MANILA — One month after a coup nearly toppled her from power, President Corazon Aquino announced sweeping changes in her Cabinet on Sunday, including a new chief of the nation's much-criticized civilian intelligence services.
Aquino removed seven of her 22 Cabinet ministers and moved several others to new posts. It was the broadest Cabinet shake-up since she assumed power four years ago.
But Aquino did not accede to growing pressure to oust Defense Secretary Fidel V. Ramos, whose military has now mutinied six times against her government, or announce new policies to solve the nation's growing social and economic problems.
The Cabinet shake-up came as rebel leaders declared a cease-fire for the New Year's weekend, ending for the moment nearly daily rumors and press reports of another coup or assassination attempt. The Dec. 1-9 military revolt left at least 113 dead and more than 500 wounded.
Analysts said much of the Cabinet reshuffle appeared more cosmetic than substantive. They said it was unlikely to satisfy rebel leaders and military and civilian critics, who charge that Aquino's administration is corrupt and inefficient.
But Aquino won critical support in a strongly worded pastoral letter that was read in thousands of churches before millions of parishioners Sunday morning across Asia's only Roman Catholic country.
"The staging of a \o7 coup d'etat\f7 . . . is a rebellion . . . against God, from whom all civil authority is derived," the nation's bishops declared in the letter. "In other words, to seize power through a \o7 coup d'etat\f7 is a sin."
The letter said that the faithful could not stand idly by during a coup, which it called "a morally neutral stand."
The church leaders, led by Manila's archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Sin, conceded that there is abuse of power, incompetence and graft under Aquino. "Our government must get its act together," the church leaders warned, calling for "profound" and "thoroughgoing reforms."
In a nationally televised appearance, Aquino said that she reorganized her Cabinet to "adjust to new situations" and to improve deteriorating government services.
Her spokesman, Adolfo Azcuna, later told reporters that the changes were "triggered not so much by the coup attempt but by the same reasons that precipitated the coup attempt. It's something you might say is parallel."
Azcuna said the new Cabinet "should be an action team. The time for action is long overdue."
The most significant change appeared to be the sacking of Rodolfo Canieso, who ran the National Intelligence Coordinating Authority, the Philippine equivalent of the CIA.
Philippine intelligence apparently failed to detect the most recent revolt, in which an estimated 3,000 heavily armed rebel troops quickly captured the nation's top military bases and then laid siege to Manila's financial district. In his defense, Canieso said later that a majority of the armed forces did not oppose the coup.
Before running the intelligence agency, Canieso was commander of the army and head of a right-wing anti-Communist group. Under his tenure, the army helped foster dozens of rural vigilante groups who were blamed for hundreds of human rights abuses, including brutal beatings and deaths.
Canieso was replaced with retired Maj. Gen. Mariano Adalem, who also was named presidential consultant on military affairs. Adalem had commanded the Philippine army until he was appointed head of the National Casino Authority in 1988.
But Aquino did not remove Defense Secretary Ramos or armed forces Chief of Staff Renato de Villa. Opposition politicians and even some of Aquino's closest aides had demanded that both be ousted for failing to forestall the latest military uprising. Ramos was a prime target of the coup attempt, and rebel leaders have made his removal a key demand.
Ramos helped start the initial military-civilian revolt that swept Aquino to power in 1986. He has been her closest and most trusted military adviser since then and is considered a front-runner in the 1992 presidential election, when her term expires.
Alex Magno, an associate professor of political science at the University of the Philippines, said Aquino could not replace Ramos easily, since he is the only civilian respected by a large segment of the armed forces.
"It might be unwise to make dramatic changes in the military now," Magno said. "It's not politically feasible. It might disturb a very precarious equilibrium."
Other analysts said that Aquino's failure to remove several key aides was as noteworthy as the shifts she made. She did not, for example, replace Jose S. Concepcion Jr., secretary of trade and industry, or Mita Pardo de Tavera, head of social welfare and development.