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URGENT Marcos Calls Aquino Government A Dictatorship

March 31, 1986

HONOLULU (AP) _ Ferdinand Marcos on Sunday called the government of Corazon Aquino a ″plain and simple dictatorship″ and said he still considers himself president of the Philippines.

″Of course,″ Marcos said when asked whether he still considers himself president.

The deposed leader made the remarks on the lawn of his home after a private Easter Mass. It marked the first time he answered reporters’ questions since fleeing the Philippines.

Marcos said that since arriving in Hawaii Feb. 26, he has been busy writing about recent events, but he said his lawyer advised him not to talk about what he has been writing.

He said he has been resting and eating well, and has gained two pounds since his arrival. Marcos also said he had no immediate plans to leave Hawaii.

An Easter picnic planned Sunday for Marcos was canceled after Secret Service agents objected to the size of the crowd and the city said the party couldn’t be held in a park.

Instead of the party, the Marcoses separately met well-wishers at a travel agency owned by a Marcos supporter. Mrs. Marcos greeted more than 1,000 people who filed through the small office. Her husband then made a brief appearance, mounting a small pedestal to wave at the crowd before he departed. Outside, a Filipino band performed.

About 100 friends and relatives joined them for the Mass, after which Marcos and his wife, Imelda, sang ″You’ll Never Walk Alone.″

The picnic had been planned for the rented $1.5 million beachfront house where the Marcoses moved last Monday.

″The picnic is canceled,″ said Francisco Ugale, president of the United Filipino Council of Hawaii. ″We tried but we had problems.″

Unlike parties at Malacanang Palace in Manila before Marcos left in the face of rising rebellion, guests had been told to bring their own food because of the short notice for the gathering, announced Friday. An Easter egg hunt, a singalong and an Easter Mass on the beach had been scheduled, organizers said.

But the Secret Service, which is providing security for Marcos, objected to having 1,000 people at the residence, along busy Kalanianaole Highway, Ugale said.

″They said it’s hard to watch 1,000 people because there’s only a dozen of them (Secret Service agents),″ Ugale said. ″They said if we press the issue, they would leave the house.″

Ugale then made plans to hold the party at Keehi Lagoon Park, but city officials pointed out that the organizers had not obtained a required permit.

″According to the parks director, there’s a two-week waiting period, and they’ll wait like anyone else,″ said Mayor Frank Fasi.

At home, the Marcoses dabbed their eyes with handkerchiefs as the Rev. Terrence Fisher, pastor of the nearby Holy Trinity Catholic Church, said Mass. Fisher sprinkled the couple with holy water and offered them communion.

Marcos then said a short prayer, and he and his wife sang and made brief remarks in a native Filipino language.

During the Mass, motorists on the highway in front of the house honked their horns in apparent support of about a dozen anti-Marcos protesters.

The Marcoses had stayed in a guest cottage at Hickam Air Force Base for nearly a month after fleeing the Philippines, and had scrapped plans at the last minute to move into two other houses on Oahu due to extensive publicity.

The picnic would have helped compensate for earlier welcoming events for Marcos that were later canceled, Ugale said.

″We thought this would be the best way for us to show our love and affection for Mr. Marcos and forget our problems since it is resurrection day, and we have a renewed spirit and renewed outlook for life and renewed love for God, country and people,″ said another Marcos supporter, Joe Lazo.

Leaders of anti-Marcos groups had expressed concern that the picnic would hurt the image of Hawaii’s Filipinos.

″Let us not lose sight of the fact that Marcos is a moral issue,″ Tomas ″Buddy″ Gomez said at a news conference Saturday. ″People who continue to admire, support and coddle Marcos are quite apart from the rest of America and the world.″

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