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Marcos Said to Admit Spying on U.S. Foes

July 16, 1986|Associated Press

HONOLULU — Ousted Philippines President Ferdinand E. Marcos has testified that he used four agencies to spy on opposition groups operating in the United States, the widow of a Marcos political opponent slain in 1981 said Tuesday.

The disclosure Monday came in questioning by attorneys who are taking a videotaped deposition from Marcos about the murders of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes in connection with a wrongful death civil suit brought by the families, said Domingo's widow, Terri Mast, who sat in on the four hours of testimony.

It was the first testimony by Marcos since he was expelled Feb. 25 by supporters of Corazon Aquino. The videotaped deposition has been sealed under court orders, lawyers said.

Immunity Claim Rejected

Marcos had claimed immunity from a subpoena because of his position as former Philippine head of state, but that argument was rejected by U.S. District Judge Harold Fong, who said Marcos had to answer questions.

The questioning at Marcos' rented beachfront home here was to continue Aug. 11.

"He admitted that since 1973, four Filipino intelligence agencies operated in the United States monitoring anti-Marcos activities," Mast said. Marcos identified three of them as the National Intelligence Security Authority, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Presidential Security Commission, she said.

Marcos said in his deposition that he did not know everything the agencies did because not everything passed through him, Mast said.

Focus of Questioning

Attorneys Michael Withey and Jim Douglas worked on developing basic information about Marcos and his activities related to opposition groups, but did not get into specifics about the 1981 slayings in Seattle, she said.

Marcos' attorney, Richard Hibey, who attended the deposition, could not be reached for comment.

The families of Domingo and Viernes, leaders of the Alaska Cannery Workers Union, contend that Marcos ordered their deaths because of their anti-Marcos activities and because Viernes was trying to contact leftist labor leaders in the Philippines.

Jimmy Bulosan Ramil, Pompeo Guloy Jr. and Fortunada Dictado, Filipino immigrants to Seattle, received life prison sentences for aggravated first-degree murder in the case.

Basis of Lawsuit

Prosecutors had argued that Viernes was killed because he interfered with efforts by a gang led by Dictado to control gambling in Alaska canneries. The families of Domingo and Viernes claim they were killed because of their political activities.

The $30-million suit filed in 1982 accused the Philippine and U.S. governments, a former union leader whose gun was used in killings, and the men convicted in the case of a plan to infiltrate Philippine agents into the United States to spy upon and harass the anti-Marcos movement, said Domingo's sister, Cindy.

The case against the U.S. government was dismissed last year. The families said they would not seek damages from the new Philippine government if it cooperated.

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