President Ferdinand E. Marcos, bowing to appeals by the United States, said today that armed forces chief Gen. Fabian C. Ver will not be in charge of keeping the peace during next month's presidential election and will likely retire within weeks.
Marcos, talking to reporters after a campaign rally in Naga attended by an estimated 40,000 people, said he would bow to "foreign elements," including the United States, and put Lt. Gen. Fidel C. Ramos in charge of soldiers assigned to keep the peace for the Feb. 7 election.
Marcos' opponents and some U.S. officials have expressed fears that the election's credibility might be harmed if Ver, Marcos' most loyal military commander, stays in his post.
Acquitted Last Month
Ramos was acting armed forces chief while Ver was on trial on charges of involvement in the August, 1983, assassination of opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino Jr. Ver and the 25 other defendants were acquitted last month.
Marcos announced earlier that troops would be ordered to barracks on election day and would not be called out except to quell disturbances.
Marcos flew from Naga to nearby Legaspi, where a 75-year-old man was killed when a bomb exploded 400 yards from the plaza where Marcos had just spoken at a rally. Police said they were investigating whether the explosion was related to Marcos' visit. They said no one had been arrested in the matter.