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Armed woman out ‘to scare’ Aquino

Flora Pineda said she could no longer bear seeing the suffering of so many poor Filipinos so she went to Malacañang on Friday afternoon packing a semiautomatic pistol to force President Benigno Aquino III to step down.

She did not get past the presidential guard.

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At the Arias Gate leading to the New Executive Building (NEB) at the Palace compound, Presidential Security Group (PSG) officers manning the guardhouse stopped her when she tried to go in about

3:45 p.m.

Malacañang Palace. FACEBOOK PHOTO

The officers saw Pineda’s pistol and held her at the guardhouse for questioning.

Pineda, a 36-year-old domestic helper who lived in Signal Village, Taguig City, went into hysterics but calmed down when offered a seat.

End to poverty

She told reporters that she intended no harm to anyone and that she carried a gun only to “scare” President Aquino into stepping down to end poverty in the Philippines.

It was unclear how she carried the pistol, which the PSG did not describe except to say that it was a “caliber 45.”

Police later confirmed that the pistol—an M1911 that Pineda told reporters she took from her brother who was a Marine—was fully loaded.

The PSG took Pineda to Manila Police District (MPD) headquarters on United Nations Avenue for investigation.

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President Aquino or anyone in the Palace was never in danger.

Mr. Aquino does not hold office at the NEB.

The building, located some 50 meters from the guardhouse, houses the offices of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, the Presidential News Desk, the Media Affairs Relations Office and the Press Center.

Mentally unstable

When presented to reporters at MPD headquarters, Pineda lamented the depth of poverty in the Philippines.

She said that once, at SM Mall of Asia, she was eating when a beggar approached her and asked for a bite of her food.

Explaining why she went to Malacañang with a pistol, she said she only wanted to tell President Aquino to resign because so many Filipinos were wallowing in poverty.

She said she wanted to tell Mr. Aquino, “So many are sleeping on the streets but you are sleeping on a soft bed.”

She admitted that she carried a gun but said she intended to harm no one.

Asked if she was mentally unstable, Pineda replied in the positive.

“Yes, but that’s no reason for me not to tell the government what the poor are going through,” she said.

“I am poor, too, and I want all, not only the President, to know that I want change,” she said.

Police took Pineda to Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center Friday night to determine if she really had a psychological disorder.

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TAGS: Arias Gate, Benigno Aquino III, Flora Pineda, Manila Police District, NEB, New Executive Building, Palace compound, President Aquino, presidential security group, PSG officers, Signal Village, Taguig City
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