NEW YORK — A close former aide to Ferdinand E. Marcos said today that the deposed leader still considers himself the rightful president of the Philippines and harbors illusions of a political comeback.
"He made it clear that he considered himself the de jure president of the Philippines, although temporarily in exile," said former Philippines Labor Minister Blas Ople, who has spoken to Marcos since he took up refuge in Hawaii.
"He nurtures hopes for a political comeback," Ople told CBS Morning News. "I think Mr. Marcos will not shun such an opportunity if it presents itself, but that is now a very remote possibility, perhaps a political illusion mixed with a lot of nostalgia for the past."
Ople was asked about the opulent life style of the Marcos family revealed when Malacanang Palace was recently opened for the first time to the public. Included in the display were millions of dollars in furnishings and thousands of dresses and shoes that used to belong to Marcos' wife, Imelda, a former beauty queen.
"I assure you that President Marcos himself, a very withdrawn person, probably just had to endure a good number of those (things)," he said. "I suppose that he did not initiate them. He got caught up in them."
Ople recently formed a new opposition party of 40 members of Parliament which he asserted would "play the role of a loyal opposition."
In Manila, the official Philippine News Agency today reported that Marcos cabled Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile to deny a news report that his oldest daughter, Imee Marcos-Manotoc, had said she would spend the last penny of her wealth to have Enrile "liquidated."
Marcos concluded the cable sent Sunday from Honolulu by saying, "We are keeping our agreement, I hope you get on top of things."
Enrile said the cable was an attempt by Marcos to sow intrigue in the government of Corazon Aquino, installed Feb. 25 after a military revolt led by Enrile and then deputy armed forces chief Fidel Ramos.
Enrile told the news agency that he never had a "political agreement with Marcos prior to, during, or after the people's revolution."