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Marcos Group Carried $1.5 Million in Pesos Into Exile, Customs Says

March 8, 1986

HONOLULU (AP) _ Ferdinand Marcos and his entourage brought the equivalent of $1.45 million in Philippine pesos into exile, according to a document filed in federal court here Friday.

There were 27,744,535 pesos in 22 cardboard boxes which were were flown to Hawaii aboard a U.S. Air Force cargo plane Feb. 26 and an additional 462,791 pesos in baggage, according to an affidavit filed by George Roberts, Hawaii District director of the U.S. Customs Service.

The affidavit said 2,989,00 pesos not required to be reported was released to the Marcos group.

All of the pesos equal about $1.5 million. Reported estimates had placed the amount at up to $26 million.

Earlier Friday, a federal judge refused to block an accounting of the pesos in a lawsuit filed by the new Philippine government through the Central Bank of the Philippines, which seeks return of the money.

The affidavit did not provide serial numbers, which could allow Philippine authorities to trace the source of the money. No decision has been made if or when the serial numbers will be provided, according to Assistant U.s. Attorney John F. Peyton, Jr.

The affidavit also does not account for any other valuables that may have been found in the boxes because the lawwuit deals only with the currency, Peyton said.

U.S. District Judge Harold M. Fong said he lacked the authority to prevent Customs from releasing an accounting of the pesos.

Fong rejected arguments that release of the inventory to the government of President Corazon Aquino would violate Marcos’ right to due process.

The judge said he was not ruling on whether Marcos or the Aquino government was entitled to the money.

Marcos’ Washington-based attorney, Richard A. Hibey, argued that release of the inventory would be premature. Questions of jurisdiction and entitlement should be settled before the inventory is released, he argued.

In New York City, meanwhile, a state judge authorized lawyers acting on behalf of the Philippine grovernment to take sworn statements from Marcos and his wife, Imelda, as part of an effort to seize New York real estate linked to them.

The attorneys claimed they had no access to documents held by Customs at Hickam Air Force Base, where Marcos and his entourage are temporarily residing.

Administration officials Thursday said the documents showed a ″paper trail″ of the Marcos family wealth, how it was amassed and where it was put.

Meanwhile, a parade scheduled for Sunday to honor Marcos was canceled.

″Many of our people had fears of disagreement, fears of disruption,″ said Joe Lazo, a longtime Marcos supporter and an organizer of the parade.

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