As the Philippines began a five-day holiday marking the county's first election since martial law was declared in 1972, the wife of the leading opposition candidate claimed the party's election campaign was being hindered by television programmes and newspaper reports being heavily weighted in favour of President Marcos.
SV and CUs Mrs Benigno Aquino being interviewed (4 shots)
REPORTER: "Why are you participating in these elections which were called by President Marcos?".
AQUINO: "Well, I asked my husband about that and I was telling him, why should we participate in something like this where everything seems so lopsided, everything seems to be in favour of the administration they have all the government forces behind them. Well, my husband said, while this is not the ideal situation we would like, but since at least this is an opening, we will have a chance to inform the people of what has actually happened during the past five years. That is good enough. We are willing to take on all of these odds because we have faith in the Filipino people and we believe that they do not like martial rule and they would like a return tot he democratic processes."
REPORTER: "Well, you're running against a formidable team headed by the first lady, Imelda Marcos, do you have much hope of beating the first lady in the election?".
AQUINO: "Well, let us put it this way, Michael. If elections are clean and honest and the people are given a chance to express their true will, I think all 21 candidates of the Laban team will win. You cannot imagine the resentment we have seen from the people against the administration. They just don't like martial law and this will be the first time that they can express completely their opposition to martial law".
REPORTER: "But you feel that the campaign that you are waging has not been hindered by government forces or the authorities?".
AQUINO: "Of course it is being hindered. We are not allowed equal time as they initially announced, like you have probably watched all television programmes focus on the KBL, all newspapers are definitely for KBL and, we just have the people behind us, we don't have any of the government forces".
Mr. Aquino is 45 -- 15 years younger than President Marcos, and he and the other 20 opposition candidates are all contesting seats in Manila itself. According to Reuters, straw polls conducted by the Presidential Palace are said to have put him ahead of President Marcos. The President, however, says that if Mr. Aquino is elected, he will not be released from jail and he cannot take his seat.
REPORTER: MICHAEL CHRISMAN
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: As the Philippines began a five-day holiday marking the county's first election since martial law was declared in 1972, the wife of the leading opposition candidate claimed the party's election campaign was being hindered by television programmes and newspaper reports being heavily weighted in favour of President Marcos. The man who is leading the opposition People's Power Party, former Senator Beningno Aquino, is in jail. He has been there since just after martial law came into force and he is now under sentence of death for alleged subversion, ordering a murder and illegal possession of arms. He has been allowed out of jail once during the run up to the elections. to appear on national television, but his campaign has been conducted vigorously on his behalf by his wife. Visnews reporter Michael Chrisman talked with Mrs Aquino in the garden of her Manila home.