Former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos' household in Honolulu had regular telephone contact with Marcos supporters here after they took control of the Manila Hotel in an abortive attempt to seize power last weekend, according to hotel officials and records of calls.
At least eight calls were made to three different Honolulu numbers, all reportedly belonging to the Marcos household, beginning at 5:05 p.m. Sunday. This was only minutes after former foreign minister and Marcos' vice presidential running mate Arturo Tolentino entered the hotel along with a number of pro-Marcos politicians and more than 100 armed soldiers.
Marcos has denied involvement in the rebellion. The question of whether Marcos knew about the takeover attempt or encouraged it is important in the charged atmosphere of Philippine politics and for Marcos' status as a guest in the United States.
State Department officials have publicly warned Marcos against interfering in Philippine politics while he is living in Hawaii. President Reagan was quoted this week as saying he had not "seen any evidence to any extent that he's doing anything that has brought forth the little abortive coup."
According to hotel records, the calls continued until early Monday morning. All were made from rooms occupied by close Marcos associates. The revolt collapsed from lack of support by dawn Tuesday.
Hotel officials also said that at least two calls were made from Marcos to the hotel, one at 6 p.m. to Marcos' attorney and confidant Raphael Recto and another at 9 p.m. to Tolentino.
A hotel operator reportedly monitored both calls but officials said her version of the conversations could not be made available until after she had been questioned by security officials.
When Reagan was asked by a New York Daily News reporter this week whether he thought Marcos was abusing the hospitality he had been offered when he fled Manila in February, Reagan replied: "No, I don't think so . . . It still holds that he's welcome here as long as he wants to stay."
Marcos, in Honolulu, today thanked Reagan for his comment and said, "it is my intention to maintain a rigorous adherence to the proper conduct of foreign visitors to this land of justice and liberty."
Later today, Marcos was served with copies of documents filed in evidence against him Thursday in Manila in a graft case pending before President Corazon Aquino's Commission on Good Government.
The papers include Marcos' 1960-1966 tax returns, salary records for him and his wife from 1966 to 1976 and statements by Vancouver investor Jose Campos and by commission officer Bonifacio Gillego of New York on Marcos' corporate and real estate interests in the United States and elsewhere. Philippine authorities hope to show that Marcos never earned enough to acquire the assets he holds today.
Marcos' aide-de-camp in Honolulu confirmed that two telephone numbers reportedly used in calls to and from the hotel were listed at Marcos' rented waterfront home in suburban Niu Valley. A third number, now disconnected, was apparently in downtown Honolulu, and could not be immediately traced to a subscriber.
Col. Arturo Aruiza said Marcos called the hotel only to learn what was happening and to caution against violence and urge negotiation.
Aruiza said "almost everyone knows" the two home numbers at Niu Valley, and that "everyone makes a call when they want to make a good report. It's not human to receive such calls and remain silent and not ask questions."
From the timing of the calls, it appears that most or all took place after Tolentino took an "oath of office," claiming the presidency for himself. There is some confusion as to when he took the oath, but it apparently was between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Sunday, although one version of the day's events put it at 6 p.m.
Western diplomats here said earlier this week that they were convinced Marcos was involved in the decision "to take a crack at it," but quickly added they had no proof .
During the weekend incident, Tolentino produced a letter that he said was written by Marcos in April authorizing him in Marcos' absence to take an oath as the only legitimate president of the Philippines.
In Washington, Rep. John Conyers (D.-Mich.), chairman of the House criminal justice subcommittee, made an official request Thursday to Attorney General Edwin Meese III for a criminal investigation into Marcos' possible involvement in the revolt.
Conyers, whose subcommittee oversees the Justice Department's criminal division, cited a U.S. law prohibiting persons residing in the United States from plotting to overthrow friendly governments. Conyers said newspaper quotations from unnamed Reagan administration officials, and the remarks of Tolentino, pointed to a Marcos role.
A State Department spokesman said the administration was looking into the matter.
Staff writer Keith B. Richburg and special correspondent Walter Wright in Honolulu contributed to this report.