Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos called for the U.S. government to respect "our right to our dignity" as she returned to her Hawaii exile from New York where she pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges.
"I've just come back from the most harrowing and most inhuman experience of my life," Mrs. Marcos told reporters and about two dozen supporters after her arrival Monday night at Honolulu International Airport.Later, when she arrived at the couple's hillside estate, her husband, deposed Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, stood up from his wheelchair briefly and kissed her. He also was wearing a neck brace.
Marcos has been in a wheelchair but without a neck brace during his few public appearances since the indictments were returned last month.
The Marcoses are accused in federal indictments of plundering $103 million from the Philippine treasury, funneling it to foreign bank accounts and using it to buy prime New York City real estate and art.
Mrs. Marcos was allowed to return to Hawaii after posting a $5 million bond. Marcos, 71, remained in Hawaii after lawyers argued he was too ill to make the trip to New York for arraignment.
"I now pray . . . you (the U.S. government) will honor the territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines, a Third World country, respect our constitution and our laws and above all, give every human being our right to our dignity," she said.
Sobbing, she said, "God bless America. God Bless the Philippines," and got into a limousine to go to the Marcoses' hillside estate overlooking Honolulu, where they have lived since 1986.
She arrived aboard a jet owned by tobacco heiress Doris Duke, a long-time friend who also arranged her $5 million bond.
The Marcoses are to appear before FBI agents in Honolulu on Wednesday to give fingerprints, palm prints, and voice and handwriting samples under a court order issued in New York.
Two federal prosecutors from New York are in the Philippines to gather evidence in the case against the Marcoses, the U.S. Embassy in Manila said Tuesday.