I'm being used, says 'son of Marcos'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2001, 12:00am

A businessman wanted by the ICAC and claiming to be the son of former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos has phoned from New York to tell an associate he is being 'used'.

Speaking after he was interviewed by the Independent Commission Against Corruption yesterday, a 33-year-old associate of Edilberto Marcos said the businessman had telephoned him from a New York hotel on Sunday.

'Ed told me to ignore the papers,' the associate said. Marcos had also told him to bide his time and indicated that he, Marcos, was being used, without adding more details.

The associate said he still believed the man was genuinely a Marcos and still counted the businessman as a friend - even though Marcos owed him about $1.3 million.

He had witnessed Marcos associating with Filipinos from the senior echelons of politics and the military, including people who knew the Marcos family. 'If he's a fake, a lot of people are telling a lie,' he said.

'Even if I'm wrong, I have the right to say Ed is real in my heart,' he said. 'This is kind of like a Hollywood movie. I don't know why this happened to me.'

The pair met about two years ago when Marcos came into his now-defunct luggage shop in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, buying expensive luggage and using US dollars without haggling. 'He said I should just call him Ed. He didn't mention Marcos.'

Sometimes, Marcos sent people to him to borrow cash so the businessman could pay for the large groups of people he took out to dinner. The associate gave luggage to contacts of Marcos on the understanding the businessman would pay him back.

Former employees confirmed Marcos had been in constant communication through conference calls with them from New York months after he left in October last year. He promised he would return with US$100 million (HK$780 million) in investments.

Employees say Marcos is living with a Filipino starlet in New York, on whom he has lavished diamonds, a house in the Philippines and a new Mercedes.

Marcos is married to a former model, whom he wed in Hong Kong last year. Staff described how he would always travel with a phalanx of bodyguards, mostly Filipino military men.

One of his projects was the proposed Philippine International City and Country Club. It would have been built on the site where the Filipino Club in Hunghom now stands.

The ICAC wants Marcos over an alleged international plot to use US$148 billion in fake US Federal Reserve notes to get credit from local banks. Two men alleged to be part of the syndicate were arrested on March 26, accused of trying to use a fake note as security when their cheques for a $1.6 million bill for the presidential suite of the Hyatt Regency Hotel bounced.