MANILA — Corazon Aquino will be the opposition candidate for president and former Sen. Salvador Laurel her vice presidential running mate in elections expected in February, informed political sources said Friday.
But they said President Ferdinand E. Marcos has "at least two cards up his sleeve" that could prevent the widow of assassinated opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino Jr. from winning or even being a candidate.
Laurel aides would not or could not confirm his decision to take the No. 2 spot on the ticket. They said he had gone to his home province in Batangas and would return for a joint press conference Sunday at which he and "Cory" Aquino were expected formally to announce they would be on a joint ticket.
"From what people say, I think it is clear Cory will be at the head of the ticket," other well-placed sources said.
However, they said Marcos would be able to "stop her campaign in its tracks on technical constitutional terms."
10 Years' Residence
The sources, who declined to be identified, referred to a section of the constitution adopted in 1973 while Marcos ruled under martial law which states that a candidate for president must have been a resident of the Philippines "for at least 10 years immediately prior to the election."
The Aquinos went to the United States in 1980 when the former senator was released from military detention to undergo heart surgery. He did not return until Aug. 21, 1983, when he was shot dead at Manila airport. His wife returned a few days later.
A court on Monday cleared 25 soldiers and a civilian of involvement in his murder. Most prominent among them was Gen. Fabian C. Ver, who was immediately reinstated by Marcos as armed forces chief of staff.
The sources said the whole election also could be voided by the Supreme Court, which has scheduled hearings on petitions challenging the constitutionality of the bill providing for the special election scheduled for Feb. 7.
The petitions note that the constitution allows a special election only if the president dies, is incapacitated, impeached or resigns. They contend that unless Marcos steps down before the voting, the election would be invalid.
Marcos has offered his resignation, to take effect only after the election winner is announced.
Marcos, 68, has been in power for 20 years, more than eight of them under martial law. His present six-year term officially expires in June, 1987.