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Speculation Grows: Marcos May Stay at Luxurious Hawaii Estate

February 28, 1986|DAVID HOLLEY | Times Staff Writer

HONOLULU — Neighbors in Honolulu's affluent Makiki Heights district call it the "Marcos estate."

Perched on a steep hillside, the blue-shuttered white stucco mansion commands a spectacular view of Diamond Head, the city and the ocean.

Across Makiki Heights Drive, a back gate leads to a second, smaller and more secluded home that neighbors say has usually been used as sleeping quarters when former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos or his family have been in town.

Usually, however, no one but Filipino caretakers are around to enjoy the luxurious properties, neighbors say.

As Marcos, his wife, children, grandchildren and an entourage of about 80 were resting Thursday at Hawaii's Hickam Air Force Base, speculation was rampant here that the former Philippine First Family might move permanently to Makiki Heights.

"Quiet Makiki Neighborhood May Be Marcos' New Home," said a headline in the Thursday afternoon Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Property records at the Honolulu city and county tax assessment office show that on July 14, 197, Philippine shopping center magnate Bienvenido R. Tantoco and his wife Gliceria entered into a purchase agreement providing for use of the larger residence, and that they acquired title to the property on July 13, 1981.

On Dec. 28, 1983, title was transferred to New York Financial Inc., which has been identified in news reports as a Panama-based corporation partly or entirely controlled by Tantoco.

Assessment office records show that the smaller property--which is also a large house with a spectacular view--is owned by Philippine banana magnate Antonio Floirendo, who purchased it on March 13, 1980.

Marcos passed through Honolulu in April, 1980, twice in October, 1981, on the way to and from a summit meeting in Cancun, Mexico, and on both legs of a September, 1982, trip to Washington. His wife, Imelda, visited without him in December, 1981.

Grandsons Born in Honolulu

Imee Marcos Manotoc, their eldest daughter, gave birth to sons in Honolulu in 1983 and 1985.

On these various trips, neighbors said, members of the Marcos family have used the two hillside residences.

None of the neighbors contacted by The Times were willing to be identified by name.

One woman from the neighborhood said she believes that Marcos "always entertained at the house up here--the big one with the wrought iron gate--and he sleeps in the smaller one."

The woman said it was obvious when Marcos was in the area because he would arrive in a motorcade of half a dozen cars, with police escorts. During use of the larger estate, Honolulu police armed with rifles would use dogs to patrol the neighborhood, she said.

One for Entertaining

Other neighbors said that the larger estate--on an acre or more of land and easily visible from the gate--has been used for entertaining, while the second home, which lies out of sight down a long driveway, has been used more often for sleeping quarters.

Several neighbors said they believed charges made by Marcos' critics that the former president is somehow the true owner of both properties.

Several neighbors said they questioned whether Marcos would actually settle permanently in the neighborhood.

"Some of the people who are knowledgeable thought he wouldn't stay here permanently," a neighborhood woman said. "They felt it would be too much of a duck pond for them. I have that feeling, too, to a degree."

Security Cost Issue

As uncertainty about Marcos' plans continued Thursday, Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi said he would refuse to spend local funds to routinely provide Marcos with increased security if he decides to live in the Makiki Heights homes or elsewhere in the city.

Lou Torraca, the mayor's press secretary, said Fasi believes that such expenses would be an inappropriate use of taxpayers' money and that Marcos is wealthy enough to provide his own security.

The mayor is prepared to make police protection available, however, if guaranteed federal payment for the expenses, Torraca said.

In Washington, White House spokesman Larry Speakes said President Reagan has offered Marcos--and Marcos alone--Secret Service protection.

At Hickam Air Force Base, a spokesman, Maj. Bob Barca, said Thursday that Marcos and his party continued to rest quietly on the base. He denied reports that there were plans for the ex-president to be hospitalized for health problems, and said that there still has been no word of what his plans for the future are.

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