Military movement not monitored in Mindanao

Lt. Gen. Cardozo Luna, chief of the military's Eastern Mindanao Command said all the area's 40,000 personnel from the Army, the Navy and the Air Force would follow the chain of command and would express full support to President Arroyo.

He said he has issued instructions to all units under EastMinCom to ensure it is followed.

EastMinCom covers 16 of 27 Mindanao provinces and the cities of Davao, General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Cotabato, Kidapawan, Digos, Tagum, Butuan, Surigao, Valencia, Malaybalay, Gingoog, and Cagayan de Oro.

The Western Military Command based in the former SouthCom in Zamboanga City, covers the rest of the provinces. No military movement was also reported there.

Luna branded the crisis in Makati City as an "isolated case" but admitted they never saw it coming. He said they had not monitored any recruitment before Trillanes and group walked out of the Makati Trial Court, marched to the hotel and occupied a portion of the hotel.

In Sultan Kudarat, the military expressed their loyalty to their commander-in- chief, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, following the uprising of Marines in Metro Manila, Col. Danilo Garcia, commander of the 601st Infantry Brigade based in nearby Tacurong City, said.

"There's no troop movement (in support of Trillanes' group)," he said in a telephone interview.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza issued a statement sent through text by his office at five minutes before 3 p.m., the deadline given for Trillanes' group to give up.

"The government condemns this another illegal display of grievances. The Philippine Natonal Police, with the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is cordoning off the area, and the public should stay clear to avoid untoward incidents and not be mistaken as being involved in this illegal act," Dureza said, adding they are getting
messages "on this incident and there is now a growing public clamor to end this speedily because this is flaunting the law already."

"Many have expressed their wish that this will end peacefully. In any eventuality, the government shall apply the full force of the law, as the President has instructed and Senate President Manuel Villar has urged. There is no reason whatsever to resort to seditious acts just to air grievances. Our democracy is healthy and vibrant, with an
outspoken media and independent courts and Congress. This reckless act is a slap in the face of our democracy. We must not let it pass unpunished," he said,

Sarangani Governor Miguel Dominguez, according to a message sent by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said "we hope that this will be the last attempt to topple down the Arroyo government and perpetrators must be dealt with a heavy hand. We have to evolve as a nation bonded by faith and rule of law, not a country divided by revolution."

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte told reporters at about 4:57 p.m. that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo checked the loyalty of her allies.

Duterte said the President called him just before they opened the Yearend Meeting of the Regional/City Peace and Order Council at around 2.p.m.

"Rody, do I still have your support?" Duterte quoted the President to have asked him in a telephone call passed to him via Energy Sec. Angelo Reyes.Reyes was in town to give the keynote speech at the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Conference on Peace and Development (MIPCPD) at the Mandaya Hotel.

Trillanes and his supporters agreed to leave the hotel at past 5p.m. where they staged a six-hour siege Thursday to demand President Arroyo's resignation.

The senator decided to go out as government troops broke into the hotel's lobby with an armored personnel carrier after tear gas was lobbed into the lobby as television and radio reporters reported that armored personnel carrier fired bursts of machinegun fire towards the hotel.

Trillanes criticized the Arroyo administration for its supposed "ruthlessness" over the reported military action. Duterte said he assured the President of his loyalty and support but noted that the President was "relaxed" in their short phone

"Sanay na siya eh (she's used to the situation)," Duterte said of the President's tone in the phone call.

Duterte led military and police officials who attended the RPOC meeting in expressing support and loyalty to the "rule of law" and the chain of command.

"As citizen of this country, and as mayor of Davao City, I remain loyal to the Constitution. I will obey the Presidency," Duterte said in his opening statement in a press conference after the meeting.

Duterte called for sobriety and appealed to the parties to the crisis to "solve the impasse peacefully."

Duterte said assuming Senator Trillane's calls against corruption are true, "it is still not an excuse to topple the government" and to "drag the whole country."

He said the senator's and his supporters' gripes against corruption are only "a miniscule of the concerns the government is facing."

"Assuming that he is right, why does he have to drag the whole country," he told reporters.

Taxi and jeepney drivers in Davao City tuned into to the radio to monitor the events in Makati City. Taxi driver Allan, 43, said he wants to tune in because it is a matter that concerns him, too.

Belinda Lagarte, 48, a single mother reacted to the jeepney driver when he started to increase the volume of his radio receiver. "Ayaw sad kaayo kusga bay, kay makasamot sakit sa ulo (Don't make it louder, it adds to headache).

Manong Berto, a jeepney driver, said he chose not to tune in because he wants to focus on his work for the day.

"Manan-aw nalang ko sa TV unya, aron diko malanagan, (I'll just monitor the TV later) he said.