Marcos Urges Followers Not to Try Coup; Appeals to Aquino With AM-Philippines-Marcos, Bjt
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Ousted President Ferdinand E. Marcos pledged his support to President Corazon Aquino on Saturday and promised that if she let him come home for his mother’s funeral, he would not try a coup.
About 5,000 people rallied to demand that Marcos be allowed to attend the funeral of his mother, Josefa Edralin-Marcos, who died May 4. She was 95. No date for the funeral has been set. Family members have been hoping Mrs. Aquino would change her mind about Marcos attending.
Mrs. Aquino ruled out allowing Marcos to return. The government also said Saturday that Marcos must repay the billions he allegedly stole during his 20 years in power before he can come home from exile in Hawaii and ordered its consulate in Hawaii to block his return.
Marcos spokesman Gemmo Trinidad read Marcos’ statement by telephone from Hawaii, where Marcos lives in exile. In the statement, broadcast by Manila radio stations, Marcos promised he would not exploit his return to undermine her government.
″I reiterate that I oppose violence, that I have no intention of mounting a coup d’etat or causing a civil war,″ the Marcos statement said. ″I, therefore, advise my supporters and those who are fighting for the very same democratic principles that I stand for not to engage in any disruptive and more violent activities.″
But in a telegram to the Philippine consulate in Honolulu, the presidential palace said Mrs. Aquino remained convinced Marcos’ return would undermine national security.
Marcos supporters have been linked to several attempts to topple the Aquino government.
The telegram, released by the palace to news organizations, also said Mrs. Aquino would ″allow him to come back if he returns all the wealth he stole from the country.″
Mrs. Aquino’s government claims Marcos and his associates siphoned off up to $10 billion during his 20-year administration before he fled after a February 1986 popular uprising.
Marcos’ statement also urged his supporters to ″join forces with Madame Aquino″ to oppose communist rebels and others who ″challenge the stability of the current government.″
The ousted president said that allowing him to return would ″not only adhere to the noble principle of humanitarianism but also would unite various political forces ... into an overpowering force which would prevent bloodshed ... and at the same time solve the present economic sufferings of our people.″
On Friday, Marcos claimed he was negotiating with Manila and Washington to return for the funeral.
Mrs. Aquino’s spokesman, Teodoro Benigno, said Friday’s statement was meaningless, and U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Platt told reporters that American officials ″just haven’t been involved at all″ in negotiations regarding Marcos’ return.
Marcos loyalists gathered in 100-degree weather Saturday and marched to the Mendiola Bridge about 300 yards from the presidential palace. March leader Salvador Panelo said they would remain there until Mrs. Aquino reversed her decision or Marcos appeared before them. But by sundown, the crowd had largely dispersed.
Protesters carried banners reading ″Give Us Marcos or Give Us Death.″ Others claimed Marcos was the only one who could stop the communist insurgency, which erupted and spread nationwide during his administration.
Also Saturday, a bomb exploded at military headquarters, killing one soldier, officials said. The building has been vacant since being set ablaze during an August coup attempt.
Navy Lt. Anselmo Cabingan, a military spokesman, said the victim was believed to be a member of a roving guard force and apparently picked up an explosive device left after the coup plot failed.
″It’s an accident,″ Cabingan said. ″It’s not connected with anything political or whatever. It’s just a simple accident as we see it.″