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Aquino Aide Doubts Marcos Donated to Reagan, Carter in '80

March 19, 1986|From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — A Philippine official said today that he does not give much credence to a document brought to the United States by former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos indicating that contributions of $50,000 were made to the 1980 presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.

"I did not give it much credence because it does not bear any signature or any initial," Jovito Salonga, head of a Philippine commission investigating Marcos' finances, told the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asian and Pacific affairs, which is investigating Marcos' U.S. holdings.

Spokesmen for both campaigns said they knew nothing of the purported contributions and congressional sources also said it is not clear whether the money actually was given.

As the hearing ended, Rep. Stephen J. Solarz (D-N.Y.), chairman of the subcommittee, said the panel's investigation has shown that Marcos led a government that "existed for the primary purpose of looting and plundering the wealth of the nation."

Salonga provided the panel with copies of Marcos' tax returns from 1960 through 1962, before Marcos became president. They showed his net income averaged less than $40,000 a year, he said.

Authenticity Questioned

Presidential spokesman Larry Speakes questioned the authenticity of the document on political contributions, which he described as an unsigned computer printout dated in 1982, well after the election. He added the document does not say to whom, when or how the purported contributions were made.

Acknowledging that any such gifts to Reagan's presidential campaign would have been illegal, Speakes said, "We believe we had adequate safeguards to prevent this."

In Atlanta, Melissa Montgomery, a spokesman for Carter, said in a prepared statement: "President Carter is not aware of any contributions at all connected with Marcos."

She said Carter "thinks it is very unlikely that Marcos would have been interested in contributing to his campaign. If the President had learned of such an offer, he would have rejected it."

Reports said 10 to 20 other U.S. candidates also were listed as receiving contributions from Marcos, including Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) and California Lt. Gov. Leo T. McCarthy.

'Doesn't Make Any Sense'

Cranston said today he does not know anything about "any $10,000 contribution. I don't recall anything like that and I doubt they sneaked something in. Besides, it doesn't make any sense Marcos would do that because I've been one of his strongest critics."

In California, McCarthy said: "It's idiotic. I have never received any contributions that I'm aware of from Ferdinand Marcos."

The paper was among 2,300 pages of documents detailing what Salonga called Marcos' "unbelievable plunder" of the Philippine treasury that were handed over Tuesday to Salonga by the U.S. government.

Solarz told the subcommittee that the papers "appear to indicate an extensive commingling of public and private funds by President Marcos and pervasive use of public office for private gain."

Both Solarz and Salonga have refused to publicly release the documents, although promising to make many of them public later.

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