Tommy Manotoc, the sportsman who secretly married one of President Ferdinand Marcos' daughters, told reporters today that he had been kidnaped and held for ransom by leftist guerrillas. He dismissed charges by his family that Marcos, who disapproved of the marriage, had something to do with his abduction.
The government had announced earlier that Manotoc, 32, was freed yesterday by special forces from a guerrilla hide-out in the mountains 55 miles east of here.
Photographs distributed by the government indicated that one alleged guerrilla of the New People's Army was killed when the Special Military Intelligence Group stormed the hide-out.
A fit but nervous-looking Manotoc was produced at a press conference at the office of Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile exactly six weeks after he was reported missing.
In the press conference, televised live, Manotoc was surrounded by Enrile, Gen. Fabian Ver, the armed forces chief of staff, and Maj. Gen. Fidel Ramos, the chief of the police constabulary.
Manotoc, a basketball coach and top golfer, looked down at the table during the entire press conference and wiped his face often with his hands while answering questions.
He refused to answer any questions about his marriage to the president's elder daughter Imee, 26. Manotoc's family had accused the president and his wife Imelda of engineering the kidnaping because they had opposed the secret marriage in Arlington, Va., Dec. 4.
The Marcoses had denied any complicity in Manotoc's disappearance and vowed to exert all efforts to produce Manotoc alive so he could tell his own story.
According to Enrile, Manotoc was rescued from a guerrilla hide-out in the Sierra mountains east of Manila yesterday evening after a shootout.
The Associated Press in Manila reported receiving a telephone call from a woman who identified herself as a representative of the National Democratic Front, a group that speaks for opposition forces. She denied that opposition groups had anything to do with the kidnaping and added that the front believed the Manotoc family had been "victimized by the Marcos regime's whimsical and arrogant use of power."
Manotoc was asked about the status of his marriage to Imee, which is not recognized in the Philippines since he had obtained a divorce in the Dominican Republic from his first wife, Aurora Pijuan. Divorce is not permitted in the Philippines.
Manotoc replied: "I think that is a personal question. I would like to retain some privacy." Asked if his kidnaping was linked to his marriage, Manotoc, after a moment of silence, and with his head bowed, blurted out: "Definitely not!"
He said he was convinced he was kidnaped for a ransom of $5 million and as leverage to obtain the release of five ranking communist leaders.
The Manotoc family received two ransom notes that they dismissed as fake.
But Manotoc said he wrote those two notes and several others not received by the family. Asked why the handwriting in the two notes did not appear to be his, Manotoc said: "I was handcuffed for three days and my hands were bleeding, so I couldn't write."
Manotoc said he was kidnaped just outside his parents' home on Dec. 29 while driving home from a restaurant where he had dined with Imee.
He said he was taken to two places during his six weeks' captivity, most of the time blindfolded. He could not recall the first place but said he recognized that the second was in the mountains because the air was cool.
Manotoc, when asked about his family's accusations against President Marcos, said: "That is a natural reaction. There is definitely no truth to that."
He said he had written a letter to Marcos, asking to see the president, "to set the record straight."