Thursday, November 29, 2007


Holy shit. In the past month, I've experienced a deadly explosion at a mall, a political assassination via bomb attack, a typhoon, an earthquake, and today, an attempt to overthrow the Philippines' government. The Coup attempt was made by a senator and a general who were on trial today for ANOTHER coup attempt they had in 2003. So they just walked right out of the courtroom and proceeded to take over a posh hotel just 3 blocks from where I work. Imagine waking up in the morning and saying to yourself "Today is the day I'm going to overthrow the government." It's actually a pretty attractive thing to dream about, but this guy took it to the proverbial "next level." Here's CNN's take on it:

MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- Dramatically played out on live television, an opposition politician and rebel military officers surrendered to government forces after taking over a luxury hotel in Manila.

"We're going out for the sake of the safety of everybody," Philippines Sen. Antonio Trillanes said.

The senator made the decision to give up after the military peppered the inside of the hotel with tear gas. Live pictures from inside the hotel showed reporters and rebel soldiers covering their faces.

An armored vehicle was also seen firing into the lobby of Manila's Peninsula hotel and later rammed through the front entrance of the building.

"The situation is contained within the Peninsula hotel, Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro told CNN.

"The perpetrators are in the process of being arrested." Those who held the hotel were shown being loaded into a Philippine National Police bus.

Teodoro said no one was injured, but Associated Press reported that at least two people were injured.

The standoff began hours earlier when a group led by Trillanes and Army Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim bolted from a court hearing on charges linked to a failed 2003 coup attempt. Video Watch footage of troops storming the hotel in Manila »

"What happened, to me, was clearly either an attempted rebellion or an attempted coup d'etat," Teodoro said.

Philippines military and police personnel had been surrounding the hotel, where the group was asking for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to step down. After Trillanes' announcement, soldiers milled around the outside of the hotel, but the scene had calmed noticeably.

Arroyo had issued orders to the military and police in response to the seizure of the hotel, located in Manila's Makati financial district, journalist Adrian Addison told CNN. Few supporters of the rebels were visible around the Peninsula hotel, Addison said.

Philippine authorities gave the rebel group until 2:30 p.m. (0630 GMT) to allow guests to leave the hotel, and until 3:00 p.m. (0700 GMT) to surrender, the ABS-CBN news service reported.

Businessman Peter Parcel was caught in the middle of the hotel's takeover and subsequent tear-gassing. Listen to the eyewitness in the hotel describe what happened Video

"I couldn't see and couldn't breathe," he said, noting he faced "at least 100 guns" as he exited the hotel.

I got let out of work early because everybody was wondering if full-scale civil war was about to jump off. I immediately went back to my apartment, grabbed my camera, (like any international man of adventure would do) and rolled back out into the street to get pix. It was really weird walking right down the middle of an empty Ayala avenue, which is usually so traffic packed it's impossible to even cross. I could only get so far until the Police barricade which was set up a few hundred yards in front of the Peninsula hotel, where the perps were holed up. After I shot some photos, I walked back to the crib and watched it play out live on CNN, and heard hundreds of bullets being fired outside my balcony. A few hours later, after the rebels surrendered, I walked back by the hotel just as the tanks were rolling out. That was so fucking surreal watching a giant military tank rolling right down the middle of the street. There's a Govt. imposed curfew tonight from midnight-5AM. This shit is gonna make Miami feel even more tame than it already felt, but that's OK. I think I'm about ready for a little bit of tame.

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