In the Philippines, President Marcos has backed a decision by the Supreme Court which many observers see as a rebuff to the system of marital law which he introduced to his country five years ago.
SV: President Marcos seated at table facing Visnews reporter Michael Chrisman.
SV: President Marcos being interviewed in English.
MARCOS:"The thing is the Supreme Court is exercising its authority, and also I thank it is also a demonstration of the independence of the Supreme Court. But there are petitions pending before us. This petition claims that the trial has not been fair. Until we can decide whether this petition is valid, or these petitions are valid, or not, then was should suspend the bearing. The hearings have been set for the 19th...that is two days after the referendum."
CHRISMAN: "But you, yourself, have admitted in an interview that you would like to phase out military tribunals."
MARCOS: "Yes. When I said`phase them out' I mean absolutely everything. Finish all the trials for cases pending."
CHRISMAN:"Do you believe the military people are technically competent in law?"
MARCOS: "Sure. the are more technically competent in law than many observers of the trial. Many of them are lawyers. Graduates in the law. And my experience of them is that they are there to convict with respect at the length of the trial of Aquino. How many years? Seventy-three, all the way to Seventy-seven. That's about four years. That would never happen in a civil court.
CHRISMAN:"I wonder if I could just put you on the line for a moment and ask you how long you see martial law continuing in the Philippines?"
MARCOS: "As long as there is, of course, rebellion and cessation in the Philippines, it will be impossible to lift martial law. But I would like to lift it as soon as possible. I anticipate that we should be able to settle the cessationist movement in Mindanao before long. And as soon as we have elected an interim National Assembly or an interim Batasang Congress, we can then proceed to study the lifting of martial law, because while there is no interim National Assembly, the President is the only authority that can legislate."
Following the Supreme Court's ruling the military tribunal headed by Brigadier General Jose Syjuco agreed to cancel its scheduled proceedings, but denied that it had acted in haste. President Marcos later noted that the supreme Court might still allow the tribunal to continue or decide on another way of dealing with the case. The case itself has become a "cause celebre" and a number of foreign lawyers are in Manila to observe the trial.
"I CERTAINLY FAVOUR ANY ACTION TAKEN BY THE SUPREME COURT, ESPECIALLY THIS... IT GOES ALONG WITH OUR DESIRE THAT AQUINO BE GIVEN EVERY OPPORTUNITY WHICH HE CLAIMS HE HAS BEEN DENIED TO PRESENT EVIDENCE AND ARGUMENTS." PRESIDENT MARCOS SAID.
FIRST OFFICIAL COMMENTS BY MARCOS ON SUPREME COURT DECISION RESTRAINING MILITARY COURT FROM FURTHER HEARING THE CASE OF FORMER SENATOR BENIGNO AQUINO. IT WAS MARCOS AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF WHO ORDERED THE MILITARY COURT TO RE HEAR THE CASE.
REFERENDUM...WHY THE FOURTH IN FIVE YEARS, COMMENTS ON OPPOSITION BOYCOTT, OPPOSITION COMMENTS THAT BOYCOTT IS FARCE, ETC.
TIMETABLE TO ESTABLISH INTER ASSEMBLY AFTER REFERENDUM
VIEWS ON ESTABLISHING PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT TO TAKE PLACE OF MARTIAL LAW.
POLITICAL PARTIES TO BE ALLOWED FOR THE INTERIM ASSEMBLY. NO PARTIES WILL BE BANNED WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE COMMUNISTS.
PLENTY OF PHOTOGRAPHERS SNAPPING AWAY DURING BEGINNING OF INTV.
MARCOS...AFTER I EXPLAINED ALL ABOUT VISNEWS HAS AGREED TO DO ANOTHER EXCLUSIVE ON 20 DECEMBER: A POST REFERENDUM FOLLOW UP.
FIRE FILM NOT POSSIBLE TO SHIP TONIGHT. TO DO SO WELD HAVE JEOPARDISE PRESIDENTIAL INTERVIEW. IT WILL BE SHIPPED PRO HK WITH EXTENSIVE DOPE ALONG WITH MARCOS INTERVIEW. DETAILS TO BE ADVISED. RGDS.
REPORTER: MICHAEL CHRISMAN
VISNEWS EXCLUSIVE TEN MINUTE INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT MARCOS COMPLETED AND WILL BE SHIPPED PRO HK FOR EVN OFFER IN AYEM. NO ONE ELSE TO BE GRANTED INTV BEFORE REFERENDUM.
