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FOE OF AQUINO CHARGED IN COUP ATTEMPT

SHARE FOE OF AQUINO CHARGED IN COUP ATTEMPT

Opposition leader Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile was charged Thursday for his involvement in this month's failed coup attempt after witnesses allegedly saw him meeting with renegade army Col. Gregorio Honasan during the uprising.

Honasan, 41, leader of a bloody failed uprising in 1987, allegedly led the Dec. 1-7 rebellion that left 119 people dead and nearly toppled President Corazon Aquino.Honasan served as Enrile's chief security officer before Aquino fired Enrile as defense minister in November 1986. Nine months earlier, Enrile assisted in the February 1986 popular revolt that forced President Ferdinand Marcos into exile after 20 years in power.

Enrile, 65, a Harvard-educated lawyer, denied the charges, which carry a penalty ranging from six months to 12 years in prison upon conviction.

"I have not committed a crime," he said. "I am willing to face (the charges) frontally."

The investigation that led to the filing of charges named three waiters employed at a hotel that provided catering service to Enrile in his swank Dasmarinas Village home Dec. 1. The waiters testified they saw Enrile conferring with several mutineers, including Honasan.

Enrile is the third civilian to face charges in the insurrection, the sixth against Aquino's nearly 4-year-old government. Rebellion charges also were filed Wednesday against retired generals Felix Brawner, a military consultant in the Senate, and Jaime Echeverria.

Early Thursday, panic-selling swept the country's major stock exchange after a senior general warned of a possible new coup attempt. Government institutions bought stocks to ease selling pressure.

Maj. Gen. Ramon Montano, chief of the Philippine Constabulary, warned that the new attempt could be launched by renegade leaders of this month's coup attempt. Many of the key ringleaders, including Honasan, remain at large.