President Ferdinand Marcos predicted "10 years of instability" in the Philippines today if the opposition wins the February presidential election. He accused his opponents of having "bedded down" with Communist insurgents and expressed suspicion that the CIA was getting involved in the election behind the scenes.
Marcos made the statements as he opened his campaign for reelection with a foray into opposition territory, the home province of vice presidential candidate Salvador Laurel. The opposition candidate for president, Corazon Aquino, had accompanied Laurel to Batangas province for the launching of their campaign Thursday.
Marcos and his entourage were greeted by small crowds and an obvious lack of enthusiasm during appearances at an Air Force base near here and the Lipa city hall. About 1,500 persons showed up at the city hall to hear an hour-long speech by the president.
After presiding at a graduation ceremony for cadets at the Fernando Air Force Base, Marcos accused his opponents of having "bedded down with the Communist insurgents" and other leftists out of a "lust for power."
Marcos also said that since the beginning of this year, "10,000 innocent civilians" have been killed by "Communist terrorists" of the New People's Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines that is waging a nationwide insurgency.
"These terrorists have done nothing in most cases but to attack civilian targets," he said. The figure of 10,000, which he first used in a speech at a convention of his ruling party Wednesday, was double the military's estimate of the total number of rebels, government troops and civilians killed so far this year.
On Oct. 25, the acting armed forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos, said an average of four civilians a day were being killed in insurgency-related incidents, which would add up to 1,460 civilians killed in a year.
Asked to explain the discrepancy, Marcos said at a news conference that Ramos' estimates "probably pertain only to figures from the military," while his figures come from both the military and the civilian government.
Marcos also said at the news conference that "if the ruling party does not consolidate power" in the presidential election set for Feb. 7, "we are due for 10 years of instability, where we may be worse off than in the present time of bloodshed." He added that "the election should be decided on the issue of whether we want a period of stability or instability in the next 10 years."
Marcos repeatedly stressed what he said was his nationalism, indirectly accusing the United States and his domestic political opponents of collusion directed against his government. Specifically, he attacked a citizens' group of poll-watchers, called Namfrel, that played a key role in legislative elections in 1984. The United States has been urging that Namfrel be accredited for the February election in hopes that it will help ensure honest voting.
"Namfrel was organized by the CIA and funded by the CIA" in the 1950s, when a predecessor organization by that name was formed, Marcos said.
He said in reply to a question that he had no evidence the CIA was currently funding Namfrel, but he added that Namfrel's members were "too close to people whose identities are suspect." He did not elaborate.
Asked how he felt about running against a woman, Marcos replied, "embarrassed, perhaps, especially since she is challenging me. I am not often challenged by women."
Corazon Aquino is the widow of Marcos' political arch rival, Benigno Aquino Jr., who was assassinated in August 1983. Corazon Aquino has said she holds Marcos responsible for her husband's death.