MANILA — President Ferdinand E. Marcos ordered a cut in fuel prices today, one of several steps with broad public appeal he has taken in the election campaign.
Meanwhile, the government television station devoted 15 minutes of its evening newscast to defending the Marcos' claims that he led a guerrilla unit against the Japanese during World War II and received more than two dozen medals for heroism.
The defense came in response to U.S. Army reports made public Thursday that called Marcos' claims "fraudulent" and said his Maharlika unit never existed as a fighting force. (Story, Page 4.)
Marcos, 68, made no campaign appearances today, but the presidential palace announced that he had ordered cuts averaging 11% in the prices of gasoline and such other petroleum products as kerosene and cooking gas.
It was the latest of several actions apparently aimed at winning votes. In campaign speeches, he has ordered salary increases for teachers and other government employees; released millions of dollars for roads, markets and ports; reduced rents in government housing projects, and distributed land titles to peasants and slum dwellers.
His election opponent, Corazon Aquino, used the reports about the president's war service, at a rally of more than 5,000 students at the state-run University of the Philippines, to support her claim that he is an "inveterate liar."
"He told us he was a war hero," she said, "but now it turns out he is not."
Marcos regularly regales campaign audiences with tales of his wartime exploits and five wounds he says he suffered. He bristled at the reports questioning his record and said Thursday that only "crazy individuals" would raise such doubts.
He changed his tone today, calling the challenges complimentary and an inspiration to write a book about his deeds.
"I consider it a compliment that they--the opposition and the Western press--find all my exploits, which I consider an ordinary part of my war experience, as unusual, extraordinary and, therefore, unbelievable," the government television quoted Marcos as saying, without specifying where or to whom he made the comment.
"I have just been convinced by the opposition that I really have another mission, and that is to write the history of the guerrilla movement in the Philippines," it quoted him as saying.