Former President Wants to Return Home to Fight Wealth Accusations With AM-Philippines Bjt
Jan. 05, 1987
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Deposed President Ferdinand E. Marcos said Monday he wants to return home to defend himself against government charges that he siphoned off billions of dollars during his 20-year administration.
The government of President Corazon Aquino canceled Marcos' passport after he was ousted by a military-civilian uprising last February. Last month the Aquino government refused to allow him to return from exile in Hawaii.
Marcos denied in a speech broadcast by a pro-Marcos radio station that he secretly owns five New York properties. The government filed a $750 million lawsuit in Manila last month seeking title to the property as well as damages from Marcos, his wife Imelda and 19 other defendants.
The government says Marcos and his associates diverted more than $10 billion dollars in government funds, kickbacks and the like during his tenure.
But Marcos said the lawsuit was filed simply ''to destroy the name and honor of your servant and to destroy the virtue of the Marcoses.''
''That,'' he said, ''is why I am asking the Aquino government to now allow me to come home so I can defend myself. Give me my passport. If you are charging me with anything like ill-gotten wealth, which has the touch of criminality and immorality, I ask the right of every citizen of the Republic of the Philippines to defend myself, confront the witnesses, have the services of a lawyer of his own choice.''
He accused the Aquino government of corruption, said it manipulated the judiciary, and appointed incompetent and immoral local officials.
Opposition groups leveled the same charges against Marcos when he was in power.
The former president called Mrs. Aquino's designation by Time magazine as Woman of the Year ''the biggest joke of the century.''
He noted that the Aquino Cabinet unanimously refused to allow him to return either for Christmas or for the funeral of his sister, Elizabeth, who died Dec. 14 of heart failure in a Manila hospital.
''The whole Cabinet voted not to allow me to come back, and they threatened me with arrest and all kinds of vindictiveness and vengeful actions should I ever attempt to go to the Philippines,'' Marcos said.
''I am praying to God that somehow the situation will develop where I and my family and all my friends can return peacefully to the Philippines under the protection of a true, newly independent, free Republic of the Philippines.''
He complained, ''Corruption is rampant throughout the land. We have evidence in our possession of such corruption. But has this corruption ever been publicized?''
Allegations of corruption were also leveled last month by Cardinal Jaime L. Sin, the archbishop of Manila and a strong supporter of Mrs. Aquino. He asked her to combat corruption although he made no specific allegations against anyone in her government.