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Aquino Can Join Advisory Council, Marcos Suggests : Marcos Offers Aquino a Job as Advisor

February 11, 1986|From Times Wire Services

MANILA — President Ferdinand E. Marcos today said he will create an advisory council that his election rival, Corazon Aquino, can join to heal the wounds of a bruising campaign.

But Aquino continued to claim victory in last Friday's presidential election, appealing at a press conference to "friends abroad" to rally behind her.

The National Assembly, meanwhile, started opening sealed vote tally sheets to begin the official count that will determine who won the balloting, but a walkout by opposition members stopped the canvass before a single vote was counted.

The session is scheduled to resume Wednesday.

At a hurriedly called press conference, Marcos did not mention Aquino by name but said that he wants to create an advisory Council of State and that she could join it.

'Highest Advisory Body'

He said the council would be "the highest advisory body of the country" and would include all political groups, former ministers and presidential candidates.

And, stopping short of a claim of victory, Marcos promised not to retaliate against his opponents. "It is not my intention to retaliate against anybody who has campaigned against me or who has hurt my reputation or my honor," said Marcos, evidently confident of winning.

Aquino said in her statement, "In this time of need we will learn who our real friends are." She refused to answer reporters' questions.

The Reagan Administration has signaled that it wants a strong Philippine government with the two sides working together, and it has urged Marcos and Aquino to cooperate after the election result is declared.

In her statement, Aquino made no mention of past vows to lead street protests if she is cheated of victory. Nor did she refer to her previous appeal to President Reagan to press Marcos to concede.

Vote Figures Differ

Aquino appeared before reporters as unofficial, quick-count results from the government's Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed her trailing Marcos by 500,000 votes. Figures issued earlier by the independent National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said she was leading by 800,000 votes.

Marcos and Aquino supporters argued and jeered as the National Assembly debated a second day how to count the votes in an election marked by opposition charges of fraud.

Security men carrying 13 green ballot boxes entered the hall with a box for each of the nation's regions. But as the boxes were lined up, all but four of the Assembly's opposition members left to meet with Aquino.

Marcos' New Society Movement party controls two-thirds of the 190-seat Assembly, but some party members were not present and the 96-member quorum was not met.

As the first envelope was removed from the box for Marcos' home region north of Manila, opposition assemblymen immediately objected that it lacked a required seal.

Similar objections were raised about other envelopes in the box.

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