Guards claim Islamic militant plot to kill Philippine president

Other News Materials 14 February 2008 12:16 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Philippine police have allegedly uncovered a plot by Islamic militants to assassinate President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo amid renewed calls for her resignation, her chief of security said Thursday.

Brigadier General Romeo Prestoza, head of the Presidential Security Group, said the plot was uncovered last week by the police.

According to intelligence reports, al-Qaeda-linked Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebels and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) operatives were behind the assassination plot.

"Police have details on the threat against President Arroyo, other personalities and embassies," Prestoza said.

Abu Sayyaf and JI militants have been on the run since the military intensified operations against them in the southern Philippines in August 2007.

Prestoza said the plot has prompted Arroyo to cancel a planned trip to the northern resort city of Baguio on Saturday to attend the homecoming of Philippine Military Academy graduates.

He, however, stressed that the trip's cancellation has nothing to do with planned anti-government protests on Friday to demand the resignation of Arroyo over massive corruption allegations.

Critics dismissed the alleged assassination plot as part of efforts by the government to divert public attention from new corruption allegations against Arroyo, her family and allies.

Presidential guards and senior aides of Arroyo have also been accused of kidnapping a key witness in a controversial deal between the Philippines and a Chinese firm.