I am a lifelong liberal Democrat and, considering the work of the conservatives and Republicans, likely to remain so. But I must send three heartfelt cheers to Sen. John Warner of Virginia for showing just the kind of integrity and courage we keep saying we want in our elected officials.

Three boos to the Virginia Republican officials who chided Sen. Warner for his honest concern in standing up to Oliver North's outrageous and insulting candidacy {"Warner's Criticism of North Galls GOP Faithful," Metro, Jan. 23}.

"Everybody else understands loyalty," says the state chairman of the GOP. It seems to me that Sen. Warner is the only one who understands where his loyalty should lie: with the truth, the rule of law, the value of the Constitution, the public trust in public officials and the citizens of Virginia and the country.

When Republicans decide that these concerns are superior in every way to their childish loyalty to the likes of Oliver North, they will go a long way toward being in fact what they proclaim in publicity: the party of "values." In the meantime, I suggest they throw their loyalty to Sen. Warner, one of the few members of their group able to call a spade a spade.

SUSAN N. WIENER Gaithersburg

I am compelled to write to express my dismay at the comments of Sen. John Warner on the candidacy of Oliver North for the U.S. Senate. The Post has reported that Sen. Warner has branded Mr. North as unworthy to hold elective office because of Mr. North's criminal prosecution. This is a shocking statement, especially coming from a U.S. senator.

I take no particular exception to the senator for refusing to support Mr. North. This is clearly his right. I consider myself a loyal Republican. Like Sen. Warner, I have not chosen to support Lt. Col. North for the Republican nomination; however, unlike our senior senator, I am unwilling to scrap our Constitution in the process.

There is little doubt that Oliver North's Iran-contra involvement will be an issue in this election, but to treat Mr. North as a convicted felon displays a sad misunderstanding of one of the principles upon which this nation is founded. Sen. Warner has engaged in guilt by accusation. He suggests that we should overlook Mr. North's success in the courts and disqualify him from consideration for the Senate merely because he was charged. Apparently for Sen. Warner, the presumption of innocence no longer applies.

The senator compounds his ignorance by dismissing the reversal of Mr. North's conviction on appeal as a "technicality." One would hope that a member of the U.S. Senate would understand that there is no such thing. Oliver North's conviction was overturned, like any other appellate reversal, because it was not legally valid as determined by our Constitution and federal statutes.

It is sad that a senator, whose job it is to enact those statutes and protect the Constitution, does not understand this. A conviction overturned on appeal is not a conviction at all. This is why we have courts of appeal, whether Sen. Warner recognizes their jurisdiction or not.

ALAN E. DUBOW Alexandria