From the president's policy statement of Jan. 30:
A special election for president and vice president will take place in the Philippines on Feb. 7. This election is of great importance to the future of democracy in the Philippines, a major friend and ally of the United States in the Pacific. It comes at a time when the Philippines is struggling with the urgent need to reestablish a political consensus, restructure the economy and rebuild a sense of military professionalism. . . .
The United States left a legacy of democratic institutions in the Philippines earlier in this century. Filipinos believe in elections -- as long as they are fair -- to resolve their political differences. To safeguard the process, the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections, or Namfrel, as it is called, will field hudreds of thousands of citizen election observers on Feb. 7. Such citizen participation makes Americans proud to have the Republic of the Philippines as a friend and ally.
A free and fair election, if also followed by a genuine reform effort in the economic and security areas, will assist the Philippines along a path of growth, prosperity and stability that will benefit the entire region. The Communist Party of the Philippines, through it military arm, the New People's Army, and its front organization, the National Democratic Front, is pursuing a classic military and political strategy intended to lead eventually to a totalitarian takeover of the Philippines. The communist strategy can be defeated. But defeating it will require listening to and respecting the sovereign voice of the people.
I believe this is an important time for America to respond to the problems of a friend and ally at a critical juncture in its history. If the will of the Filipino people is expressed in an election that Filipinos accept as credible -- and if whoever is elected undertakes fundamental economic, political and military reforms -- we should consider, in consultation with the Congress, a significantly larger program of economic and military assistance for the Philippines for the next five years. This would be over and above the current levels of assistance we are providing. From an interview yesterday with The Post:
Q:On the question of the Philippines, officials in your government have called for both sides and the Philippine government to work together now after the election, and you just said (in a speech) a few minutes ago in your response to a question that this validates the two-party system there. How do you want them to work together? Do you want them to form a coalition government and what do you have in mind?
A:I would think that we have the same thing in our own country. We have a strong two-party system here and the people make their decision at the ballot box on which party or members of the party get elected or not. And I would foresee that now that there really is a two- party system (in the Philippines), obviously good with millions of people going to the polls and voting on both sides, that this is the beginning of what could be the answer to their form of government.
Q:Doesn't that mean then that you would accept (President Ferdinand) Marcos winning this or (Corazon) Aquino winning? You're not talking about them joining a coalition government?
A:No, I'm talking about whoever wins (then) the other party doesn't go out of existence, it waits for future elections.
Q:You called for free and fair elections. How does the United States respond to these reports of fraud from our observers, and can Marcos ever again make a claim to legitimacy after this?
A:Well, I'm going to wait until I have a chance to talk to our observers who are over there. I haven't as yet. Whether there is enough evidence that you could really keep on pointing the finger or not, I don't know, but I'm sure that, you know, even in elections in our own country there are some evidences of fraud in places and areas; and I don't know the extent of this over there but also when we have any evidence that it's all been one-sided or that it's been sort of the election tactics that have been followed there? But what we want is once the Filipino people have made their decision and a government has been chosen, then we would like to have the same relationship, historic relationship, we've had with the people of the Philippines and with their government.