In his first public statement since he fled the Philippines Tuesday, deposed president Ferdinand Marcos said today he had control of "superior military power" and the opportunities to use it before he fled the country, "but that would have resulted in the bloody carnage of innocent civilians."
Looking more fit than when he arrived, but shuffling as he stepped up to a table at the officers' club at the U.S. Air Force base where he and his family have been staying, Marcos read from a short statement, which he called a letter to the Filipino people. The statement, which was on paper labeled "Office of the President of the Philippines," was handed out to reporters.
"I have been called brave in my time but brave as I may have been against foreign invaders, I have no heart to shed Filipino blood," Marcos said.
Marcos said that when he left the presidential palace in Manila, he initially had decided to move to his home province of Ilocos Norte in the northern Philippines. But shortly after he arrived at Clark Air Force base, he was informed by President Reagan's representative, whom he did not identify, that he would have to leave for Guam instead.
According to sources familiar with the incident, however, that information was conveyed by Washington, through Brig. Gen. Theodore Allen, chief of the joint U.S.-Philippine military assistance group, only after U.S. officials had consulted with Corazon Aquino, who said it would not be in the best interest of the Philippines for Marcos to stay.
With his wife, Imelda, sitting next to him, Marcos said he is looking for private quarters to rent or lease and would leave the base as soon as arrangements have been made.
Marcos said that he had been asked not to answer any questions after reading his announcement today, but did not explain who had made the request. Reporters originally had been told that Marcos would hold a press conference.
Marcos did not take questions after the State Department told Hawaii Gov. George Ariyoshi, who then told Marcos, that they were concerned that statements from a question and answer period could refuel political controversy in the Philippines, according to State Department officials in Washington.
Although Marcos did not say so, there were strong indications from pro-Marcos Filipinos that he would be making Hawaii a temporary new home, although he has some security concerns.
Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi said, however, that Marcos has nothing to worry about when it comes to security. Fasi, in a telephone interview today, also said Imelda Marcos "will not stay put" and will spend only part of her time in Hawaii while making lengthy visits to other areas, including New York City, where, according to congressional testimony, she owns several pieces of prime real estate.
"I'm convinced that none of our people here would attempt to harm him," said Fasi. He has said the federal government, private agencies or off-duty police hired by Marcos, but not the city of Honolulu, would have to provide any funds to protect the Philippines' former leader.
"I think the determination is already set," Fasi said. "Mr. Marcos will want to make Honolulu his home." Fasi said he was recommending to local pro-Marcos groups and others that Marcos stay at Coconut Island on the north side of Oahu, the main island.
There was widespread speculation, however, that Marcos would decide to take over a $1 million estate located in the exclusive Makiki Heights area overlooking the ocean and the city of Honolulu. The estate is owned by Antonio Floirendo, a close associate and longtime supporter of Marcos.
Fasi said many questions had been raised by reports of large sums of money being brought by Marcos and his associates into Hawaii aboard a U.S. Air Force transport plane carrying the Marcos party's luggage, but he said he had no direct evidence that Marcos and his party had brought millions of dollars into Honolulu aboard the plane.