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Marcos Well Ahead in Canvass, Mrs. Aquino Demands His Resignation

February 14, 1986

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ President Ferdinand E. Marcos was well ahead Thursday in the official vote count by the National Assembly, which his party controls. Corazon Aquino, who claims she won the election, said he must resign to prevent violence.

Mrs. Aquino’s aides reported that another of her campaign workers was killed Thursday, bringing the total since the Feb. 7 presidential election to more than 20.

After seven hours of tabulating tally sheets from the archipelago’s 74 provinces and more than 60 cities, the assembly had Marcos ahead with 6,403,785 votes to 5,584,581 for Mrs. Aquino. That gave Marcos an edge of about 53 percent to Mrs. Aquino’s 46 percent with about 46 percent of the votes tallied.

The assembly’s count determines the outcome under Philippine law.

The National Movement for Free Elections, an independent poll-watchers’ group called Namfrel, had Mrs. Aquino ahead in its unofficial count. It gave her 7,198,661 votes to 6,544,317 for Marcos, based on 64 percent of more than 86,000 precincts reporting.

Mrs. Aquino claims the elections were fraudulent and the National Assembly’s canvass is rigged.

The tally sheet delivered to the National Assembly from the president’s home province of Ilocos Norte said the votes came from 761 precincts. The province has 624 registered precincts.

″Where they got the other precincts, God knows,″ opposition assemblyman Marcelo Fernan said, bringing laughter from both the floor and the galleries.

According to the tally sheet, the vote in Ilocos Norte was 189,897 for Marcos and 718 for Mrs. Aquino.

Marcos, who has governed the Philippines for 20 years, appeared on government television and pledged to ″honor, without reservations, the people’s verdict at the polls.″

The president deplored the violence and said he also had lost supporters, including a town mayor he said was killed by communist rebels ″encouraged by the opposition.″

An official report by the military police said 35 Marcos supporters and 20 people who supported Mrs. Aquino had been killed since the election.

″I ask all our supporters and sympathizers to join me in this effort to bind the wounds and hurt that this electoral contest has produced,″ Marcos said. ″It is important that one side unilaterally take the first step to make conciliation possible, so that other hearts embittered by anger and hate may be softened.″

Mrs. Aquino said the president should resign because ″the failure of the electoral process to move swiftly to a fair conclusion has dangerously heightened tensions.″ An aide read her statement soon after the Marcos broadcast.

She said the resignation would ″defuse some of the swelling political anger″ of Filipinos who feel they have been cheated, and allow the question of who won the election to be settled in a manner acceptable to all. She did not say how that could be done.

Her opponent is ″perceived at home and abroad as having deployed the full resources of the state to snatch victory at any cost,″ she said in the statement.

Mrs. Aquino claims the assembly, in which the president’s New Society Movement holds two-thirds of the seats, and the government elections commission are trying to steal the election.

The commission’s latest vote count had Marcos ahead with 7,412,841 votes to 6,761,925, with 67.2 percent of the precincts counted.

Mrs. Aquino’s spokesman, Rene Saguisag, said the worker killed Thursday was Arsenio Cainglet, who he said was shot down by four hooded men as he stepped from his house in Tarlac, the candidate’s home province.

Cainglet’s son was missing and a news release issued later said the opposition believed a body whose face was mutiliated by bullet wounds could be his.

There was no immediate police confirmation of either death.

Six European diplomats joined Mrs. Aquino and 3,000 other mourners at a service for another slain supporter that became a protest against Marcos.

Former provincial Gov. Evelio Javier was shot dead Tuesday in Antique, his central Philippines province, by six men the Aquino camp says were led by a police captain.

The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops, who number more than 100, began a two- day closed meeting to develop what a church source described as a ″common stance″ on the election.

Lay groups are bringing increasing pressure on the church to abandon its traditional neutrality and endorse civil disobedience campaigns the opposition plans if Marcos is officially proclamined the winner.

Update hourly