MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 29, 2008) – Philippine police on Friday said it has arrested a foreigner suspected of plotting terror attacks in the Manila.
Police chief Avelino Razon made the announcement the same day as huge anti-Arroyo protesters gathered in the capital to demand for the resignation of the Filipino leader over corruption allegations.
“We have arrested a foreigner suspected of plotting terror attacks,” Razon said.
He did not say how or when the foreigner was arrested, but claimed the man has links with international and local terror groups.
The Philippine military on Thursday said Jemaah Islamiya and the local Abu Sayyaf group are plotting to bomb civilian targets in Manila. The military also made the same warning last week days before anti-Arroyo protesters held a huge rally in Manila.
Opposition and civil society groups demanded Arroyo’s resignation after the president and her husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo were both linked to alleged scandals involving the flawed and overpriced national broadband network deal with China’s ZTE Corporation.
The president admitted the deal was flawed and cancelled the contract five months later after the scandal broke out. She and husband denied any wrongdoings.
In southern Philippines, the Inter-religious Solidarity Movement for Peace has joined calls for truth and clean, corruption-free society.
“Our country has constantly scored high on the scales of corruption in Asia and the world. As a people, we have seemingly become habituated to the culture of sleaze and dishonesty in the way that many of our leaders carry out their supposed duties to the people.”
“In these days we have again become flooded with these exact same stories of corrupt transactions happening in high places. Information on the blatant manipulation and obstruction of the truth on the NBN-ZTE Project has implicated very important government officials, including the President of this Republic and her family,” it said in a statement.
It added: “This is now leading us to a crisis point that is prompting us to even question the integrity of the highest official of the land. It is utterly immoral to impose this obligation upon our people without consideration for their poverty and struggle to live in dignity and peace.”
“We add our collective voice to the many who call for an end to corruption, falsehood and dishonesty. We are not a society of cheats. With a sense of urgency, we exhort everyone to consider the consequences of the culture of corruption that plagues our society from top to bottom. These practices must end in united, honest and serious work for truth and adherence to the rule of law.”
“Confident in our legal system, let us get to the bottom of these anomalies and prosecute those who are found liable – regardless of their high or powerful positions, including the President of the country– and replace corrupt leaders with those who are more transformational and moral. Let us rebuild our country on the building blocks of participative working democracy, reflective of the will of our people. A clean, peaceful and corruption-free society, where people are empowered as they live in security and dignity, is our best legacy to our children.”
But the Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns has criticized Arroyo and said it would join calls for her to step down.
“The anomalies and scandals on the secret deals of the Arroyo government emit unbearable stench, no matter how the government tries to cover it up. The whole nation can smell the horrible stench and even the children can smell it too,” Alphonse Rivera, the group’s spokesman, said.
“We have witnessed how the government deprived our children of basic services while fattening their own pockets. Now is the time to speak out and defend our children’s future. We want to put across the message that, whichever way, Mrs. Arroyo has to go away now. She has never considered the children’s interests in her 7 years in power and we have lost trust that she will do so in the next two years. We can no longer bear the disgusting stench of her government,” Rivera said.