Marcos Loyalists Rally In Manila Suburb
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ About 2,500 followers of deposed President Ferdinand Marcos demonstrated peacefully Sunday in a Manila suburb, the first authorized loyalist rally since a fizzled July revolt against President Corazon Aquino.
Meanwhile, an estimated 3,000 Filipinos - most of them bar hostesses - marched from Angeles City to Clark Air Base demanding the retention of U.S. military facilities in the Philippines. The marchers shouted ″No bases, no dollars″ as they walked to the U.S. base, about 50 miles north of Manila.
A government panel last month recommended that foreign military bases be banned from the Philippines after 1991, when the treaty allowing the United States to operate Subic Naval Base and Clark expires.
At a park in suburban Quezon City, about 200 policemen and soldiers stood guard across the street from the three-hour loyalist rally.
Philippine Constabulary Deputy Commander Col. Emiliano Templo said Quezon City Mayor Brigido Simon issued the loyalists a permit after he was assured the demonstrators would not provoke trouble.
Rally leaders said authorities refused requests to allow a demonstration at downtown Manila’s Rizal Park, where they organized regular Sunday rallies before Mrs. Aquino’s ban last July on the gatherings.
Rizal Park is adjacent to Manila Hotel, which loyalists and rebel soldiers seized during the July 6-8 rebellion. The revolt ended with the loyalists and soldiers surrendering and no bloodshed.
″The government does not want to give us a permit to go to the park (in Manila). They are scared because we might visit Manila Hotel again,″ Marcos lawyer Rafael Recto told the crowd Sunday.
Recto was among 26 loyalist leaders charged with rebellion after the July incident. The Aquino government dropped the charges last week after the leaders pledged not to try to overthrow the government.
The loyalists shouted Marcos’ name and waved banners which said in Tagalog ″Return of the Hawk,″ a name the loyalists have called Marcos since his ouster in a civilian-backed military revolt in February. Marcos is in exile in Hawaii.
The marchers to Clark Air Base carried placards saying ″Let U.S. bases stay - freedom is sweeter under U.S. imperialism″ and ″Retain U.S. bases to prevent takeover of communism,″ referring to communist rebels fighting the government.
They were led by Mayor Francisco Nepomuceno of Angeles City and were escorted by motorcycle-riding policemen. Angeles City is about two miles from the base.
About 2,000 women working in night clubs and bars around the base took part in the march.
Last month, a committee of the Aquino government’s Constitutional Commission approved a proposal to ban foreign military bases.
The commission, which is writing a new constitution, is expected to discuss the proposal later this month and decide whether to include it in the new charter.
Nationalist groups say the bases violate Philippine sovereignty.