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No power grab threat on May 1 — security officials

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 18:34:00 04/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines — There are no threats of destabilization or a repeat of the bloody siege in Malacañang when militant groups take to the streets for the traditional Labor Day rallies on Thursday, police and military officials said.

Police will meet with rally organizers in Manila on Tuesday morning to hammer out security arrangements for the rallies, said Director Geary Barias, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

At least 2,000 anti-riot policemen, with augmentation from the military, will secure the protests, initially planned at the Plaza Miranda, Mehan Garden, and Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila, and the Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City, Barias told a news conference in Camp Aguinaldo.

“There’s none, if you are referring to People Power 3, [the] May 1 siege. We have not received any information regarding that matter,” Barias said.

“But we are always prepared,” said Barias counterpart in the military, Major General Fernando Mesa, the chief of the National Capital Region Command (NCRCom).

On May 1, 2001, hundreds of loyalists of deposed president Joseph Estrada stormed the Malacañang gates, three months after a military-backed popular revolt thrust Estrada’s then vice president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to power.

Earlier this year, huge protests were staged in the Makati financial district and in Manila to press for Arroyo’s ouster amid allegations she pocketed millions of dollars in kickbacks from the botched national broadband project along with her husband, Jose Miguel, and former elections chief Benjamin Abalos Sr.

Officials were on alert amid reports that the rallies would be used as a springboard for a power grab attempt, and that communist rebels were planning to disrupt the protests.

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Written by joelguinto

Mon+00:002008-04-28T13:16:28+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Mon, 28 Apr 2008 13:16:28 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm04

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