Ferdinand E. Marcos has devoted the greater part of his 20-year presidency to plundering the economy of the Philippines and corrupting its civic institutions. Now, in an ultimate act of greed and larcency, he is brazenly seeking to hijack the expressed hopes of the Filipino people for a return to democratic rule.
The flagrancy of the electoral cheating attempted by Marcos forces has been staggering. Thousands of voters who supported Marcos' opponent, Mrs. Corazon Aquino, went to the polls only to find that their names had been stricken from the rolls. Other pro-Aquino voters were intimidated and in some cases murdered. Ballot boxes were openly stolen. Computer operators working on the official tally walked off their jobs in dismay after finding that vote totals were rigged in Marcos' favor. All this occurred before the eyes of 600 foreign reporters and scores of American and other international election observors.
According to the independent citizens commission known as NAMFREL, which bases its vote count on carbon copies of precinct returns, Aquino has been winning the election. But the only count that finally will matter is the official one conducted later this week by the National Assembly, two-thirds of whose members are Marcos supporters. There is no doubt what their conclusion will be.