Aquino Won’t Allow Marcos To Return For Mother’s Funeral
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ The mother of Ferdinand Marcos died today but President Corazon Aquino said the exiled president will not be allowed to return for the funeral because he remains a threat to national security.
In Hawaii, Marcos issued a statement saying he was shocked at the death of his 95-year-old mother, Josefa Edralin-Marcos. Marcos spokesman Gemmo Trinidad told reporters that Marcos said he will keep trying to return to the Philippines ″but won’t violate any laws to go back.″
Marcos said in his statement that he would ″exhaust all possibilities that may be available to us to return to our motherland, to help save her from the threatened communist takeover or a possible civil war.″
Before Mrs. Edralin-Marcos died, Vice President Salvador Laurel said Marcos should be allowed to come home. Laurel cited Mrs. Aquino’s previous claims that Marcos followers no longer posed a threat to her government.
Dr. Sergio Brillantes, director of Veterans Memorial Medical Center, said Mrs. Edralin-Marcos suffered cardiac arrest at noon (midnight Tuesday EDT) and was pronounced dead 20 minutes later.
In a nationally televised address, Mrs. Aquino expressed condolences to the Marcos family, but added:
″After careful assessment in consultation with the leadership of both chambers of Congress and the Cabinet committee, I regret that considerations of national welfare, which are above the individual interest, forbid us from allowing the former president to return.″
Mrs. Aquino said respect for parents was an important value in Filipino society. But she added: ″There are other values involving national stability and the common good of our people, whose primacy I am duty-bound to uphold.″
Marcos was not allowed to return for the funeral of his sister, Elizabeth Marcos-Keon, who died in December 1986.
Rafael Recto, Marcos’ lawyer in the Philippines, said the decision went against Philippine and Christian ethics.
″We have a government of neo-barbarians,″ Recto said. ″They act like they’ve never had mothers.″
Hundreds of Marcos supporters gathered outside the hospital where Mrs. Edralin-Marcos died. Many of them wept, while others shouted anti-Aquino slogans and called for a revolution.
In Ilocos Norte, home province of the Marcos family, flags were lowered to half staff and masses were said.
Before Mrs. Edralin-Marcos died today, Mrs. Aquino met with Cabinet members to consider a request Mrs. Edralin-Marcos made Tuesday to allow her son to return for a final visit. The meeting ended after receiving news of her death. The request was made in a letter delivered to the presidential palace.
″It was a very difficult but very serious decision,″ said National Security adviser Emmanuel Soriano, who attended the meeting. ″We might summarize it in terms of what is best for the common good at this time, what is best for national stability at this time.″
Sen. Leticia Ramos-Shahani, a distant cousin of Marcos and sister of Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos, said Marcos was ″still a political force to be reckoned with.″
Six senators, including opposition leader Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, issued a joint statement supporting Marcos’ return on humanitarian grounds.
Marcos supporters have been linked to several coup attempts. Mrs. Aquino told air force cadets on Monday that the threat from Marcos supporters had been neutralized. But police said today that they seized more than 40 rifles, 300 sticks of dynamite and hundreds of rounds of ammunition during two raids this week on buildings owned by Marcos supporters.
Mrs. Edralin-Marcos stayed behind in 1986 when a military-civilian uprising drove her son into exile after 20 years in power and lifted Mrs. Aquino to the presidency. Mrs. Aquino since has refused to allow Marcos to return.
Mrs. Edralin-Marcos was hospitalized Sunday with pneumonia, diabetes and kidney failure. She lapsed into a coma late Tuesday, Brillantes said.
In her letter to Mrs. Aquino, Mrs. Edralin-Marcos said:
″My dying wish, the one thing that will put a smile upon my lips when I leave this world, is to see my Ferdinand by my bedside as I say goodbye to all of you. Pray grant me this wish and this privilege as one mother to another.″
The letter, which was released by the palace, was apparently drafted by family members and included the thumb print of Marcos’ mother.
Mrs. Edralin-Marcos came from a wealthy northern Luzon family of Filipino and Chinese extraction. She was born Feb. 14, 1893 in the northern town of Sarrat, which was also Marcos’ birthplace.
She earned a master’s degree in English literature from the University of the Philippines and taught school for 42 years.
Marcos’ father, Mariano, was a politician and lawyer who died in 1944 during the Japanese occupation.