Anti-Aquino Rebels Celebrate Coup Attempt
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Fireworks lit up the sky and gunfire and explosions were heard across the capital Sunday in what was called a display of support for rebels who tried to topple President Corazon Aquino last year.
Police said one man was killed and another captured after three gunmen in a jeep fired on a police car in suburban Quezon City during the fireworks display.
Meanwhile, communist guerrillas killed a woman and her two sons, and government soldiers gunned down three rebels in separate incidents over the weekend, the news agency and the military said.
Sgt. Manny Siocon said the attack in Quezon apparently was linked to the fireworks display. He said the third assailant escaped and police recovered a rifle, flares and bundles of fireworks from the gunmen’s vehicle.
Police and residents said the fireworks began about 8:30 p.m. at military camps in the Manila area and lasted up to 15 minutes.
A member of the Presidential Security Group told The Associated Press the fireworks explosions could also be heard near the presidential palace.
Columnist Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc wrote in the pro-government Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday that a group called the Revolutionary Association for the People’s Freedom would explode fireworks across the nation to signal ″the birthing of a Filipino movement to free the nation now mired in greed and looting.″
There were no reports of displays elsewhere in the country, but Mrs. Magsanoc said pamphlets published by the previously unknown group called for ″dismantling of the transitional exploitative government,″ a reference to the Aquino administration. Police said they accept the journalist’s explanation, but refused further comment.
She said the fireworks would honor the leaders of a bloody Aug. 28, 1987, coup attempt, in which renegade soldiers led by former Lt. Col. Gregorio ″Gringo″ Honasan tried to topple the Aquino government. At least 53 people were killed and more than 300 were wounded in the coup attempt.
Honasan was captured in December but escaped in April from a prison ship in Manila Bay and remains at large.
He played a key role in the February 1986 military revolt that toppled President Ferdinand Marcos and propelled Mrs. Aquino to power.
But Honasan became disillusioned with Mrs. Aquino for her alleged failure to crush the 19-year Communist insurgency and restore an honest, democratic administration.
In Capiz on Panay island about 200 miles south of Manila, guerrillas Saturday strafed the house of Boday Hulido, 30, killing her and her two sons, the Philippines News Agency said. It said the rebels may have been looking for Hulido’s husband, who had just been recruited into a new militia force.
In Bukidnon province, about 550 miles southeast of Manila, soldiers killed three rebels in a clash outside Magsaysay village early Sunday, the military said.
Lt. Col. Antonio Zaldua said the soldiers were sent to the village after receiving reports that rebels were allegedly asking residents for money.
The soldiers recovered firearms, medicines, foodstuff and a radio transmitter from the scene of the firefight, the official said. No government casualties were reported.
In another incident, a grenade found by a 12-year-old boy exploded after he brought it home, killing him, his two brothers and a friend, the news agency reported.
Friday’s grenade blast in the village of Udok on Panay island killed Gerry Nadong, 9; Angelo Nadong, 12; and Herandi Nadong, 23. Their friend, Hernani Fernando, age unknown, died in a hospital, the report said. Six other people were injured.
It said the boy found the grenade near his village and quoted Col. Jorge Vallejera as saying the grenade may have been dropped accidentally by military planes that had attacked a communist New People’s Army camp in the area.