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Woman's role in Aquino coup bid questioned

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A sad and mysterious sidelight to last month's coup attempt in the Philippines is the death of a young woman outside the presidential palace. Aquino officials are investigating the possibility that Charlotte Marie Datiles was an agent of the rebel soldiers out to kill the President. Her family says she was an expert marksman, and a member of the armed forces' intelligence service.

In the early hours of Aug. 28, she was riding in a car with two other agents when she was killed in the fire-fight between loyal government troops and the rebel soldiers attempting the coup.

Some newspapers speculate that she was the girlfriend of the President's son, Noynoy, who was injured in the fighting.

Last Tuesday, the president reportedly called her son into her office to discuss the matter. She also called up a local newspaper columnist to stop him from printing a story about Noynoy and the girl, says an Aquino aide.

The story has already hit the Manila rumor mill. More worrisome to Aquino officials, however, is that, if true, the Datiles case indicates that anti-Aquino agents may be able to infiltrate the President's tight security.

Officials plan to screen the soldiers in the Presidential Security Group. Meanwhile, the investigation of Datiles' death continues.

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