Manila — Philippines: cancellation of visit could aid Marcos
Anti-American demonstrations planned here for today will be an immediate test of how the postponement of President Reagan's trip to the Philippines will affect the political opposition.
The opposition to the government of Ferdinand Marcos appears to be the immediate beneficiary of the Reagan decision. The opposition, which has organized anti-Marcos demonstrations in the five weeks since the assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino, sees Reagan's move as the start of withdrawal of US support for Mr. Marcos.
Over the longer term, however, the postponement of the Reagan trip could be a disadvantage to the opposition. With the impact of the Aquino murder gradually fading, anti-US sentiment could have provided an alternative focus of protest. Now it could become more difficult to organize protests on a large scale.
In an interview on ABC-TV, Marcos played down the news, citing a personal letter from Reagan: ''Our friendship for you remains as warm and firm as ever, as does our feeling for the Philippines.''