Marcos Told Not to Return for Funeral or Christmas
The government today threatened to arrest former President Ferdinand E. Marcos if he returns from exile in Hawaii for his sister’s funeral or for Christmas.
The unanimous decision to ban Marcos was taken at an emergency Cabinet meeting called by President Corazon Aquino after the death Sunday of Marcos’ youngest sister, Elizabeth Marcos-Keon, 65.
In a taped interview made before her death and broadcast in Manila on Sunday, Marcos said he could “feel it in my bones” that Aquino’s government would collapse and that he hoped to return home by the Christmas holiday.
Presidential spokesman Teodoro Benigno said Marcos had not asked to return for his sister’s funeral, but if he did the request would be denied.
‘Fly in the Ointment’
Aquilino Pimentel, senior adviser to Aquino, said Marcos, 69, would “not only be a fly in the ointment but destabilizing as well.”
Marcos-Keon was a former governor of the Marcos family’s northern home province of Ilocos Norte. Flags in Laoag, the provincial capital, were ordered flown at half-staff in her honor.
The government said last week that in the event Marcos’ ailing 96-year-old mother, Dona Josefa Marcos, took “a very critical turn,” the government would pay to move her to Hawaii rather than allow Marcos to return.
Dona Josefa is confined at the Philippine Heart Center, apparently unaware that her son was ousted in February.
Clash With Communists
Meanwhile today, the army reported its first clash with Communist rebels since a 60-day cease-fire began last Wednesday.
It said that about 100 New People’s Army rebels fired automatic rifles at a 19-man patrol on Panay island, about 235 miles south of the capital, Manila. Col. Benigno Casio said by telephone from Iloilo City that troops returned fire and drove off the rebels without suffering any casualties.
Aquino ordered government peace negotiator Teofisto Guingona to take up the incident with the National Cease-Fire Monitoring Committee. Guingona refused to say if it was a serious truce violation.
On Sunday, a right-wing radio station in the capital broadcast a speech by Marcos in which he expressed hope for spending the holidays in the country he ruled for 20 years. A military and civilian uprising last February drove him from the presidency and swept Aquino into power.
The Aquino government canceled Marcos’ passport after he fled to Hawaii.