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Lugar Faults Reagan Administration for Lukewarm Acceptance of Aquino

May 10, 1986|From a Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), on many issues a defender of Reagan Administration foreign policy, criticized the President on Friday for failing to strongly embrace the Philippine government of President Corazon Aquino.

At a news conference, Lugar also complained that exiled former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos--whom he blamed for "literally a rape of that country in terms of economic resources"--has abused his haven in Hawaii by making hundreds of telephone calls to former allies in Manila "to keep alive the prospect of his return to power."

He said that Marcos and his wife, Imelda, also had "misused what was a courtesy" by summoning television networks to film a recent telephone call made to him by Reagan. "I think this was an embarrassing situation for everybody involved," he added.

Lugar's remarks were timed to coincide with Secretary of State George P. Shultz's departure from Manila. During Shultz's visit there, Aquino told him that her government needs more than the $150 million the Administration has requested from Congress for additional Philippine economic aid. By the visit's end, however, she said she was reconciled to the reality that she will not get more money this year.

Last week, Shultz expressed impatience that Philippine Vice President Salvador Laurel had appealed for more aid in a meeting he had with Reagan in Indonesia.

Lugar asserted that statements by Reagan and other officials have reflected skepticism about the ability of the Aquino government to run the country and "some ambivalence, some lingering thought, as to what our relationship is to President Marcos."

He said the Administration should instead express unequivocal support for Aquino. "I just want to weigh in on the side of saying: 'Let's say that loud and clear; that is the government we support,' " he said.

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