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Ex-Estrada Aide Arrested in Failed Mutiny - 2003-07-28


Police in the Philippines have arrested an aide to former President Joseph Estrada, who is suspected of aiding renegade soldiers in their failed mutiny against the government on Sunday. Officials suspect the 19-hour siege of a commercial complex was part of a plot to grab power from President Gloria Arroyo.

Police arrested Ramon Cardenas, a former Cabinet secretary under deposed President Joseph Estrada, whose government was ousted by popular protest in 2001 in favor of his deputy and now President Gloria Arroyo.

Police found high powered weapons, ammunition and other links to the rebel soldiers in Mr. Cardenas' residence, about a kilometer away from the scene of Sunday's siege.

National Security Advisor Roilo Golez says initial investigations show the failed mutiny may be traced to the former president. "The neighbors have made testimony that the house belonged to the Estrada family."

Mr. Estrada, who is on trial for corruption, still insists that he is the legitimate leader of the country.

Ms. Arroyo Sunday vowed to prosecute any civilians found to have masterminded the mutiny.

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