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The Election in the Philippines

February 23, 1986

American foreign policy flirts with disaster when it supports autocrats and dictators.

Current "election results" indicate that Marcos joins Batista in Cuba, Diem in Vietnam, Pahlavi in Iran and Somoza in Nicaragua, among others, as a member of an elite group of American-supported totalitarians who have represented the antithesis of democracy.

If the Reagan Administration supports Marcos' pseudo-victory in the Philippines, our country will face an inevitable and well-deserved backlash. A mockery of the democratic process is a transgression of the American ideal and the geopolitical importance of the Philippines, alone, does not condone any support for an election reeking in corruption.

Defending Marcos under these circumstances would be shortsighted, self-serving stupidity. He is obviously rejected by at least 50% of Filipinos whose votes could not be bought or controlled by terrorism, and there is ample evidence that 50% is a big underestimate.

If we want to preserve our ally in the Philippines and retain Clark Air Force Base and Subic Bay Naval Base, we cannot sanction "political bossism" or coerced elections.

The time is overdue for Marcos to "step down," not for the United States, but the people of the Philippines. With their hearts and minds lies the future of Philippine-American relations.

STEVEN C. HOLT

Thousand Oaks

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