U.S. immigration officials stood and prayed for Ferdinand Marcos to be allowed to return to the Philippines, a videotape shows.
Harold Ezell, western regional commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, asked the officials from several western states to join him in the prayer during an Aug. 3 party at Marcos' mansion overlooking Honolulu, The Honolulu Advertiser reported Sunday.The videotape of the three-hour party also shows Ezell embracing Marcos and dancing with Marcos' wife, Imelda, while Ezell's wife danced with the ousted Philippine president, said the newspaper, which did not reveal the source of the videotape.
"Eat your heart out," Ezell called out as he danced with Mrs. Marcos to the beat of "Don't Throw My Love Away."
Official U.S. policy since Marcos fled to exile here in 1986 has been to have Philippine President Corazon Aquino decide if Marcos will be allowed to return. Aquino has repeatedly refused Marcos' requests to return home, citing national security.
Ezell's subordinate, District Immigration Director William Craig, said the party has turned out to be a "magnificent blunder" for the agency, which he soon regretted and which caused him to consider resigning.
But an internal INS investigation concluded there was no wrongdoing and resulted in no disciplinary action, Craig said.
"We all agreed that that was possibly lousy judgment and if we had to do it again, no," Craig told the newspaper.