Marcos Supporters' Bank Accounts Frozen
MANILA, Philippines -- Corazon C. Aquino's government has frozen the bank accounts of more than a dozen close associates of Ferdinand E. Marcos to make sure the money stays in the Philippines, an official said yesterday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, is on a commission charged with recovering billions of dollars in assets allegedly plundered by Marcos and his associates during the 20 years the former president was in power.
About $50 million is in the frozen accounts, said the official, who refused to identify their owners. Some belong to former members of the Marcos government, the official said.
Marcos, his family and entourage fled the country February 26 and were taken to Hawaii in U.S. Air Force planes.
The government television station quoted Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, the armed forces commander, as saying four generals loyal to Marcos were under house arrest. The official Philippine News Agency quoted Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile as saying three others--former commanders of the air force, navy and army dismissed by Aquino--also were under arrest.
Fourteen other generals have been given new duties at headquarters in Manila so Gen. Ramos can keep an eye on them, the television reported.
According to the news agency, a man it identified as a "Greek-American" named Demetrios Roumeliotes was arrested Sunday night while preparing to board a plane for Hong Kong with jewelry valued at about $2.5 million.
It quoted customs officials as saying they believed the jewelry belonged to the Marcoses. Among the items were rings, earrings and bracelets studded with diamonds, emeralds and pearls, the agency said.
Court officials could not be reached to determine what charges had been filed against Roumeliotes or to confirm his identity.
Arturo Tolentino, Marcos' vice presidential running mate in the February 7 election, claimed earlier yesterday that the exiled leader still was president of the Philippines.
Members of Aquino's government who appeared with Tolentino at the same weekly breakfast forum at a Manila hotel noted that she was carried to power by a popular revolution. They said no system of law would recognize Marcos as president, because he abandoned his office.
The National Assembly, which Marcos controlled, decided that he and Tolentino won the election, which was condemned as fraudulent by the nation's Roman Catholic bishops, the United States and most other Western governments.
"Mr. Marcos is legally still president of the Philippines, although he is not there exercising his powers," Tolentino said.
Some of Aquino's advisers have urged that she proclaim a revolutionary government to settle questions of legitimacy. A spokesman said she was studying the idea but probably would not announce a decision before Wednesday's Cabinet meeting.
The member of the commission charged with recovering Marcos' wealth said some commissioners, including chairman Jovito Salonga, would go to Hawaii to inspect documents Marcos took with him, which now are held by U.S. Customs officials in Honolulu.
Salonga has said documents found in Malacanang Palace after Marcos and his family abandoned it link them to New York real estate valued at $350 million, which they have denied owning.