OVER-REACTION TO KINTANAR COULD SOW PANIC -- IMEE

Manila, Jan. 26, 2003- Ilocos Norte Rep. Imee Marcos warned yesterday that the announcement on urban hit squads targeting Cabinet members, together with Kintanar's killing, could result in new advisories from foreign governments cautioning their citizens against going to the country.

Marcos said until proven with credible intelligence information, "news about this apparent hit squad which is about to assassinate large members of the Cabinet appears somewhat exaggerated."

She added: "Let's not play into the hands of would-be terrorists and criminals by sowing fear and panic in the populace."

Marcos said playing up the scenario would only boomerang on the country, on its economy and on tourism.

"Relax lang tayo, let's not overreact. Let's respect a more reliable intelligence information, with depth, with details. Spreading the threat to include so many public figures may be merely alarmist at this point," she said.

On the special task force, she said it was not "useful convening and large number of wannabe vigilant groups or even military and police task force." She said the best way is to "collate evidence and make certain we have an A-1 intelligence information.

She lamented the seeming "comeback" of pre-martial law offenses committed by the communist rebels.

She said the major reason martial law was declared by her father was the growing strength and influence of the communists in the 70s.

Bur she said there is no need for martial law because government "has many other options of putting an end to rebellious offenses." (Malaya)


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