US to Filipinos: don't get violent over vote results
Washington — The Reagan administration yesterday expressed concern about reports of violence and fraud in the Philippine election and called on the opposing sides to live by the election results ``without violence.'' Despite irregularities cited by an election observer team appointed by President Reagan, the administration declined to comment on the outcome of the election or on reports of fraud. Mr. Reagan was scheduled to meet today with the observer team, headed by Sen. Richard Lugar (R) of Indiana, if arrangements with the panel could be worked out.
``The Filipino people will determine if [the election is] legitimate, but we're saying that they should work to form a government based on reforms,'' said White House spokesman Larry Speakes.
The administration appeared to urge opposition candidate Corazon Aquino not to follow through with a threat to stage street demonstrations with her followers if she regards the election as having been stolen from her.
``The main thrust of our statement is not to have violence, not to have demonstrations in the streets -- just because you didn't like the election,'' said a senior administration official, speaking on condition that he not be identified.
``Get on the team and work with the government to form a government, whether it's Marcos or Aquino,'' the official added. He said he did not mean that the US was calling for a coalition government in the Philippines -- ``but to support the other government without violence.''
Asked if, with evidence of electoral fraud in the Philippines, the US administration would cut off aid, the official said:
``It's not our standing policy to cut off aid to people there whom we're trying to have influence with and trying to maintain a relationship with. What do you want to do, cut them off and let them go communist?''
``We've seen the reports of violence and fraud. We're concerned,'' Speakes said.
The largely Marcos-appointed Commission on Elections said that, with 28 percent of the precincts reporting from Friday's election, Mr. Marcos was leading with 3,056,236 votes, or 51 percent, while Mrs. Aquino had 2,903,348 votes, or 49 percent.
The independent National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said that, with 49 percent of the precincts reporting, Mrs. Aquino had 5,566,319 votes, or 54 percent, and Marcos 4,806,166, or 46 percent. Marcos was leading in three other unofficial counts.
Speakes said that both candidates received ``significant popular support from millions of Filipinos. There is obvious enthusiasm for the electoral process on the part of the Filipino citizens.
``The basis exists for a strong, two-party system,'' he said, adding that ``only one element of Filipino society boycotted the election: the communists. . . . It is clear to us that the Filipinos and the communists have a very different agenda for the future of their country.''