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The Election in the Philippines

February 17, 1986

Your editorial (Feb. 11), "Grand Larceny at the Polls," is "right on."

It is now time for the American public as a whole to express clearly its opposition to any policy that condones the actions of Marcos.

As a Protestant missionary in the Philippines for the best years of my life, I have observed the political process there. Leading Protestants have opposed Marcos, but the Roman Catholic Church, particularly its brave nuns, have been outstanding in opposition. Many have tried to express themselves but have been prevented by fixed elections, threats of violence and loss of jobs, and even actual murder.

But our Administration apparently refuses to remove its support, fearing the loss of our military bases. To whom can Marcos turn should we repudiate him? To Libya? But Marcos has throughout his reign been fighting the Muslims originally supported by Libya. To China? But we, too, support China. To Russia? Even the Philippine army would reject that move. In the end, only the people of the Philippines can continue a wholesome relationship with our government, and our present policy of appeasement is fast losing our appeal with the masses.

Yes, "real" politics calls for some relationship even with our "enemies." We send grain to Russia. We supply many of the needs of China. In the case of the Philippines, we underwrite Marcos' power.

Why not try to keep the support of the Filipino people , not repudiate their own effort for democratic transition expressed in the present election?

Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) proposal to distribute economic aid to the Philippines through a private foundation instead of through Marcos is a strong positive suggestion in the right direction. By such a move we would emphasize our ties with the Philippines while at the same time disapproving of its corrupt leadership with its mansions in America built with stolen U.S. money.

EUGENE A. HESSEL

Pasadena

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