MANILA, Feb 26 (AFP): The commandant of the Philippines Marines has been relieved of his post as President Gloria Arroyo's government hunted officers allegedly involved in a coup plot, a military spokesman said Sunday.
Major-General Renato Miranda went to see his immediate superior, Navy chief Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga, and asked to be relieved of his command, spokesman Colonel Tristan Kison told reporters.
"He gave personal reasons in asking to be relieved of command of the Philippine Marines," Kison added.
Kison said Miranda had no known links with the plot which the military said it preempted Friday, when three officers including Colonel Ariel Querubin-commander of a Marine brigade-were sacked.
Kison said he was not aware that any members of the Marines were planning to rise up against Arroyo, who assumed emergency powers Friday to quell the supposed plot.
Querubin and Brigadier-General Danilo Lim, commander of an Army Scout Ranger regiment based near Manila, fell under suspicion and were relieved of their command Friday along with police Special Action Force commander Chief Superintendent Marcelino Franco.
Arroyo spokesman Ignacio Bunye said Sunday that Lim and Querubin had gone to see armed forces chief of staff General Generoso Senga Thursday to warn him "that restive young officers and soldiers planned to join rallies" planned by opposition forces on February 24.
The aim was to "provide critical mass and the armed component to the protests."
Both officers were sacked after they told their superior that "they might not be able to dissuade these troops from their plan, and there were indications that the two may also join them," Bunye said in a statement.