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$100 BILLION IN DAMAGES SOUGHT FROM MARCOS’ HEIRS

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The Philippine government is dropping corruption charges against the late Ferdinand Marcos but will pursue his family and heirs to recover the billions of dollars he is accused of stealing from his people.

Judge Conrado Molina canceled a scheduled hearing of a graft case against the former president Tuesday, saying it was unseemly to proceed against "the defendant who has gone to the Great Beyond." Marcos died in exile in Hawaii last week.The case deals with Marcos' alleged acquisition of four choice buildings in New York City and is one of 35 civil suits the government has filed against Marcos and about 300 associates, accusing them of "plunder of the nation's wealth."

President Corazon Aquino's government is seeking about $100 billion in damages from the defendants, who include Marcos' wife, Imelda, and their children.

Aquino, who fears a Marcos funeral in the Philippines might spark violence, said it could be years before his corpse is allowed into the country. But she declared she would respect any Supreme Court decision on the ban.

Marcos' chief lawyer, Arturo Tolentino, said he understood negotiations were going on to allow Marcos' body to be brought home, but he gave no details.

In Honolulu, Marcos' son said Marcos won't be buried until after the Philippine Supreme Court rules whether the former president's body can be returned to his homeland.