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Rivals Sworn In; U.S. Urges Marcos to Quit : Presidential Contenders Inaugurated

February 25, 1986|MARK FINEMAN and NICK B. WILLIAMS Jr. | Times Staff Writers

MANILA — Opposition leader Corazon Aquino was sworn in today as president of a rebel-proclaimed government of the Philippines just hours before her beleaguered rival, President Ferdinand E. Marcos, also had himself inaugurated at a ceremony in Malacanang Palace.

However, a live television broadcast of Marcos' ceremony, from which foreign correspondents had been excluded, was blacked out moments before the swearing-in. The presidential news office later blamed technical difficulties and said that the swearing-in by Chief Justice Ramon Aquino of the Philippine Supreme Court had proceeded as planned.

In contrast, Corazon Aquino's swearing-in, at the banquet hall of a social and recreation club in the wealthy Manila suburb of Greenhills, was watched by a crowd of about 600 supporters, including foreign reporters. An overflow crowd of about 2,000 waited outside, and film of the occasion was later broadcast on a government-owned station that had been captured by rebel troops Monday.

Meanwhile, there were reports of escalating violence, including gun battles between rebel forces and pro-Marcos troops in Makati, the financial district.

Witnesses said crowds around the captured government television station prevented an armored column loyal to Marcos from reaching the station, Channel 4, on Monday, but there were reports today of fighting around another station owned by Marcos supporters, Channel 9.

On Monday, a shaken Marcos vowed that he would not resign or flee the country, even though, he said, he and his family were "cowering in terror" inside his palace. Outside, key government defectors joined reformist rebel forces supporting Aquino, and tens of thousands of civilian demonstrators who came out to shield those forces against possible counterattack remained at the captured television station and a military base.

Curfew Defied

In doing so, they defied a dusk-to-dawn nationwide curfew that Marcos proclaimed earlier.

In an interview with a privately owned television station, Marcos also said that he will, along with his loyal forces, "defend the republic until the last breath of life and until the last drop of blood in our bodies."

But it was clear by Monday that the momentum of events had shifted to the rebel troops led by former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, the former deputy chief of staff. Their break with Marcos on Saturday, apparently the uncoordinated act of two individuals, has snowballed into a full-blown military coup d'etat.

Instead of awaiting an attack by loyalist forces to retake their headquarters at the suburban Manila military base, Camp Crame, the rebels went on the offensive, capturing Channel 4 and mounting an air attack on an air force base near Manila airport.

By day's end, Marcos appeared to be the one besieged.

The capture of Channel 4 seemed especially crucial in the tug of war for control and the appearance of control. Not only did the capture itself leave Marcos cut off in mid-sentence during a broadcast Monday, but it also led to the blackout of his inaugural today.

His press spokesman explained that the blackout was caused by the failure of hastily rigged communications with Channel 9.

Fashionably Attired

Viewers were able to see a wide hallway crowded with Marcos supporters, his wife Imelda wearing a new dress that the pro-Marcos press had publicized as one of three bought in Rome, especially for the occasion. But the screen turned black as the narrator was announcing that "the moment we've been waiting for has arrived. . . ."

Wire service reports said that neither Vice President-elect Arturo Tolentino nor Prime Minister Cesar E.A. Virata were present.

The television station broadcast a John Wayne movie after the blackout.

At the club in Greenhills, Aquino was proclaimed president in a resolution that declared null and void the proclamation of the results of the Feb. 7 elections by the Marcos-controlled National Assembly.

"On the basis of a people's mandate, clearly manifested on Feb. 7, I and Salvador H. Laurel are taking power in the name and by the will of the Filipino people as president and vice president respectively," Aquino told the cheering crowd.

"It is fitting and proper that the rights and liberties of our people, taken away at midnight, are restored here in the light of day," she said.

Claudio Teehankee, an associate justice of the Supreme Court and its only pro-Aquino member, administered the oath.

Names High Officials

As her first executive act, Aquino announced the appointment of her running mate, Laurel, as prime minister of her provisional government. She also named Enrile as defense minister and Ramos as chief of staff of the armed forces.

She called on the public "not to relax."

"This is just the beginning, " Aquino said.

She also appealed to the country's more than 1 million civil servants to stay at their posts and to safeguard their records.

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