Aquino Orders Crackdown On Radio Stations, New Coup Plot Reported
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ President Corazon Aquino today ordered several radio stations closed, and the government said the president’s cousin and opposition politicians were plotting a new coup attempt this month.
Presidential spokesman Teodoro Benigno said three or four stations would be closed, but refused to identify them.
He said the order, effective immediately, was issued because the stations had been ″openly defying the government of President Aquino by continuously transmitting the propaganda of right-wing rebel groups and other enemies of the state.″
A few hours after Benigno’s report, Communications Secretary Reinero Reyes announced suspension of the broadcast license of DWBC, a small station that sold air time to rightists for political statements. A station employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said DWBC also sold air time to government supporters.
Officials of several other stations that have broadcast anti-government statements said they had received no closure orders by this afternoon.
Benigno spoke to journalists after a 3 1/2 -hour Cabinet meeting held amid tight security. Sandbags were piled on the veranda of the main palace administrative building and at least one armored personnel carrier guarded a gate to the walled compound.
On Tuesday night, a private television station broadcast an interview with the officer who led an attempted coup Aug. 28. Another renegade officer in hiding met reporters Tuesday night.
Benigno said Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos briefed the Cabinet on plans by at least five opposition groups to stage a coup attempt this month aimed at allowing ousted President Ferdinand Marcos to return from exile in Hawaii.
The spokesman, quoting Ramos, said the conspiracy involved Mrs. Aquino’s first cousin, Eduardo Cojuangco, who fled the country with Marcos in February 1986 during a popular-military uprising.
Benigno quoted Ramos as saying that other coup plotters included members of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s opposition party, Marcos’ New Society Movement and three dissident military groups.
Enrile, Marcos’ and Mrs. Aquino’s former defense minister, denied his Grand Alliance for Democracy was involved in any plot.
″GAD is not involved in any such plots and conspiracies even if there are such plots and conspiracies,″ Enrile said.
The government allegations followed reports that Enrile and Vice President Salvador Laurel were trying to form a new political alliance as a virtual ″shadow″ administration in case Mrs. Aquino were toppled.
Enrile confirmed efforts were under way to revive the rightist Nacionalista Party but denied it intended to move against Mrs. Aquino. Enrile was fired as defense minister in November after a failed coup plot by his followers.
Benigno refused to say what steps the government was taking to counter the alleged plot. He said Ramos told the Cabinet that Cojuangco was waiting in a nearby, unspecified country for his associates to make their move.
The spokesman said Ramos did not specify what roles Marcos and Cojuangco would play either during or after the planned coup.
Benigno did not list the opposition figures alleged to be involved in the coup plot.
On Tuesday night, television station GMA broadcast an interview with renegade Col. Gregorio ″Gringo″ Honasan, leader of an Aug. 28 coup attempt, in which he said further confrontation with the Aquino government was ″inevitable.″
Another renegade officer, Lt. Col. Reynaldo Cabauatan, told reporters Tuesday in Pampanga province that he had formed an alliance with Moslem rebels to save the nation from communism.
Honasan also has issued two statements over local radio stations since the August coup, which left at least 53 people dead and hundreds wounded. Several stations have broadcast printed statements by Cabauatan and his supporters.
Honasan was a key figure in the Feb. 22, 1986, mutiny that triggered the ″people power revolution″ which swept Mrs. Aquino to power three days later.
Troops were deployed around the palace late Tuesday in what the military said was a field training exercise to test responsiveness to any new armed threats.
Navy Lt. Anselmo Cabingan, the deputy military spokesman, said police and troops also staged a series of late night raids around the capital Tuesday and picked up at least 14 people, including a retired colonel, for questioning.
Newspaper reports today said as many as 20 people were detained in Tuesday night raids on homes of Marcos supporters and suspected hideouts of groups loyal to Cabauatan and Honasan. Police said most had been released after questioning.
During the GMA interview, Honasan said if the August mutiny succeeded, he would have demanded that Mrs. Aquino appoint a ″unification council″ to rule the country.
He said Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime L. Sin, opposition leader Enrile and some officials from the Marcos era would have been asked to serve on the council, which he said would try to save the country from corruption, inept government and communism.
″We will eventually hit again,″ Honasan said without being specific.