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Philippine colonel calls for president’s ouster

MANILA, Philippines >> The Philippine navy chief ordered a marine colonel restricted to quarters after he called in a video for President Benigno Aquino III’s government to be ousted.

Col. Generoso Mariano, deputy commander of the Naval Reserve Command, will be confined to his quarters at the marine headquarters pending formal investigation, Vice Adm. Alexander Pama said Friday. Mariano is set to retire Sunday when he reaches the retirement age of 56.

Pama said there are no indications of dissatisfaction within navy ranks. However, part of the probe will focus on Mariano’s actions and whether he has supporters.

In the video clip, Mariano criticized the current leadership, saying every Filipino has a duty “to replace the government” if it is unable to address poverty and to save the lives of the majority.

The video dated July 3 shows Mariano reading a statement while seated at a table with a microphone. The clip was sent to journalists and reportedly distributed in military camps.

The 120,000-strong Philippine military, which has been battling Muslim and communist insurgencies for decades, has been wracked by restiveness since late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown in 1986. More than a dozen coup attempts since then have undermined civilian rule.

Aquino, the son of late democracy icon and former President Corazon Aquino, has kept his approval ratings high — between 60 percent and 70 percent. His landslide election victory last year is credited to his clean image, family legacy and a program to uplift the poor through a vigorous anti-corruption drive in the bureaucracy and greater budget allocations for social services.

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