YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Aquino Wishes Habib More Success Than in Lebanon : Warns Reagan Not to Let Her Be Cheated

February 12, 1986|From Reuters

MANILA — Opposition leader Corazon Aquino warned President Reagan today not to let her be cheated out of election victory and expressed alarm that U.S. envoy Philip Habib's visit might be interpreted to mean civil war was imminent.

Aquino, 53, said that Habib, Reagan's trouble-shooter, would be welcome in the island nation, and that she hoped his mission would be successful.

"As Filipinos have courteously welcomed a stream of other American visitors here, Mr. Habib will no doubt also be welcome," Aquino said.

Confesses Alarm

"I must confess to some alarm, however, that his last task for the President was trying to negotiate an end to Lebanon's civil war. I hope neither Mr. Reagan or Mr. Marcos are expecting our beloved country to go the same way," she said.

The presidential palace had no immediate reaction to the Habib announcement. The U.S. Embassy also made no further comment but it issued copies of statements by Reagan and the State Department, apparently reflecting Washington's serious concern over the election crisis.

Aquino's warning came a day after Reagan called last Friday's election "flawed" but refused to say what he would do if it was proved that President Ferdinand E. Marcos had rigged the results. (Story on Page 10.)

Philippines church leaders said that 50 bishops will meet Thursday and that there was a "distinct possibility" they would discuss a civil disobedience campaign Aquino has threatened to lead if she is cheated out of victory.

Intimidation Unparalleled

In a statement read to reporters by an aide, Aquino said: "Never has there been such fraud and intimidation because never has an opposition been headed for such a landslide win or faced such a ruthless and desperate incumbent.

"I would wonder at the motives of any friend of democracy who chose to conspire with Mr. Marcos to cheat the Philippine people of their liberation."

Meanwhile, the National Assembly continued to struggle to begin the official vote count, bogged down by a flurry of challenges from both sides as officials spent the day examining documents certifying the authenticity of returns.

Latest unofficial results by the government Commission on Elections (Comelec) put Marcos ahead with 6,743,894 votes to Aquino's 6,147,902. The volunteer National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) had Aquino leading with 7,156,073 against Marcos' 6,487,554.

Appearances Canceled

Aquino spent the day consulting aides after canceling an appearance at a rally in Angeles, north of Manila. She had also been expected to go to the central Philippines' Antique province, where a campaign organizer was gunned down Tuesday by six men, one of them alleged to be an army captain.

But she called off both trips for security reasons, aides said.

In the Assembly, members haggled over points of procedure but agreed to finish scrutinizing the returns by midnight today and start the official count on Thursday.

Outside the building about 3,000 Aquino supporters closely watched by riot police waved anti-government placards, sang patriotic songs and chanted Aquino's nickname, Cory.

Los Angeles Times Articles