Communist, military rebels call for uprising on Philippine leader

Other News Materials 13 February 2008 12:40 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Communist and military rebels on Wednesday called for an uprising to oust Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo amid an uproar over new corruption allegations against the leader's husband and allies.

Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim and Senator Antonio Trillanes, a former Navy lieutenant, said they hoped that the testimony of a new witness about the alleged involvement of Arroyo's husband and allies in graft would prompt Filipinos to take action.

"We only hope that these damning revelations would be enough to finally convince the Filipino people to stand up and assert their sovereign power to choose a government that would truly protect their rights and fight for their interests," they said.

Lim and Trillanes are among dozens of military officers and soldiers on trial for allegedly leading or joining previous plots to oust Arroyo over allegations she cheated in the May 2004 presidential election.

Calls for Arroyo's ouster again swelled last week after a former government official, Rodolfo Lozada, accused security forces of kidnapping him to prevent him from testifying in the Senate over an anomalous 329-million-dollar government contract.

Lozada was eventually able to testify at the Senate, where he corroborated earlier testimony that Arroyo's husband, lawyer Jose Miguel, and the country's former elections chief were involved in getting at least 130 million dollars in illegal kickbacks from the scrapped deal with a Chinese telecommunications firm.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) urged all anti-Arroyo forces to gather Filipinos for massive protests and "eventually cause the downfall of the despicable regime and make it pay for its grave crimes against the people."

"The revolutionary armed forces, on their part, have been instructed by the CPP to further intensify tactical offensives in the next few weeks and months to help further weaken the Arroyo regime and contribute significantly to its ouster," it said in a statement.

In the wake of Lozada's revelations, dozens of organizations have planned a massive demonstration on Friday to call for the resignation of Arroyo and other government officials accused of being involved in shady deals.

Police have already increased patrols and checkpoint operations in Manila ahead of Friday's rally when 300 police officers were expected to be deployed. Authorities, however, have yet to raise security alerts.