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Filipinos 'Going to Party' at Embassy in Washington

February 25, 1986|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Longtime opponents of the Marcos regime, declaring "We're going to party," celebrated inside the Philippine Embassy today as career diplomats vowed to support President Corazon Aquino.

"This is open house for the Filipino people," said Walden Bello, who said he has lived in exile for more than a decade. "We will celebrate the downfall of a dictatorship."

A handful of opponents of Ferdinand E. Marcos, joyous and full of optimism, arrived at the embassy about 8 a.m. after learning that he was stepping down and Aquino was assuming power.

The demonstrators were confined to a conference room and a foyer of the embassy, a red brick building about 10 blocks from the White House.

The walls in the public area were bare, with picture hooks indicating the spots that once held portraits of Marcos and his wife, Imelda.

The Aquino supporters urged other Filipinos to visit the embassy. "We're going to party," said Tito Visaya.

They also predicted there would be opposition to any request to grant Marcos asylum in the United States. "He's one of the biggest criminals of this century," Bello said.

Most of the career staff remained behind closed doors; the few that emerged seemed calm but somewhat apprehensive. The embassy was closed Monday, when five Philippine diplomats asked Marcos to resign.

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