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Aquino Orders 3 Radio Stations Closed for Rightist Propaganda : Troops Deployed at Presidential Palace as Government Warns of Coup Conspiracy

October 07, 1987|Associated Press

MANILA — President Corazon Aquino today ordered at least three radio stations closed for airing right-wing propaganda. Hundreds of troops deployed around the presidential palace as the government warned of a new plot--code-named RAMBO--to topple her.

Presidential spokesman Teodoro Benigno accused right-wing politicians of plotting with Aquino's cousin and allies of deposed President Ferdinand E. Marcos to attempt a coup this month.

Brig. Gen. Alexander Aguirre, commander of troops guarding metropolitan Manila, said the new coup attempt was code-named RAMBO--Remove Aquino from Malacanang by October. Malacanang is the presidential palace.

The leftist May 1st Movement announced a program of labor agitation to culminate Monday in a nationwide general strike. The announcement raised concern that rightist groups might take advantage of labor unrest to launch new attacks.

Military mutineers attempted a coup Aug. 28, two days after the movement staged a nationwide transport strike. The August mutiny, the most serious attack on Aquino's government, left at least 53 dead.

Loyal soldiers set up machine-gun positions today on streets near Aquino's residence. Troops also guarded a major highway south of the city and three bridges near the palace.

Armed police bolstered the private guard force at the International School, whose 2,500 students include children of American and other foreign diplomats.

Benigno said Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos told the Cabinet that five groups, including three from the military and two center-right political organizations, were plotting to overthrow Aquino this month in the wake of the August coup attempt.

Quoting Ramos, Benigno said the groups included Marcos loyalists and Aquino's exiled cousin Eduardo Cojuangco.

A wealthy businessman, Cojuangco fled the country with Marcos. Benigno said he has left his residence in California and is in a nearby, unspecified country waiting for the coup attempt.

National Security Adviser Emmanuel Soriano told the Cabinet that the current alleged plot is more serious than others because it involves a broad range of civilian conspirators, the spokesman said.

Benigno said Marcos plans to return to the Philippines if the plot succeeds but did not say whether he would resume leadership of the country.

Benigno said the decision to close three or four radio stations was made during today's Cabinet meeting, which followed a late-night emergency session of the Cabinet Crisis Committee. He refused to identify the stations.

He said Aquino ordered Communications Secretary Reinerio Reyes to close the stations because they had "been blatantly guilty of glorifying the enemies of the government and openly defying the government of President Aquino by continuously transmitting the propaganda of right-wing rebel groups and other enemies of the state."

By late today, one small station, DWBC, had been closed. But sources speaking on condition of anonymity said at least two others are expected to be shut down shortly.

Manila has more than 40 radio stations.

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