Ferdinand Marcos Celebrates 71st Birthday
HONOLULU (AP) _ Former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos turned 71 Sunday, and was feted by supporters at a birthday bash that drew about 5,000 people.
Marcos, who has lived in exile here since February 1986, was greeted by cheers and choruses of ″Happy Birthday to You ... Happy birthday, Mr. President,″ when he and his wife, Imelda, arrives at the ″Philippine Day in the USA,″ celebration.
Supporters waved signs, one bearing Marcos’ face and another showing Marcos shaking hands with President Reagan. The Marcoses sat on stage and were serenaded with traditional Filipino and contemporary songs.
The all-day event at Blaisdell Center Arena was sponsored by the local group ″Friends of Marcos.″ Joe Lazo, the group’s president, said admission was free and open to the public.
The celebration included food, entertainment and door prizes, including a new car.
″Everyone had so much fun last year we decided to do it again,″ Lazo said.
Last year’s celebration was billed as a non-political ″Prayer for Peace for the Philippines.″ But the 6,000 supporters urged Marcos to try to regain power from Philippine President Corazon Aquino. Mrs. Marcos presented her husband with a gift of Philippine soil, calling it, ″our only hidden wealth.″
Several criminal and civil lawsuits filed by Marcos opponents in the Philippines and the United States accuse the ousted leader of plundering billions of dollars from his country during his 20-year rule, and stashing it in hard-to-trace assets.
Marcos has suffered from an ailment and was hospitalized with chest pains several months ago, but a spokesman says he is now feeling fine, and was cheered by one early birthday gift: a $150,000, armor-plated, bullet-proof Mercedes Benz 450 SEL delivered for his use by some mainland friends.
The Marcoses traveled to the party, however, in a brown station wagon.
Meanwhile, Marcos supporters in the Philippines celebrated his birthday Sunday in a rally in Manila and with a giant 33-by-82-foot birthday cake in Laoag, the capital of Marcos’ home province of Ilocos Norte.