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The Election in the Philippines

February 23, 1986

I agree in your editorial (Feb. 11), "Grand Larceny at the Polls," that Marcos would do everything to stay in power and frustrate the will of the Filipinos by systematically cheating on the election. But I don't think that Marcos is solely to be blamed for this larceny at the polls. Equally responsible is the United States for supporting Marcos for the last 20 years while he was consolidating his power.

Only lately has the United States tried to distance itself from the Marcos regime, for the United States sees Marcos as a source of instability. The United States feels that Marcos can no longer protect the U.S. military bases in the Philippines because of his unpopularity that was triggered by the assassination of Benigno Aquino Jr. in 1983. For this reason, the United States tried very hard to pressure Marcos to make reforms in his government. Naturally, the dictator will not concede and shows no signs of loosening his grip on the Philippine government.

With no sign of giving up and Marcos' determination to stay in power, the United States stands in a very difficult position. How can the United States justify aid to Marcos with no popular support?

JIMMY E. BALTAZAR

Los Angeles

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