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Marcos and Repression


FIVE YEARS AGO, President Ferdinand E. Marcos of the Philippines imposed martial law on his country and inaugurated what has developed into one of the most repressive regimes in the world today. The injustice of this regime received striking confirmation this past week when a military court convicted Benigno Aquino, a former senator and Marcos's main political opponent, of subversion, murder, and illegal possession of firearms, and sentenced him to death.

The case against Aquino is weak, to say the least. The body of the evidence, which was circumstantial at best, came from two former guerrillas who turned state's evidence and then met mysteriously violent deaths.

It is unclear whether Mr. Aquino will actually be executed, since the Marcos regime has officially executed only one man, a narcotics dealer, since martial law was imposed, although others have disappeared. But even if Mr. Aquino is not executed, his case is the most striking example of Marcos's blatant attempts to silence, or at least discredit, his political opponents.

Several months ago, President Carter indicated that human rights would finally become an important criterion in American foreign policy, yet the United States has made no move to dissociate itself from the inhuman Marcos regime in the Philippines. If the Carter administration is serious about human rights in other nations, it should reconsider its position with regard to the Philippines.

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