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Enrile Named in Final Marcos Suits; Total Reaches $96.7 Billion

August 1, 1987

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ The government filed the last of its civil lawsuits Friday against Ferdinand E. Marcos and associates it says helped the deposed president steal billions of dollars from his people.

The three suits bring to $96.7 billion the damages the government is seeking in 35 civil actions that name Marcos and about 300 of his relatives and associates.

In one of the suits filed Friday, the government asks for $5.05 billion in damages from former defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile and 42 co-defendants, including Marcos and his wife, Imelda.

Enrile, now an opposition leader, was one of more than 50 defendants named in a $10.2 billion suit filed July 22 as part of the government’s effort to recover the so-called ″hidden wealth″ allegedly amassed in the Marcos era. The Presidential Commission on Good Government rushed through the final suits to meet a constitutional deadline of Sunday. After that, companies allegedly owned by Marcos and defendants will no longer be affected by government takeover orders unless they are the subject of litigation.

Marcos is a defendant in all 35 cases. Solicitor Gen. Francisco Chavez said more suits may be filed later depending on the outcome of investigations.

The suit that names Enrile also names as defendants Sen. Edgardo Angara and three members of the House of Representatives. Angara, a friend of Enrile, was elected to the Senate last May on Mrs. Aquino’s ticket.

It accuses Enrile and others of ″active collaboration and participation″ in coconut firms illegally acquired by a co-defendant, Eduardo Cojuanco, a cousin of President Corazon Aquino. Cojuanco fled the country after Marcos was ousted from 20 years in power in February 1986.

It said the defendants ″allotted to themselves excessive salaries, allowances, bonuses and other emoluments, including huge cash advances in millions of pesos, which to date, remain unliquidated and unaccounted for.″

The suit accuses Angara and partners in his law firm of having conspired to establish private banks using government money.

The two other suits, which seek $5.05 billion each, accused sugar baron Roberto Benedicto, Marcos’ brother-in-law Benjamin Romualdez and 71 others of using their links to Marcos for personal gain.

Romualdez was formerly the Philippine ambassador to Washington.

Enrile, who took part in the uprising against Marcos and was fired as defense minister last November after an alleged coup attempt by his followers, is the subject of a contested senatorial race in last May’s general election.

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