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U.S. Pledges to Help Find Marcos Wealth

March 12, 1986|NORMAN KEMPSTER and BOB DROGIN | Times Staff Writers

WASHINGTON — The Reagan Administration on Tuesday promised full cooperation to Philippine government investigators who are scheduled to visit Washington next week to track the wealth of deposed President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

A State Department official said that Jovito Salonga, chairman of President Corazon Aquino's new Commission on Good Government, is to arrive in Washington on Sunday to discuss the legal options available in his effort to recover assets that Marcos allegedly obtained through fraud or corruption.

Severina Rivera, a Washington-based attorney for the Salonga commission, said that Salonga's top priority during his visit will be to gain access to crates of documents, ledger books, stocks and bonds impounded in Hawaii by the U.S. Customs Service when Marcos, his family and a number of associates arrived there Feb. 26.

The State Department said last week that the U.S. Customs Service will give the Aquino government information about the documents, jewels and other property that the 90-member Marcos party brought with it to Hawaii, once the time-consuming task of compiling an inventory is completed.

But an aide to Rep. Stephen J. Solarz (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Relations subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, accused the Customs Service of "stonewalling" the panel's request for copies of the documents that Marcos brought to Hawaii. He said the subcommittee may vote to subpoena the documents during its regularly scheduled meeting today.

So far, lawyers for the Philippines have successfully sued in state courts in New York and New Jersey to tie up three large homes, three Manhattan office buildings and a Manhattan shopping center that they contend are secretly owned by Marcos through a web of offshore companies, front corporations and associates. The properties are worth more than $300 million, records show.

Michael Tigar, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said he expects to expand the legal battle next week by seeking to tie up more than 5,000 acres in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, as well as an office building and three shopping centers in the Houston area.

Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Charles Redman said that Marcos and his wife have decided to live indefinitely in Hawaii, probably in a rented Honolulu estate.

Redman denied reports that President Reagan had ordered the Marcos party to leave the guest quarters at Hickam Air Force Base by the weekend. However, Pentagon officials are known to want to end their status as hosts to Marcos as soon as possible.

Norman Kempster reported from Washington and Bob Drogin from New York.

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