A Philippine military court Wednesday convicted and sentenced 79 soldiers to prison terms ranging up to 32 years for their participation in a 1987 attempt to overthrow President Corazon Aquino.
Twenty others--11 officers and nine enlisted men--were acquitted of mutiny and murder charges in a court hearing that began Tuesday afternoon and lasted until 4 a.m. Wednesday, ending a three-year trial.
The rebellion, the fifth armed attempt to oust Aquino, left at least 53 people dead and about 300 wounded, including Aquino’s only son, Benigno III. Aquino has survived two other coup attempts since.
Of the officers charged, army Capt. Redempto Taisa, formerly of the 62nd Infantry Battalion in central Luzon, and eight enlisted personnel received the stiffest penalties.
They were sentenced to 12 years for mutiny and 20 years for murder and attempted murder for reinforcing rebel troops that attacked the presidential palace Aug. 28, 1987.
Thirty-one other officers and six enlisted personnel were sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment at hard labor. Thirty-three enlisted personnel received 20-year sentences.
Some of those convicted wept, while those who were cleared of charges clapped and shook hands. They later offered Christian songs and prayers.