Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Internal Situation in the Philippines

February 22, 1986

President Marcos' Defense Minister, Juan Ponce Enrile, and the acting Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Fidel Ramos, today announced their resignations from President Marcos' government as a result of the fraud in the recent elections. They called on him to step down because his government no longer has a popular mandate. Minister Enrile has said: ``We want the will of the people to be respected. I believe that the mandate of the people does not belong to the regime.'' General Ramos has said: ``It is my duty to see that the sovereign will of the people is respected. I am bothered by my conscience.'' Minister Enrile, one of President Marcos' oldest and closest political associates, further reported his personal knowledge of vote rigging and manipulation on a massive scale.

These statements strongly reinforce our concerns that the recent Presidential elections were marred by fraud, perpetuated overwhelmingly by the ruling party, so extreme as to undermine the credibility and legitimacy of the election and impair the capacity of the Government of the Philippines to cope with a growing insurgency and a troubled economy. Many authoritative voices in the Philippines have been raised in support of nonviolence. We support these voices and expect them to be respected. We also support resolution of the issues involved by all the people of the Philippines as quickly as possible. Ambassador Habib is now returning from the Philippines and will report promptly on his return.