A military court Wednesday convicted 81 army officers and men of mutiny and multiple murder in connection with the August 1987 coup attempt and sentenced them to terms of 12 to 20 years at hard labor.
The general court-martial, which deliberated for 13 hours, acquitted 20 officers and enlisted men of the same charges.The court also ordered those convicted be dismissed from the service and all pay and allowances forfeited. The verdict will be sent to armed forces chief Gen. Renato de Villa for final review and implementation, the court said.
Court martial head Brig. Gen. Raul Imperial said the convicted officers and men were involved in attacks on President Corazon Aquino's palace and the suburban armed forces headquarters Aug. 28, 1987.
Dismissed Army Col. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, who led the rebellion, is still at large and cannot be tried in absentia under Philippine law. Honasan also was a key leader in the December 1989 coup attempt that nearly toppled Aquino.
Imperial said 17 civilians were killed during the dawn attack on the presidential palace that was beaten back by loyalist forces. Two soldiers died during the siege of the armed forces camp and the headquarters building was razed during a fierce counterattack by government planes.
The court convicted 47 officers and men of mutiny and of conduct unbecoming an officer and sentenced them to 12 years at hard labor.
It found a captain and 42 enlisted personnel guilty of multiple murder and sentenced them to 20 years at hard labor.
The acquitted soldiers burst into applause in the packed courtroom when the verdict was announced.