The Ghost Of Marcos Past

Benigno Aquino was the Blast Filipino leader to come home from exile, and his 1983 assassination at the airport set a revolution in motion. Now could another returning politician trigger turmoil-this time from a refrigerated casket? President Corazon Aquino has permitted Imelda Marcos to bring back the remains of her husband, the deposed president Ferdinand Marcos, who died in Hawaii two years ago. But Aquino is worried. Marcos's corpse has never been laid to rest. Superstitious Filipinos say that explains recent natural disasters such as last summer's eruption of the Mount Pinatubo volcano. Some officials even fear that once he is buried, Marcos supporters could disinter his bones and worship them.

Aquino is taking a calculated risk. Imelda's return could be Manila's last hope of recovering some of the $350 million the Marcoses allegedly siphoned into Swiss bank accounts. Prosecutors plan to try the former First Lady on 11 counts of tax evasion. Switzerland has threatened to unfreeze the Marcos assets if Manila doesn't prosecute by December. While lawyers negotiate over Ferdinand's final resting place, Imelda is planning a Nov. 4 arrival in Manila. That could mean political trouble for Aquino: a recent "Imelda is in our hearts" signature campaign was successful. Her lawyers claim concern about potential assassins, though protection is in the government's interest. According to Imelda, "only God" will keep her away now.