when the US Marines arrived to assist in digging out the landslide victims, it was reported that they incidentally here for "annual" war games training. Total BS, there is a large contingent of US forces here 24-7 365 days a year although officially that can't be announced since by law the US is no longer allowed permanent bases here.

Will the US continue to support status quo here through a policy of simply jumping from balancing one powerful landed faction against another and supporting whatever / whomever is best in the US short term interest? Or given their continued influence in the scene can they use their clout to make real sweeping changes in a bloodless manner for the Philippines best interest in the long run? Whether it is this go around or the next, if not sooner or later I suspect revolutionary shots will be fired if the status quo continues, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but...

2/26/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

Watching the Marines stand-off last night was like watching a movie whose ending one already knows.

Querubin is an idealistic marine who was trained to follow the orders of his immediate superior. His call for civilians to come and protect him was something he cannot back up precisely because he is a marine first before anything else. It was something so unfair to those who immediately responded and went to Fort Bonifacio but were left hanging in the air BY SOMEONE WHO CANNOT GO ALL THE WAY.

But please note one thing: the EDSA 3 people did not come. Why? He is not the voice they are waiting for. They do not trust the military. The Pilipino masses know that if they come out, it will be the soldiers and the police who will trample and disperse them because "they have to follow the chain of command." How convenient for them since they can always shift their support for the people if they are winning with the excuse that they are "the protector of the people."

EDSA Tres people are the millions of the masses that converged at EDSA last May 2001 for four straights nights and who proceeded to Mendiola but were bludgeoned by the military and the police with the odd excuse that they are “protecting the people” who installed Gloria as President. Who the hell are the people? Edsa Tres people are part of the 11 million Pilipinos who elected Erap President with the biggest majority and running away from the one who came second. They are the true representation of the people, not those that converged at EDSA Dos.

Enough is enough, the soldiers and the police demonstrated what they are capable of doing during EDSA Tres at Mendiola where they bludgeoned the people and scared them with guns and soldiers. The atrocities committed by the soldiers and police were caught live by the cameras of Channels 2 & 7 but was never shown again because they were on the side of Gloria then.

The people does not trust the police and the soldiers and the two giant TV stations and the elite and civil society. They will not come out into the streets for them nor on their call. It is not their call but someone else's.

If I have my "druthers" the next President should not come from the ranks of those who were with Gloria then and are now asking her to resign but from among the masses who are always for the people..

2/26/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Dee said...

Fingers point at GMA
It is rare for GMA to speak for herself on radio and television.
It’s become obvious to the nation that the only way to remove GMA is maybe by force. The AFP generals, GMA and her administration also know that this will happen and soon.
The reason that GMA will be removed by force is because she has prostituted the AFP, PNP, Justice Depts, Congressmen, COMELEC, Agriculture Depts, Mayors, Governors, among others. These servants of the people no longer serve the people.
Altering the Congressional system will not end this corruption because the problem for the country is GMA and her corrupt ways assisted by these people she has prostituted. Its just a way of her keeping her office.
The latest draft report doubting that Garci did not leave the country to avoid an Congressional inquiry in fact most likely traveled abroad to hide but clearing Garci of any charges These corrupt and prostituted Congress men and Congress women must end their corruption and end it now. Do they think the vast majority of Filipino will continue to tolerate this.
GMA step down whilst you have the chance, otherwise the majority of the people (80% according to the opinion polls) will rise up and the military will be sure to follow. There is no other course of action simply because you have prostituted every constitutional avenue to investigate the truth and extent of your corruption.
This President has placed herself in a position whereby she can no longer govern effectively. Her government is a ‘Band Aid’ government handing out packs of rice and noodles to the poor.
(400 detailed to guard 20 soldier detainees at a court appearance, they have every right to be nervous!) The writing is on the wall.
Mr Luz Chairman of the Makati Business Club makes sense.
Instead of just changing the basic law of the land and overhauling it in
a rush, Luz said the MBC called for simple amendments to the constitution that would correct or address specific problems.

All the fingers may eventually point to GMA but I doubt if she would even care. After all, she already gave the ordinary filipino the finger a long long time ago.

2/26/2006 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...

There's a link to an interesting legal discussion of the emergency proclamation over at Philippine Commentary. American listeners may take a few seconds adjusting to the accents but otherwise the English is perfect, apart from a few interjections in the vernacular. The discussion pretty persuasively concludes that the proclamation is overreaching, indefinite, unconstitutional and quite probably malicious.

Yet this intellectually triumphant discussion is diminished almost to insignificance by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's opportunity to defeat each of her foes in detail. By engaging her foes both despicable and righteous separately she is in the process of winning a victory over them all. Her crackdown on communists is alternated with a blanket, open ended proscription on public assemblies, for example. She has each side cheering for the destruction of their rivals, then she switches the blows and exchanges the cheering squads.

The legal debate I heard, while intellectually interesting, has done nothing to persuade that her foes are able to mount a coherent defense. I suspect, without knowing enough about the situation on the ground, that she is exploiting her unitary C&C to get inside the OODA loop of her foes, who are a bumbling and unwieldy coalition.

Events will show whether the fight will even out. While Arroyo's opposition is far from finished, they must improve their operational -- not just their legal -- performance to become competitive again.

2/26/2006 09:19:00 PM  

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