Sen. Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.) met privately with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos today to convey U.S. fears about the growing Communist insurgency, and there were indications that Marcos maintained his position that the armed forces can contain the guerrillas.
Laxalt, a close friend of President Reagan, was sent as a special emissary and was reported to be carrying a blunt message of warning about the future of Marcos' government and the security of two key U.S. military bases here. Philippine and U.S. Embassy officials gave no information about what went on in the 90-minute meeting.
The presidential palace news office, which normally issues numerous daily press releases on Marcos' activities, said it was not going to issue one on his meeting with Laxalt and barred news photographers from the meeting.
Adrian Cristobal, a spokesman who functions separately from the palace press office, said Marcos told Laxalt that the Philippine government cannot be overthrown by the Communist rebels, The Associated Press reported. In a telephone interview, Cristobal told the news agency that Marcos "told Laxalt to consider the record . . . . We were not overrun by two previous insurgencies, and we will not be overrun by this one."
The Philippines defeated a communist-dominated Huk rebellion in the 1950s and a Moslem separatist rebellion in the southern Philippines in the 1970s.
Cristobal said Laxalt gave Marcos a letter from Reagan asking that Marcos have a "frank, candid, intimate dialogue" with the senator.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman said the meeting was private and declined to comment further. Informed sources said the meeting took place without any of Marcos' aides present, in an effort to play down the occasion.
Government newscasts did not mention the Laxalt visit, and only three of Manila's six major newspapers reported that he was in town. One daily, published by the wife of a close Marcos aide, reported his arrival under the headline, "Another Meddler From U.S. Arrives."