In naming her Cabinet last week, President Corazon Aquino has turned to the well-to-do, often American-educated, Filipinos who have surrounded her and her assassinated husband, Benigno Aquino Jr., most closely during their long struggle to oust Ferdinand Marcos.
Although the street demonstrations that pushed her into power showed that she commands a broad constituency of Filipinos from varied classes and backgrounds, Aquino and the members of her Cabinet belong to the same ruling class of well-to-do entrepreneurs and professionals who ran the country under Marcos and before.
Aquino, who identified herself as a "housewife" in filing her candidacy last year, named 13 lawyers among her 18 top appointees, including at least five who attended Harvard or Yale. In her first presidential press conference, she defended herself against suggestions that she had named an "elitist" government, asking for patience and saying, "I know I owe my election to the people."
Indeed, Aquino's Cabinet includes many former officials who grew disenchanted with the Marcos' administration and joined the opposition. Although they and many other Filipinos describe the events of the past 10 days as a "revolution," the solutions envisioned by Aquino's government to the nation's problems seem conservative, especially in the eyes of the Philippine left and the country's Moslem minority, who say their constituencies are excluded from power.
Leftists criticize the government for not including representatives of farmers, laborers and other groups they say have been the most severely oppressed during 20 years of Marcos' rule. The Communist-aligned National Democratic Front called the government "bourgeois" and urged "the people to continue mass actions and surge on to establish a genuine people's democratic government."
Omar Dianalan, a Moslem leader who defected from Marcos' ruling New Society Movement to the opposition shortly before the Feb. 7 election, said the Moslem community deserved two of the 18 Cabinet posts, emphasizing that Moslems had voted for Aquino, believing that they would get "a fair deal and a better place in the sun" under her government.
Aquino's economic managers, including former executives of prominent Philippine corporations, have said that they will aim to encourage the private sector and streamline the economy by eliminating monopolies and other mechanisms installed by Marcos for benefit of his close associates. Local business leaders already have spoken of increased confidence in the new government.
None of Aquino's appointees, not even Foreign Minister Salvador Laurel, has any direct experience in diplomacy. Although she plans to seek reconciliation with Philippine Communists, Aquino describes herself as an anticommunist, something that is thought likely to be reflected in her foreign policy line.
Western observers here suggest that the Philippines will remain strongly pro-West under Aquino but with more of a nationalist emphasis than under Marcos.
In her relationship with the United States, Aquino has pledged to respect the current agreement on two large U.S. bases, but said she wants to keep her "options open" when the agreement expires in 1991.
Among Aquino's top appointees are:
Prime Minister-designate and Foreign Minister Laurel, a Yale-educated lawyer and former senator in the New Society Movement of ex-president Marcos. Laurel quit to form the Unido opposition front after his longtime friend, Benigno Aquino Jr., was slain in August 1983. In December, he gave up his own presidential bid to become Corazon Aquino's running mate in what was a crucial unification of the opposition.
Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, a prominent, Harvard-trained corporate lawyer. Enrile joined Marcos' government in 1966 and became a confidant, serving in several senior positions, including that of martial-law administrator. Even after having led the military mutiny with Gen. Fidel Ramos that finally toppled Marcos, Enrile has not definitively cut his ties to the party and is seen as a possible candidate for its future leadership.
Finance Minister Jaime Ongpin, president of Benguet Mining Corp. and brother of Marcos' trade and industry minister, Roberto Ongpin. He grew critical of the web of Marcos' close associates and was one of a group of leaders who first proposed Aquino as a presidential candidate. He has favored renegotiation of the country's debt, continued import controls and new incentives to private investors.
Trade and Industry Minister Jose Concepcion Jr., a businessman whose family owns a major Philippine food-processing corporation. Concepcion was one of few delegates to Marcos' 1973 constitutional convention who refused to sign the document. Later imprisoned by Marcos, he became prominent as leader of the citizens' pollwatching group, known as Namfrel, that monitored the Feb. 7 election.
Natural Resources Minister Ernesto Maceda, a top Marcos aide in the 1960s and 1970s who once served as commerce minister. He broke away when Marcos imposed martial law in 1972, eventually becoming Benigno Aquino's lawyer.
Education Minister Lourdes Quisumbing, the only woman in the new Cabinet. She is president of an elite Catholic girls' school near Manila. She has no previous experience in government.
Local Governments Minister Aquilino Pimentel, a law professor, member of the National Assembly and longtime opposition leader from the southern island of Mindanao. He was repeatedly jailed by Marcos, and, like Laurel, he put aside his own presidential ambitions to help unify the opposition around Aquino.
Public Works Minister Rogaciano Mercado, a lawyer and former Army officer who spent years as an opposition leader in Bulacan Province, north of Manila. Mercado, an assembly member, leads one of the seven component parties of the Unido opposition front.
Information Minister Teodoro Locsin Jr., a Harvard-trained lawyer and writer with family ties to Benigno Aquino. He has been on Corazon Aquino's staff since the beginning of the election campaign.