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Manila revolt: film at 11

How did the Philippine President take the news of the military rebellion against her? ``She's laughing,'' said President Corazon Aquino's daughter Kris. ``It was almost funny,'' said a top military commander, ``except it was serious.'' One rebel was killed.

In many ways, the aborted rebellion of pro-Marcos soldiers this week had a lighter side. To ferret out the rebels from a television complex they had taken over, the military played Paul Anka tunes, presumably to show the rebels they were missing the good life. The Armed Forces radio station played ``Don't Cry for Me, Argentina,'' the song about the plight of another woman leader, Evita Per'on.

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TV announcers advised people to ``stay home and just watch it all on television.'' Viewers were also offered such fare as ``I Love Lucy'' and ``Batman.''

The rebels' one success was to take over a TV station - but they couldn't figure out how to operate it. Two mayors from the area spent most of the day on TV, analyzing events. Meanwhile, their citizens were in danger of being caught in cross fire. One station spent half an hour showing viewers how it was covering the crisis. Another offered traffic reports on how to drive past the ``problem.''

At one point, TV so dominated the events that Mrs. Aquino's press secretary told reporters: ``I think you can get more from TV.'' When Aquino went on TV, showing a new firmness with the rebels, she wore a dress with padded shoulders, military buttons, and a bow tie. When the last rebels finally surrendered, the Armed Forces chief of staff, Gen. Fidel Ramos, reportedly apologized for not being able to offer the same ``punishment'' (30 push-ups) that he did to troops who took over the Manila Hotel last July. Instead, they are to be court-martialed.

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