Man Armed With Pistol, Grenade, Arrested Hour Before Aquino’s Arrival
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines (AP) _ A man carrying a pistol and a hand grenade was arrested Sunday in the Tacloban town square an hour before the arrival of President Corazon Aquino, authorities reported.
Military spokesman Col. Lorenzo Mateo said the man was taken into custody by military intelligence agents and it was believed he might be a member of the communists’ New People’s Army that is fighting the government.
Mrs. Aquino arrived without incident and addressed the crowd of about 2,000 people in an election rally.
Mateo did not identify the arrested man, but said he taken to a military camp in nearby Palo for interrogation. Attempts to reach the camp by telephone were unsuccessful.
Tacloban City, 360 miles south of Manila, is the hometown of Imelda Marcos, the wife of ex-President Ferdinand E. Marcos who was ousted in a civilian- military coup in February 1968 and now lives in Hawaii.
During the rally, Mrs. Aquino said the struggle against Marcos was not over and Filipinos should not permit a repeat of his authoritarian rule.
″We just cannot forget the 20 years of plunder and we must seriously guard our democracy so that we will not have another Marcos,″ she said.
Mrs. Aquino was campaigning for her 24 selected candidates for the Senate in the May 11 elections.
In Manila, Bernabe Buscayno, senatorial candidate of the left-wing People’s Party, said he would support the government’s effort to stop human rights violations.
Buscayno, a former commander of the New People’s Army, said Mrs. Aquino was sincere but that she has been ″bending on pressures coming from the right, the United States and the military″ in her policies against leftist insurgents.
Buscayno was arrested in the late 1970s and freed by Mrs. Aquino last year. He denies that he is still a communist.
Buscayno said he no longer believes in armed struggle and if elected, he would push to reopen peace talks with the rebels.
Meanwhile, the military announced that a soldier was killed and two paramilitary guards were wounded when communist rebels ambushed their jeep on Negros island Saturday afternoon.
Nearly 400 people have been killed in clashes between communist rebels and government forces since a 60-day cease-fire expired Feb. 8.
The govenrment is also opposed by Moslem insurgents in the southern Philiippines, and in Zamboanga City, Moslem rebel chief Nur Misuari accused the military of trying to undermine peace efforts by spreading rumors his Moro National Liberation Front was preparing terror attacks.
Mrs. Aquino’s government has agreed to discuss Moslem autonomy in the five southern provinces where Moslems form the majority. Talks are to start Thursday.
The Moro front dropped its demand for an independent Islamic state and agreed to negotiate for autonomy during a meeting with Philippine representatives last December in Saudi Arabia.