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Aquino Urges Voters Not To Support Violent Or Corrupt Candidates With AM-Marcos Loyalists, Bjt

January 12, 1988

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ President Corazon Aquino told voters on four campaign stops Tuesday to shun candidates in next week’s regional elections who offer bribes or take part in campaign violence that has killed scores of people.

″It saddens me to hear that other candidates are using arms in this campaign,″ Mrs. Aquino told crowds of 4,000 at each of two rallies in Pangasinan province, 120 miles north of the capital.

She urged people to ″unite and help each other″ so Monday’s elections will be orderly and peaceful.

The victors in in the balloting for provincial governors, town mayors and local councils ″must be humble, offer to the loser the hand of reconcilaition and ask for their support,″ she said.

Later, she told 5,000 people in Manila’s Caloocan suburb not to vote for corrupt or violent candidates. Mrs. Aquino’s last stop of the day was in suburban Malabon.

Election violence has claimed the lives of 62 people, including 30 candidates, since campaigning began Dec. 1. Fear of massive violence has forced postponement of voting in 10 of the nation’s 73 provinces and three cities on Mindanao island.

No one has been charged in connection with the campaign killings, most of which the military blames on communist rebels. Last week, Defense Secretary Rafael Ileto claimed about 10 percent of the 140,000 candidates in the elections were backed by the communists.

Meanwhile, Col. Cesar Nazareno told reporters Monday that about 130 candidates in central Luzon entered an ″unholy alliance″ with communist rebels, paying up to $1,250 for ″safe conduct passes.″

Those elected will then support rebel calls for closing U.S. bases and disbanding civilian anti-communist vigilante groups, said Nazareno, the regional Philippine Constabulary commander.

The general command of the New People’s Army on Saturday denied it was meddling in the election and claimed the military was blaming the guerrillas for its failure to maintain law and order.

Visiting Sen. John Melcher, D-Mont., told reporters that future American aid to the Philippines is undeniably linked to the continued presence of U.S. military bases. He also said U.S. investment in the Philippines will depend on this year’s review of the joint military bases agreement.

″There is no way we can isolate the bases from trade expansion here,″ Melcher said. ″The idea that economic stimulus is needed for the Philippines is absolutely true. For our part, it generally gets tied in our Congress with what we’re doing on the bases.″

He spoke at a joint news conference with four other U.S. senators who who ended a five-day visit Tuesday and left for Australia.

The Unied States operates Clark Air Base, Subic Bay Naval Base and four smaller facilities under an executive agreement that expires in 1991. The new Philippine constitution requires any renewal of the agreement be a formal treaty ratified by both nation’s senates.

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