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Pains and Pleasure of Marcos Look-Alike

June 3, 1989 GMT

SILAY, Philippines (AP) _ The crowd cheered for Ferdinand Marcos as the youthful presidential candidate waved to his supporters. Trouble is, it wasn’t Marcos at the campaign rally more than 20 years ago.

It was Jesus Quevenco, an affable man with such an uncanny resemblance to Marcos that the former president called him ″brod,″ or brother.

Quevenco, 65, said he acted as a stand-in for his famous look-alike during Marcos’ successful 1964-65 presidential campaign, appearing at rallies and meetings where Marcos was not expected to speak.

The best part, he said, was getting the table of his choice at the best restaurants and squiring Marcos’ wife, Imelda. The worst part was getting mistaken for Marcos years later, when Marcos’ popularity plummeted.

Quevenco, no relation to the former president, said a politician friend introduced him to Marcos in 1964 during a political rally on Negros island. At the time, Marcos, a senator, was campaigning for the Nationalist Party nomination for president.

Marcos went on to win the presidency on Nov. 9, 1965. He held office until he was ousted and forced into exile in Hawaii in a popular uprising in February 1986.

″The first time we met, we just looked at each other,″ said Quevenco. ″Marcos said ’You are a dead ringer for me.‴

For several months during the campaign, Quevenco passed himself off as Marcos at social and political functions whenever the president-to-be was tired or unable to attend because of schedule conflicts.

Quevenco said he did not receive any money for his services.

At one appearance, Quevenco played his role so well that his aunt rushed to him and asked to sit beside ″the president.″

″Auntie, I’m not Marcos,″ Quevenco said he told his befuddled relative. ″Who are you,″ she responded? ″I’m your nephew,″ he replied.

During a visit to the Marcos family in Manila, Quevenco said Marcos’ brother, Pacifico, jokingly introduced him to Marcos’ mother, Josefa, as ″our illegitimate brother.″

According to Quevenco, Mrs. Marcos removed her glasses, stared at him and asked: ″By whom?″

After Marcos was elected president, Quevenco said he stopped being a stand- in, preferring to run his insurance business in the town of Silay, 300 miles southeast of Manila.

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Quevenco said his wife, Thelma, was afraid of the risks to her husband if he continued to pose as the controversial president.

The resemblance was both a boon and a bane.

″When he was doing well, I was proud,″ Quevenco said. ″But when he was doing badly, I got the beating.″

During one visit to Manila, Quevenco and his friends showed up at the Playboy Club, announced that the president had arrived and demanded ″that a table be cleared immediately.″

The staff complied.

But in 1972, when Marcos’ popularity was low, Quevenco said he was nearly lynched when student protesters spotted him on a Manila street and began shouting ″It’s Marcos 3/8 It’s Marcos 3/8″

″I was afraid,″ he said. ″I ran down the street, ducked into a department store, got rid of my coat, bought a pair of glasses, and slipped away.″

Quevenco says he has fond memories of the former president, who is now critically ill in Hawaii and under U.S. indictment in connection with his alleged theft of millions of dollars from the Philippine treasury.

Marcos’ successor, Corazon Aquino, has barred Marcos from returning home.

Quevenco said he is neutral on the issue.