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Philippine High Court Refuses to Block Early Presidential Vote

December 19, 1985|Associated Press

MANILA — The Philippine Supreme Court today rejected petitions asking it to block a special presidential election in February, three of its judges said. The vote was 7 to 5.

"We'll have an election," Justice Venicio Escolin said after the court met to consider 10 petitions opposing the election.

Escolin and Justices Hermogenes Concepcion and Vicente Abad Santos confirmed that seven justices voted to dismiss the petitions, while five voted to grant them.

If opponents of the elections had prevailed, the court would have issued an injunction against the election called by President Ferdinand E. Marcos for Feb. 7, more than a year ahead of schedule.

The official decision is to be released this afternoon, the justices said. Each was interviewed at the Supreme Court following the meeting.

The court ended two days of hearings Wednesday on the legality of the special ballot.

Various civic, political and legal groups had filed about a dozen petitions with the Supreme Court, questioning the constitutionality of the election on the ground that Marcos has not vacated the presidency.

The constitution provides that a special election may be held before Marcos' current six-year term expires in 1987 only if the presidency becomes vacant through death, permanent incapacity, impeachment or resignation.

Marcos tendered a resignation last month but told the National Assembly that it would take effect only after the winner of the election--and Marcos expects to be the winner--is sworn in. The petitioners, including some of opposition candidate Corazon Aquino's supporters, insist that he must resign first.

Throngs of supporters chanting "Cory, Cory" clogged the streets Wednesday as Aquino and her vice presidential running mate, Salvador Laurel, arrived at Legazpi, 210 miles southeast of Manila, to campaign in the southern Bicol region. Local reporters estimated the crowds in Legazpi and neighboring Daraga at 100,000.

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