Philippines: CIA doc reveals Aquino’s 1989 request for US airstrikes on rebels
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Philippines: CIA doc reveals Aquino’s 1989 request for US airstrikes on rebels

THE Philippine government under then President Corazon ‘Cory’ Aquino requested military assistance from the US during a coup attempt to oust her in 1989, but Washington refused fearing collateral damage, according to a recently declassified intelligence report.

This revelation came to light following a move by America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) this week to declassify more than 13 million documents, making them accessible online for public viewing.

According to Kicker Daily News, information on the Philippine government dating back decades, including one specific mention of the 1989 coup d’état led by former military colonel-turned senator Gregorio ‘Gringo’ Honasan, was found among the released documents.

The document revealed that Aquino, when faced with rebellion, requested military support from Washington but the US government declined to provide air strikes due to the risks of killing innocent Filipinos.

Several years prior to the coup detailed in the documents, Honasan had helped Aquino oust dictator President Ferdinand E. Marcos during the People Power Revolution and secured her ascension into office in 1986.

The height of the rebellion came on Dec 1, 1989 when Honasan led members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) of the Philippines armed forces who were Marcos loyalists.

SEE ALSO: Philippines: Duterte calls U.S. envoys ‘spies’ over alleged ouster plot

The document also quoted then Defense chief Fidel V. Ramos saying that the US offered military assistance to “crush a mutiny by dissidents seeking to topple the Aquino government.”


The declassified document. Image via Central Intelligence Agency.

In response to Aquino’s request, the US sent warplanes to provide air cover to Philippine security forces launching an offensive against the rebels.

“The Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post reported last weekend that the Aquino government asked for airstrikes but US officials refused because of political risks in killing Filipinos,” the document read, as quoted by Kicker Daily News.

SEE ALSO: With nod to China, Duterte tells US: ‘Bye bye, we don’t need your money’

12 opposition lawmakers, according to the document, had condemned the request for foreign assistance to quash the attempted ouster, describing the request as “a shameless act of surrender of sovereignty to a foreign power.”

While it was no secret that the US had aided in helping Aquino secure the presidency, Mindanation columnist Carlos Munda said the then government’s move to contemplate having a foreign power fire and kill their own countrymen to retain power was “troubling”.

“Such a traitorous act is in stark contrast with President Duterte’s own pronouncements about voluntarily stepping down to avoid bloodshed, in case a coup is launched against him,” he said in a column on Thursday.

“But then again, this really comes as no surprise considering Aquino’s penchant for violently reacting against those who opposed her, including the massacre of 13 unarmed farmers protesting on Mendiola bridge.”