Saturday, December 1, 2007

Siege of Manila Peninsula Hotel

The Makati standoff ended after government troops lobbed tear gas into The Peninsula Manila lobby and an armored personnel carrier rammed the hotel's main entrance

Trillanes, Lim arrested; Makati standoff ends

November 29, 2007 11:15:00
MANILA, Philippines -- Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Brigadier General Danilo Lim, have been arrested. Former vice president Teofisto Guinogona joined the two inside the Philippine National Police bus.

The arrests on Lim and Trillanes were effected shortly after they declared that they were leaving the hotel where they held a six-hour siege to demand the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Trillanes and his group decided to end the standoff after government troops threw teargas at the hotel lobby and an armored personnel carrier rammed the entrance.

"We're going out for the sake of the safety of everybody, for your sake because we cannot live with our conscience if some of you get hurt or get killed in the crossfire," said Trillanes, addressing the media.

Brigadier General Danilo Lim, Senator Trillanes, Magdalo soldiers together with their
guards walked out from Makati Court and proceeded to Manila Peninsula Hotel.

Trillanes and other officers accused of leading the July 2003 rebellion walked out of their trial Thursday and marched through the streets of Makati calling for the ouster of Arroyo.
The soldiers, numbering around 30, were accompanied by armed guards as they broke down a door of the hotel, overwhelmed security guards and read out a statement against Arroyo with a full list of their demands.

 Government troops arrived in Makati in full battle gear.

Senator Trillanes and ex Navy Lieutenant Snr. Grade and Magdalo soldiers (with red armbands) giving a press conference at the hotel.

A Magdalo troop inside the Peninsula Hotel.

Government troops encircling the hotel.
 Government troops on stand-by in a military camp in MetroManila.

VIDEOS of the Makati standoff :Some videos from Makati:Marines surround the Pen:

The assault, then the ringleader himself, Navy officer and senator-elect Antonio Trillanes babbling incoherently before giving up...... again!!

GMA News TV Video of Makati standoff :

Magdalo soldiers walk-out of Makati court.

Guards joined Trillanes walkout isntead of stopping him.

Trillanes - Lim at Manila Peninsula, Arroyo returns to Malacanang.

Trillanes and allies barge into Manila Peninsula Hotel.

PNP won't let soldiers into Manila Peninsula

Arroyo returns to Palace amid tight security.

Trillanes allies in close door meeting before presscon.

Soldiers from Camp Aguinaldo arrives in Makati.

Tanks and troops sent immediately to Makati after Trillanes walkout.

Armed Forces in red alert.

Trillanes press conference in Makati.

Gov't forces mass up at Ayala.

Updates at Peninsula Hotel

Government troops enter the Manila Peninsula Hotel.

Trillanes-Guingona in bus enroute to Bicutan.

Recap of Manila Pen takeover.

Auhtorities round up individuals involved in Pen takeover.

Key figures taken out of Peninsula Hotel.

Reports from jail bus.

AFP-PNP still monitoring NLEX.

Trillanes group transferred to Camp Crame.

AFP unit from Fort Magsaysay arrives in Camp Aguinaldo.

Hotel guests return to Peninsula Hotel to complete checkout.
3D WALKTHROUGH. Visit the new Interactive section of the Makati Standoff site at
for 3D walkthroughs showing government troops and armored personnel carriers after the successful assault on the forces of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. The Makati standoff ended after government troops lobbed tear gas into The Peninsula Manila lobby and an armored personnel carrier rammed the hotel's main entrance.
Photos and videos courtesy of Philippine Defense Forces Forum
and the Phil Daily Inquirer

The silence of the camps

By Randy DavidInquirerLast updated 03:12am (Mla time) 12/01/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a former Navy lieutenant senior grade, are two of the smartest officers in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. They are highly regarded by their men and by their contemporaries in the officer corps. Few senior officers in the Philippine military today can match their popularity among the soldiers. It is significant that they have also led repeated coup attempts against the government of the day. They are not novices in the art of military mutiny.

