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RAMOS DENIES COUP PLAN

No to amnesty – Enrile

01:16 PM February 24, 2011

NEGOTIATIONS between President Marcos and the leaders of the military revolt broke down yesterday, as Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos insisted that Mr. Marcos immediately step down “to avoid bloodshed.”

Enrile told newsmen the officer corps of the rebel troops had decided that their demand for President Marcos’ resignation is “not negotiable.”

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Enrile said the officers belonging to the Reform the AFP Movement arrived at this decision shortly after he called President Marcos by telephone early yesterday afternoon. During the conversation, Marcos offered absolute amnesty to the rebel troops should they surrender right away, Enrile said.

The officers, however, rejected the offer, Enrile said. “The matter has reached a point where the bottomline is for the President to step down.” Enrile said this will be his message to Marcos when he talks with him again.

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Negotiations are useless at this time,” Enrile said during the news conference which was also attended by Opposition leader Salvador H. Laurel, NAMFREL chairman Jose Concepcion and businessmen Dante Santos.

The standoff came as about 400 Marines loyal to President Marcos began moving in on the rebel troops who have dug in at Camp Crame.

Enrile warned the advancing Marine battalion that the rebels had enough men and firepower to thwart any attack.

Asked what will happen if President Marcos does not resign, Gen. Ramos told an earlier press conference that “he will die of a ripe old age within the confines of Malacanang.” Ramos dismissed as “big figments of Marcos imaginations” that the rebel troops had tried to stage a coup d’etat and assassinate him.

“We are not interested in the assassination of Mr. Marcos. We only want the improvement of our Armed Forces and our own government so they may better serve our people,” Ramos said.

Ramos said the break-out of hostilities is all up to the President. “We have no capability of inflicting violence — we are purely on a defensive stand here.

“However, we will not surrender … and let the people down,” Ramos said.

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“However, we will not surrender … and let the people down,” Ramos said.

During the press conference, 43 retired generals and military officers led by former Gen. Jesus Vargas, former AFP chief, threw their support behind “the gallant stand Gen. Ramos and Minister Enrile have taken.”

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