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Early Returns Giving Aquino Senate Majority

May 11, 1987|Associated Press

MANILA — Early, unofficial returns showed President Corazon Aquino's centrist coalition headed for a majority in the Philippine Senate in voting today for a new U.S.-style Congress.

It was the first election of her Administration.

Polls closed at 4 p.m. after nine hours of voting by an estimated 90% turnout of the 26 million eligible Filipino voters. Eighty-four candidates ran for the 24-seat Senate and 1,899 for the 200-seat House of Representatives.

Maj. Gen. Renato de Villa, national police commander, said balloting was relatively peaceful, despite at least 15 election-related killings and 113 cases of vote-stealing over the last 24 hours.

Official returns are not expected for at least a week.

Substantial Laban Showing

The private National Movement for Free Elections, conducting its own unofficial count, said scattered returns from 38 of the country's 104,544 precincts showed 19 Senate candidates from Aquino's Laban, or People Power, ticket among the top 24 vote-getters.

The others were from the center-right Grand Alliance for Democracy of former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile.

Senate members were to be selected from the top 24 vote-getters nationwide. House members were to be chosen by districts.

Aquino came to power in a military-civilian revolt that ended President Ferdinand E. Marcos' nearly 20 years of authoritarian government in February, 1986.

Governs by Decree

Today's election establishes a legislature in the Philippines for the first time since March, 1986, when Aquino abolished the single-chamber assembly dominated by Marcos followers. Since then, she has governed by decree.

The new Congress will share in decisions on such crucial issues as the parallel communist and Muslim insurgencies racking this nation, land reform and the future of U.S. bases after their lease expires in 1991. Legislators will serve until Aquino's term expires June 30, 1992.

No House race figures were available. Local Governments Minister Jaime Ferrer predicted the opposition could take up to 70 House seats if local loyalties overshadowed Aquino's national appeal, called "Cory Magic."

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