Aquino Government Will Not Exclude Communists
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Communists who renounce violence will be allowed to work in the government of President Corazon Aquino, officials said Wednesday.
But Mrs. Aquino repeated her intention to exclude Communists from her Cabinet.
Mrs. Aquino discussed the issue of Communists in government during a 2 1/2 -hour meeting with her Cabinet. The discussion was prompted by statements last week by Defense Minister Gen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who in several speeches said Communists were serving in official positions.
Deputy presidential spokeswoman Alice Villadolid said the meeting produced a consensus against blacklisting people who have had links to the Communist Party.
In his speeches, Enrile did not provide names. But Manila newspapers said five men jailed under former President Ferdinand Marcos on subversion charges had worked in low-level government posts since Mrs. Aquino took office in February after a civilian-military uprising ousted Marcos.
Four of them have since left their jobs. The fifth, Victor Bulatao, is an aide to Agrarian Reform Minister Heherson Alvarez.
Mrs. Aquino, who is trying to negotiate a cease-fire with Communist insurgents, laughed when reporters asked after the Cabinet meeting what action she might take against Communists in government.
″When I was campaigning I was accused of being a Communist,″ she said. ″I have said from the very beginning that I am not appointing any Communist to my Cabinet.″
Mrs. Villadolid told a news briefing the Cabinet decided it would not automatically exclude alleged Communists, ″especially if (they) ... have already renounced violence and godlessness ... and if they are now contributing positively to the reconstruction of our society.″