Aquino Supporters Urge Tough Action against Marcos Loyalists
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Supporters of President Corazon Aquino on Sunday urged strong government action against followers of Ferdinand E. Marcos and warned the military that Filipinos stand firmly behind her.
Communist rebel negotiator Satur Ocampo meanwhile said in an interview published Sunday that he will meet Agriculture Minister Ramon Mitra ″perhaps within a week″ to lay the groundwork for cease-fire talks to end the 17-year insurgency.
About 20,000 workers, students and professionals massed at a rally in Manila’s downtown Rizal park to show support for Mrs. Aquino. Rain squalls drenched the crowd but few left.
About 500 policemen stood guard to prevent any confrontation between Aquino supporters and those of deposed President Marcos. Marcos loyalists killed a man in the same park the previous Sunday.
Only about 200 Marcos loyalists showed up and police shooed them away before the two sides got near each other.
Speakers attacked both Marcos loyalists and Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, who was Marcos’ defense chief for 15 years until he helped lead a popular military revolt that toppled Marcos in February. Mrs. Aquino kept Enrile in her Cabinet.
Manila newspapers often speculate about purported plans for an Enrile-led coup against Mrs. Aquino. Both Mrs. Aquino and Enrile deny any tension.
″Will you allow Enrile to dominate the government?″ attorney Ric Valmonte asked the rally. The crowd roared back ″No 3/8″
Renato Pagsaligan, leader of an association of slum dwellers, criticized Enrile for ″always threatening to stage a coup.″
Lorna Yap, whose husband, Air Force Col. Adelberto Yap, is Mrs. Aquino’s military aide, said Filipinos know that ″stooges of Marcos″ are still in the government.
The park bristled with placards against military takeover of government.
Rebel leader Ocampo, in an interview with the English-language newspaper Manila Bulletin, was quoted as saying it will probably take another month before both sides discuss substantive issues in cease-fire talks.
Ocampo will be joined in the talks by another rebel leader, Antonio Zumel, who like Ocampo is a former newspaperman. Mrs. Aquino appointed Mitra and Human Rights Commission Chairman Jose W. Diokno as government negotiators.
Ocampo was quoted as saying there was strong resistance to peace talks from field commanders of the New People’s Army, the banned Communist Party’s military arm, ″but we convinced them that this was a positive step.″
Troops killed four communist rebels in a 30-minute gunbattle in the southeastern Philippines over the weekend, the military said Sunday.
A military report said a patrol had chanced upon a band of guerrillas in Balbay town in Leyte province, 380 miles southeast of Manila.
Government television reported Sunday that a separate peace meeting is being planned between Mrs. Aquino and rebel priest Conrado Balweg, possibly in the northern mountain city of Baguio.
Balweg, a Roman Catholic priest who defected to communist guerrillas in 1979 but later broke with them, is leading a separate group of insurgents fighting for autonomy for tribespeople living in the Cordillera mountains, north of Manila.