Guards Thwart Gunmen at Philippine Cabinet Minister’s Home
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ A band of men with M-16 rifles tried to force their way to the home of Trade and Industry Secretary Jose Concepcion but were turned back by guards, Concepcion’s office said Tuesday.
His staff said in a statement that more than four gunmen arrived about 11:15 p.m. Sunday at the gate of the posh Forbes Park residential district and demanded to get to the secretary’s house, but guards refused to admit them.
The group’s leader then ordered his men to leave because they had been ″burned out,″ the statement said. The term is slang used by the Philippine military for a covert operation that has been exposed.
Guard reinforcements were sent to Forbes Park, a wealthy subdivision that includes the homes of leading businessmen, government officials and U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Platt.
Newspapers speculated the incident may have been a kidnap or assassination attempt and said the gunmen could have been rebel soldiers responsible for last December’s coup attempt.
Concepcion, a leading industrialist, is a controversial figure because of allegations he secured preferential government loans for his family business and favors foreign investors, especially Taiwanese. He denies wrongdoing.
Last week, a statement issued by the mutineers threatened to kill banker Domingo Lee for ″crimes against the people.″
Lee owns PhilBanking Corp., one of two banks where bombs were discovered last week.
Security has been intensified in Manila following bombings and ambushes, blamed on Communist rebels.
Maj. Gen. Cesar Nazareno, the national police chief, warned Saturday that Manila was experiencing a ″breakdown in law and order.″ The State Department has warned Americans to be alert for terrorism and rising crime here.
Also Monday, the military said troops captured 27 Communist leaders and guerrillas in raids north of Manila and in the southern Philippines.
A military report said nine purported members of the outlawed National Democratic Front’s Mindanao Commission were arrested Saturday at a house in Davao City, 530 miles southeast of the capital. It said among those seized was a member of the commission’s secretariat, Maria Loreto Abella, for whom a $4,300 bounty had been offered.