Vice President Salvador Laurel left Thursday for Honolulu to meet with Ferdinand Marcos at the request of the exiled former leader's wife, Imelda, who said he is dying and wants to talk to him.

Laurel departed aboard Philippine Airlines Flight 106 at 7:29 p.m. (6:29 a.m. EST) for the nine-hour trip to Honolulu. He said he was on a "humanitarian mission" that he hoped would lead to "national reconciliation."In a statement, he said he had advised President Corazon Aquino about his departure "on the urgent request of President Marcos."

Aquino spokesman Teodoro Benigno said the president gave no instructions to the vice president because he has declared himself an opposition leader.

Aquino told reporters Laurel had said that "whatever he does now, he does as a leader of the opposition."

Laurel said Mrs. Marcos told him in two frantic telephone calls earlier Thursday her husband "has been advised by his doctors that he hasn't much time left to live."

"Since he cannot communicate with Cory, he is asking me to help communicate with Cory and the Filipino people," Laurel said. Cory is Aquino's nickname.

Laurel said he wanted to hear what Marcos has to say. He said Mrs. Marcos would not have asked him to go to Honolulu if the situation was not serious.

Marcos, 71, underwent surgery Wednesday for respiratory problems and was returned to the intensive care unit at the St. Francis Medical Center in critical condition.

Mrs. Marcos was admitted to the hospital after suffering a head injury when she fainted at the hospital.