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Marcos Party Reaches Hawaii in Somber Mood

February 27, 1986|DAVID HOLLEY | Times Staff Writer

HONOLULU — Former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos arrived without ceremony Wednesday at a restricted airfield outside Honolulu to begin a life of exile, amid predictions from some American officials that he may stay here indefinitely.

Marcos emerged slowly from the belly door of the green-gray U.S. military plane and, supported slightly by an American official, planted both feet on each of a half-dozen steps as he made his way to the ground.

Gifts of Hawaiian leis of purple-pink panda orchids, lumeria and red carnations did little to soften the somber atmosphere surrounding the deposed president, his wife, Imelda, and their party of more than 80 as they accepted the greetings of American officials and filed across a red carpet.

The U.S. Air Force C-141 carrying the Marcos entourage on a seven-hour flight from Guam touched down at Honolulu International Airport and taxied to adjacent Hickam Air Force Base, where the new exiles were to stay temporarily while resting and deciding where to go next.

The entourage, which included Marcos' former armed forces chief, Gen. Fabian C. Ver, and his wife, was greeted by Hawaii Gov. George Ariyoshi and his wife, Jean; by the commander of Pacific Air Forces, Gen. Robert W. Bazley and his wife, Dolores, and by Hawaii state protocol officer Francis Lum.

Marcos, dressed in dark trousers and a white jacket, doffed a white hat to receive leis from Mrs. Ariyoshi and Mrs. Bazley.

The governor shook hands with Marcos and draped an orchid lei around Imelda Marcos' head. Bazley and Imelda Marcos greeted each other with kisses.

After first walking along the red carpet toward the waiting limousines, vans and buses, Imelda Marcos turned back toward the plane to pick up and carry a girl about 3 years old, apparently one of her grandchildren.

The Marcoses were accompanied by their son, Ferdinand Jr., daughters Irene and Imee, and their families. Imee Marcos Manotoc's sons were born in Hawaii in 1983 and 1985.

While it was not known with certainty how long Marcos will remain here, a U.S. Defense Department spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Chris Baumann, said in Washington that it "would be a good, educated guess that he (Marcos) would remain in Hawaii for some time."

Air Force Maj. Virginia Pribyla, a spokeswoman for the Commander in Chief, Pacific, here, said she "really can't speculate on how long (the) temporary stay will be."

The family and entourage will be housed on the base, the Marcoses in VIP guest quarters.

Though Marcos, 68, appeared weak, there was no evidence that his health had dramatically worsened. Pribyla said reports that he was carried on a stretcher into a U.S. Air Force plane at Clark Air Base in the Philippines for the flight to Guam were inaccurate. She said she did not know how the mistaken reports originated.

"The media were not there to cover his departure from the Philippines," she said.

Just before the ousted leader entered the limousine that carried him to his guest quarters, "Marcos was asked whether he wanted to meet with the press while he was here and he said no," Pribyla said. "I think Mr. Marcos has pretty much spoken for the whole crowd."

Ariyoshi spent about one hour with Marcos, his wife and their children.

At his own news conference later, Hawaii's governor said Marcos explained that he had abandoned the presidency because "he did not want to see a Filipino soldier firing against another soldier."

Marcos expressed the hope that "there will not be any bloodshed and violence in the Philippines," Ariyoshi added. "This idea of not wanting bloodshed . . . he mentioned that to me a number times."

Ariyoshi said that Marcos told him he had wanted to stay behind in the Philippines, in his stronghold province of Ilocos del Norte in the north of the country, while sending the rest of the family on to the United States.

"He wanted to go up north, and the family talked about it and a decision was made to leave together."

Asked to describe Marcos during the conversation, the governor said: "He really appeared to be very spry and in good spirits.

"I hope the people will leave him alone and let him lead a normal life if he decides to live here in Hawaii."

And asked if the family had seemed well-prepared to leave the Philippines, he said, "I don't think they were well-organized."

A group of about 150 pro-Marcos demonstrators gathered outside the base's main gate, with a banner proclaiming: "Welcome, Pres. and Mrs. F. Marcos. We Love You. Please Live With Us." The group chanted "Mabuhay Marcos!"-- Long Live Marcos.

"We would like to show the president and the First Lady and his party our love and respect for them, and our loyalty," said Joe Lazo, 53, president of the Hawaii chapter of Friends of Marcos, which organized the demonstration. There were no protesters present.

Lazo said the group of Marcos supporters was heading next to the state Capitol, where a legislator, State Sen. Duke Kawasaki, was holding an afternoon hearing on a resolution he had introduced calling on President Reagan, Ariyoshi and mayors of Hawaiian communities "not to provide Mr. Marcos with sanctuary."

On Tuesday, Ariyoshi called on the citizens of Hawaii to accept Marcos as a resident, should he desire to stay.

Speculation that Marcos may settle in Hawaii has been prompted in part by reports that two close associates--Antonio Floirendo and Bienvenido Tantoco-- own posh estates in the affluent Makiki Heights section of Honolulu. Marcos' critics have charged that the former president is the actual owner of the property.

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