Stalled ‘Simba’ puts Palace guards, Manila police on anticoup mode

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PHOTO BY NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines — With President Aquino out of the capital for the past 12 days, an armored personnel carrier (APC) that lost its brakes and stalled near Malacañang was enough to send rumors flying that a coup d’état was under way.

The military “Simba” got stuck on Pureza Street, Manila, early on Friday, prompting the Presidential Security Group and the Manila police to send out teams to make sure it was not a prelude to a power grab while Mr. Aquino was preoccupied with the Zamboanga City hostage crisis.

Palace spokesperson Abigail Valte later explained it was “not unusual for them to go out and check (such) incidents. It was given a high profile (attention) because an APC was stranded … You can’t blame them. Out of prudence they do go out and check.”

It turned out that the APC was just passing through as part of a convoy carrying soldiers from the Northern Luzon Command in Tarlac province to Sangley Point, Cavite. And the only “threat” it posed was the traffic jam it caused. Michael Lim Ubac

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