by Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.
On February 26, 1986, when Former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos arrived at Hickam Air Force Base and Hawaii Governor George Ariyoshi was putting a lei on him, a defrocked priest from Vigan, Ilocos Sur called me saying:
“Awan kwenta yo nga taga Ilocos Norte, agtaray kayo met y*t.” (You people from Ilocos Norte are worthless, you run away f*ck.).
“Marcos did not run away, he was kidnapped,” I told him and hung up.
When I visited President Marcos at his home on Makiki Heights in Honolulu, I asked him: “Is it true that you told the pilot at Clark Air Base that you wanted to go to Paoay, but he misunderstood you and thought you wanted to go to Hawaii?”
“Who told you that? It’s not true. Maybe you concocted it. I was kidnapped,” Marcos said, raising his voice.
“Let’s go, Jun,” I said to my companion, former Romblon Assemblyman Nemesio Ganan, Jr. “Please sit down,” said Marcos, “I’m sorry I raised my voice.”
I asked him why he did not order his soldiers to disperse the EDSA demonstrators. Even Bongbong was ready to fight; he was in fatigue uniform and carried a submachine gun, I said. Marcos replied that he did not want bloodshed. “So, you followed what Senator Paul Laxalt told you to ‘cut and cut cleanly,’” I said.
I asked Marcos why they left Malacanang Palace when the Army and the Air Force were still for him. “You ask the First Lady,” he said.
“Ma’am, we asked the President why you left the Palace, and he told us to ask you,” I asked her.
Mrs. Imelda Marcos said that an American claiming to be from the U.S. Embassy had gone to Malacanang and told them to leave. If they did not leave, they would kill them, hang their bodies upside down (ala Mussolini and his mistress) and say that the Filipinos did it.
“And you believed him?” I asked.
“Why not,” said Mrs. Marcos, “don’t you know what they did to Ngo Din Diem?”
Questions have been raised about whether the U.S. had a hand in the 1963 assassination of South Vietnamese President Ngo Din Diem who was considered an autocratic ruler and had become unpopular with the people thereby becoming ineffective in fighting the communists.
I asked Marcos why they rode on the American helicopters in leaving the Palace instead of the Philippine Air Force helicopters. He explained that an American official told him that he should not trust the Philippine Air Force pilots because they might now be for Cory Aquino. The Americans offered their helicopters which would be safer.
The Marcos group of around 90 people included his immediate family, General Ver and his children, security personnel, maids, food taster, and others. They left Malacanang around 9:00 P.M. aboard four helicopters. The understanding was that they would be brought to Laoag, the capital of Ilocos Norte, which is Marcos’ bailiwick having been born in his mother’s hometown Sarrat which is next to Laoag.
Instead, they were flown to Clark Air Base about 40 miles northwest of Manila. When they reached Clark, the Marcoses and their entourage were told to board an airplane for the trip to Laoag.
While inside the plane, Marcos felt apprehensive that the Americans might bring them to Hawaii or the U.S. So, Marcos asked Imelda to look outside to see how many engines were there on the plane. Imelda reported that there were two. Marcos then felt a little less apprehensive believing that a twin-engine plane could not reach Hawaii.
The C-130 which the Marcos entourage boarded has four engines, with two on the left and two on the right. Imelda saw only one side, so she reported to Marcos that there were only two engines.
After almost two hours in the air, the plane had not reached Laoag which is about 207 miles from Clark with a flying time of less than an hour.
And it seemed that it was flying eastward instead of northward. So, Marcos asked an aide to call the pilot. The pilot came and Marcos asked why they had not reached Laoag and why they were flying eastward.
The pilot told Marcos that the Laoag airport was surrounded by NPA rebels, so it was not safe to land there, and they were instructed to fly them to Hawaii.
Former Mayor Ed Quilala of Currimao, Ilocos Norte told me that he and the Marcos loyalists were at the Laoag Airport that night. There were no NPAs.
There is a document stating that Cory Aquino told the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines that he did not want Marcos in the Philippines. It was shown to me by our friend Ron Oldenburg, a Honolulu attorney.
Oldenburg had helped the Marcoses and their entourage in their immigration cases. It was he who suggested to Marcos that at least one of the members of their family must leave Hawaii to be able to protect their interests. Imee was chosen to leave.
Corroboration of kidnapping
Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr., one of the richest men in the Philippines and “boss” of the inner circle of Marcos, had organized a group of armed men to escort Marcos from Manila to Ilocos Norte as planned. They were waiting in Paniqui, Tarlac to join the Marcos convoy.
When Danding learned that Marcos was in Clark, he went there. Marcos told him that they were going to Laoag. Danding said that they would join him there. When Danding attempted to leave the plane to go back to Paniqui, he was barred.
Danding was forced to fly with Marcos to Hawaii. Danding told me the story when we became friends during his forced exile in California where I used to live.
When he ran for Philippine president in 1992, Danding asked me to recommend him as the candidate of a powerful religious organization that votes solid in every election.
To Be Continued in Part II to be published next issue…
DISCLAIMER: Information and opinions of columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent those of the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle editorial board.
ATTY. TIPON was a Fulbright and Smith-Mundt scholar to Yale Law School where he obtained a Master of Laws degree. He has a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, New York, and the Philippines. He practices federal law, with emphasis on immigration law and appellate federal criminal defense. He was the Dean and a Professor of Law of the College of Law, Northwestern University, Philippines. He has written law books and legal articles for the world’s most prestigious legal publisher and writes columns for newspapers. He wrote the best-seller “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws.” Listen to the Tipon Report which he co-hosts with his son Attorney Emmanuel “Noel” Tipon. They talk about immigration law, criminal law, court-martial defense, and current events. It is considered the most witty, interesting, and useful radio show in Hawaii. KNDI 1270 AM band every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. Cell Phone (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: https://www.tiponlaw.com.