REUTERS MAKING TRANSCRIPT OF INTV AND MAY PUT SOME ON WIRE CREDITED AS VISNEWS EXCLUSIVE.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In the Philippines, President Marcos has backed a decision by the Supreme Court which many observers see as a rebuff to the system of marital law which he introduced to his country five years ago. In spite of this, President Marcos was given a mandate to continue with marital law by the referendum held on Saturday (17 December). The decision taken by the Supreme Court called the Army to suspend immediately the military trial of Mr. Benigno Aquino, President Marcos' main political rival. Last month Mr. Aquino was sentenced to death by a military tribunal for murder, subversion and illegal possession of arms. But following international protest, President Marcos instructed the tribunal to reopen the case. In the meantime Mr. Aquino appealed to the Supreme Court. They decided that the military tribunal had acted in haste and that the hearings should tops until it had resolved constitutional and legal issues relating to the case. President Marcos created reacted by saying that the Supreme Court had acted properly in the exercise of its authority.
SYNOPSIS: In an interview on Friday (16 December) he said the decision showed the court's independence.
SPEAKING IN A RECORDED INTERVIEW WITH THE LONDON-BASED TELEVISION NEWS AGENCY, VISNEWS, MR. MARCOS SAID THE SUPREME COURT HAD ACTED PROPERLY IN THE EXERCISE OF ITS AUTHORITY. HE SAW IT AS A DEMONSTRATION OF ITS INDEPENDENCE IN SAYING THE MILITARY TRIBUNALS SHOULD BE SUSPENDED UNTIL IT HAD DECIDED ON PETITIONS BEFORE IT, BOTH FROM MR. AQUINO AND HIS CO-ACCUSED, BERNABE BUSCAYNO, ALIAS COMMANDER DANTE, ALLEGED COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE UNDERGROUND COMMUNIST NEW PEOPLE'S ARMY (NPA).
REUTER -- PRESIDENT FERDINAND MARCOS TODAY BACKED THE PHILIPPINES SUPREME COURT IN ITS CALL TO SUSPEND THE HEARINGS HE HAD REOPENED OF A MILITARY TRIBUNAL THAT HAD SENTENCED TO DEATH HIS ONE TIME ARCH POLITICAL RIVAL, BENIGNO AQUINO.
MR. MARCOS DENIED SUGGESTIONS THAT THE SUPREME COURT HAD CRITICISED THE PRESIDENT, WHO SET UP THE MILITARY TRIBUNALS UNDER THE MARTIAL LAW HE IMPOSED IN SEPTEMBER 1972.
HE ASKED THE TRIBUNAL TO REOPEN THE TRIAL AFTER AQUINO HAD COMPLAINED THAT IT HAD SUDDENLY RUSHED TO JUDGEMENT AND NOT GIVEN HIM A CHANCE TO MAKE A STATEMENT ON THE CHARGES. THESE INCLUDE A PART IN A 1967 MURDER, SUBVERSION AND ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS BEFORE MARTIAL LAW.
MR. MARCOS NOTED IN THE INTERVIEW THAT THE SUPREME COURT MIGHT STILL ALLOW THE TRIBUNAL TO CONTINUE OR DECIDE ANOTHER WAY OF DEALING WITH CASE.
HE BELIEVED THAT IN SOME CASES THE MILITARY TRIBUNALS WERE MORE TECHNICALLY COMPETENT IN LAW THAN MANY OBSERVERS THOUGHT, ESPECIALLY AS SOME OF THE MEMBERS WERE TRAINED IN LAW.
TO A SUGGESTION THAT THE SUPREME COURT HAD NOW FACED HIM WITH A DILEMMA ON WHETHER HE HOLD FREE AQUINO MR. MARCOS DECLARED "THAT'S RIDICULOUS."
EARLIER TODAY, THE DEFENCE DEPARTMENT CONFIRMED THAT THE MILITARY TRIBUNAL HEADED BY BRIGADIER GENERAL JOSE SHOULD AGREED TO CANCEL ITS SCHEDULED PROCEEDINGS WHILE DENYING SUPREME COURT CHARGES THAT IT HAD ACTED IN HASTE.
LATER, SPEAKING ON NATIONWIDE TELEVISION, PRESIDENT MARCOS SAID THAT MR. AQUINO HAD PREVIOUSLY REFUSED TO ACCEPT A PARDON OR AMNESTY.
HE ADDED THAT HE DID NOT WANT TO GO INTO DETAILS BECAUSE OF THE PENDING CASE BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT.
"BUT REST ASSURED, WE HAVE THE MATTER UNDER STUDY," HE TOLD A QUESTIONER.
MEMBERS OF AQUINO'S FAMILY HAVE SAID PREVIOUSLY, HE COULD TO ACCEPT A PARDON AS THIS WOULD BE AN ADMISSION OF GUILT. AMNESTY, OR A COMPLETE CLEARANCE WOULD BE A DIFFERENT MATTER, THEY SAID.