Knowing this, one is hard-pressed to understand why they would venture into something like Thursday’s standoff at the Manila Peninsula Hotel, with hardly any arms to defend themselves, only to surrender without a fight to the police forces sent to arrest them. It just doesn’t make sense. The two detained officers, together with their fellow officers and security detail, strolled out of the courtroom during a break in the hearing of the 2003 Oakwood mutiny. They had no fear of being re-arrested. Only a handful of civilian supporters accompanied them in their unhurried walk to the five-star hotel in which they were to make their statement. If this was going to be a coup, it was rather unusual if not suicidal. They came virtually without arms.

While they called on the Filipino people to join them in their bid to oust President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, they didn’t sound like they were desperately waiting for people power to pick up the cause they were espousing. If they were banking on popular mobilization, then they were one day too early. They should have stretched their stay at the Peninsula till the following day, Bonifacio Day, when huge rallies were expected. In fact, this possibility was what worried the government forces. So why did Trillanes and Lim give up so quickly?

We can only speculate that their action was meant to spark a mutiny that they thought was waiting to happen. But because we did not see troops marching in the streets or moving in trucks and choosing sides, we are now led to think that the Magdalo officers badly miscalculated. In fact, the spokesmen of the Arroyo government lost no time in assuring the public that the military chain of command remained intact and that the rebels were totally isolated.

But, if indeed they were alone in this doomed and foolish adventure, how do we explain the fact that, at the height of the standoff, no military commander, apart from the chief of staff, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr., came out or was presented to reiterate support for the Arroyo government? Why did the government rely exclusively on police forces to deal with what was openly declared as a bid to remove the existing government? Was Ms Arroyo afraid that, if compelled to declare their loyalty, a good number of the nation’s soldiers might actually side with Lim and Trillanes?

In short, what did the silence of the camps during this six-hour siege signify? I doubt if General Esperon or Ms Arroyo knows. Perhaps if they know anything at all about the state of mind of the soldiers in the camps today, it might be something that is likely to give them sleepless nights in the next few weeks or months. Could this be the real reason for the sudden imposition of a midnight curfew -- that they are seriously spooked by the possibility of troop movements quietly taking place in the coming days?

For it is hard to believe that the soldiers barricaded in their barracks would not care less about what was going on in Makati City last Thursday. If they saw what the rest of the nation saw, and they remained silent, I would consider that a meaningful silence. In a time like ours, when images from live media pack more power than the most stirring statements, what might the silence of citizens and soldiers possibly indicate? Are their senses stunned and their will paralyzed? Or are their souls shaken and courage awakened in their hearts? Who knows?

Who would know what it means for a soldier or a citizen to see a young senator of the republic, filled with idealism, being shackled and handled like a sack of potatoes by his captors as he is led to a waiting police bus? Who would know what it means for any viewer to see an 81-year-old prince of the Catholic Church, hobbled by age, his left hand tied to the right hand of another priest, being led to a waiting police bus after having just said a prayer of hope? Who would know what it means for someone to see a whole line of media people, their hands bound in plastic restraints proudly held up above their heads, being led to a waiting police bus for “processing” as suspects? Such were among the most memorable images from Thursday’s episode.

I only know that one would need to be blind and insensitive to view these snapshots as achievements of the rule of law. You take one look at General Lim and Senator Trillanes side by side General Esperon and Colonel Bacarro -- and you can tell at once who among these soldiers have their ideals intact. You take one look at Bishop Julio Labayen and former Vice President Tito Guingona side by side Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno and Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye -- and you know at once who the liars are.

There is a mutiny in the making not just in the camps but in the hearts of the rest of us. We were beginning to forget what social anger is all about, and what it means to take responsibility for the nation our heroes bequeathed to us. Thursday set us on a new path. We are starting to see what General Lim meant when he said: “Dissent without action is consent.”
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