Ver, Other Generals To Retire, Marcos Says
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ President Ferdinand E. Marcos said today that armed forces chief Gen. Fabian C. Ver may retire before a scheduled Feb. 7 presidential election, a presidential palace news release said.
It also quoted Marcos as saying that safeguards have been taken to ensure clean and fair elections, and that in addition to the Commission on Elections, there were civic groups which could help monitor the voting.
The announcement said Ver wants to ″finish his mission before he goes.″ It did not say what the mission was and added that Ver, the nation’s only four-star general, ″may go before the elections.″
Marcos put Ver in charge of military reorganization after Ver was acquitted last week in the 1983 assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino.
U.S. officials criticized Ver’s reinstatement as armed forces chief, saying it would hamper military reform in the 200,000-strong Philippines armed forces.
Today’s release quoted Marcos as saying in an interview with the Japanese television network NHK that Ver; the major service commanders of the armed forces, and 29 other generals indicated willingness to retire if their replacements are found and their duties are concluded.
These others include Ver’s deputy, Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos; air force commander Maj. Gen. Vicente Piccio; army chief Maj. Gen. Josephus Ramas, and navy chief Adm. Simeon Alejandro, the release said.
There now are 99 generals and flag officers in the armed forces. A military reform movement has called for senior officials to give way to junior officers.
On Friday, Marcos told Adm. Donald Hays, commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, that Ver’s future would be decided ″after about a week.″
Marcos said Ver is important to the military because of his knowledge of defense strategies and the state of a local communist insurgency.
Marcos, who has been president since 1965, called a special presidential election over a year ahead of schedule to show he still enjoys popular support.
The palace release said that Marcos, asked about a running mate, replied that there are seven candidates and as of now, the choice is still open.
Assemblyman Arturo Tolentino, fired by Marcos as foreign minister earlier this year for often disagreeing with the president, is regarded as a strong candidate to be on the ticket with Marcos.