Saturday, September 30, 1972

I did not sleep well last night, not even in this other place where I am hiding and filling out my diary for today.

I anxiously sought out Edong Angara and requested him again to ask Enrile to scratch out my name. Edong replied that while the heat is on we might as well tide things over because in any case I have nothing to worry about. “We should wait perhaps a few weeks,” he said.

I was crestfallen.

In my gloom, I had a chance encounter with Ernesto (Ernie) Rondon. I asked him if the military had not tried to arrest him. He said not. But then, when I was talking to Edong an hour earlier, Edong was very certain that Ernie was in the primary list. “In fact,” he had told me, “if I could see Ernie again, I should warn him.”

The list! Always the list! Who could have prepared this list of the damned?

There was some intermission to break the tension.

I had to read on Teilhard de Chardin for my speech in the afternoon before the United Nations Association of the Philippines. Prof. Emy Arcellana of UP spoke on the government aspect, while NEDA Sec. Vicente Valdepeñas spoke on the economic aspect of de Chardin’s works. O.D. Corpuz of UP did not appear but Mrs. Hizon of St. Joseph’s College pitched in for him and talked about education. Afterwards, I made a summary of the papers presented and my interpretation of Chardin’s general vision.

My former English professor, J.D. Constantino, T.O.C.G., of the Carmelite Order, was ecstatic about my presentation. She announced that I was her candidate for president of the UP. She told the audience that I would be excellent for president. Later, she told me in confidence that last year, when there was talk of S.P. Lopez resigning as president of the state university, she had batted for me. She addded that some people had thought that I was too young for it, but now she said she would put me up again for the presidency.

It was very gratifying. Miss Constantino and I had always been quite close. She is a highly spiritual woman.

Letty Ramos-Shahani, that very intelligent foreign affairs official, who graduated from Wellesley College and the Sorbonne, gave me a tremendous buildup in her introduction. In fact, the introduction was unduly flattering and unmerited. But the lecture was very well received. I was so happy over this that for a while, I even forgot, my problem with the military!

As I was leaving the session hall in the afternoon, I heard somebody calling me, “Caesar! Caesar!” It turned out to be Nita Lichauco, Queen of Ding’s household. Surprisingly, she appeared to be in very high spirits.

“You know, Ding is having a ball in the stockade. Everyone seems to be well-treated in the stockade,” she blurted. She thought they will grow stronger because the lights are out by 10:00 o’clock in the evening, and they have to get up at 5:30 o’clock in the morning for their exercise. The food is good and they live in the gym in several bunkers.

“What are you trying to tell me?” I asked in jest. “That Ding’s nocturnal escapades have come to an abrupt end?”

“I also saw Joe Concepcion in the stockade drinking his Royal True Orange,” Nita laughed, then continued, “Last night, the home of Father (Pacifico) Ortiz was raided; according to rumors, he would be arrested tonight.”

Didn’t Rizal write that laughter is the best means of concealing pain?

And why should such a civic-minded do-gooder like Joe Concepcion be there? I mused. He might break down. He is a boy scout. He would have some rightist tendencies, all right, but then he is a business tycoon, after all. But he is also community-service oriented, striving to be a Christian in his own way. It seems to be quite unfair.

I related the story to Rebeck later. He was also taken by surprise. How could Joecon be possibly arrested? Possibly because he has been undertaking so many opinion polls and surveys?

Our concern for Joecon was soon superseded by sad musings over our own fate.

If guys like Joecon could be taken, Rebeck said, it is quite possible that many of us will be taken, too.

Now my poor brother is almost resigned to the possibility of joining Joecon and Ding in the stockade.


Sept. 30, 1972 Saturday

Marcos Diaries 1972_158 Marcos Diaries 1972_159

(1)

11:15 PM

sept. 30, 1072

Saturday

Malacañan Palace

Manila

Tillwan Durdin of New York Times has now reported favorably on the developments in Manila contrary to his initial reports. I attach cabled report on his story and other stories.

Since the New York Times is the bell weather of American newspaper sentiment, this should mark the generally favorable reaction to martial law.

This morning at 9:30 I met all the generals at Camp Aguinaldo. I cautioned them against complacency arising out of the euphoria of easy victory; to watch October a it may be the crucial month; that the reform movement and the creation of the New Society is our principal objective and keeping down criminality and prices is the urgent and immediate objective; that it is easier to win a war or a revolution (for no matter how peaceful or constitutional it is, it is a revolution) than it is to run a government; but that I am confident in their capacity to continue the excellent performance.

Increased allowances of enlisted men and pay of officers.

 

(2)

Sept. 30th (Con’t)

Malacañan Palace

Manila

Decreased the rates of Meralco to 20.9% from 36%. This is the crying need of the people. I attach the order as well as other orders I signed today.

Antonio Roxas Chua and the other sugar dealers and traders were apprehended for hoarding and profiteering. They were also getting ₱10 a bag of sugar sold to industrial users.

He has offered to sell all his sugar at controlled prices. So have the others.

I attach his offer through Ralph Nubla whom I authorized to see him.

The Meralco oligarchs are trying to see me. The head of the clan, Eugenio Lopez Sr., has been trying to get me by telephone. Now the son (Junior) has asked to meet with Gov. Kokoy Romualdez. They sent Tony Ayala. They are also going to see Bobby Benedicto who has arrived.

I am sure it is about the rates.

I intend to review all power rates thoughout the Philippines.


Sept. 29, 1972, Friday

Marcos Diaries 1972_156 Marcos Diaries 1972_157

(1)

12:25 PM

Sept. 29, 1972

Friday

Malacañan Palace

Manila

Sec. Vicente Abad Santos on the removal of judges: He is against the outright dismissal of civil service employees.

But I have decided to amend the civil service rules so as to add two new categories of punishment without going through a final hearing in addition to dismissal by an investigator. These are removal of those against whom charges are pending in which the evidence of guilt is strong and those that are notoriously undesirable so that it can be taken judicial notice of.

CIR judges have been removed except Judge Veloso and Paredes.

All Public Service Commissioners except Asst. Com. de Guzman also reorganized out.

I have asked Dr. Genaro de Bega to request Judges Wilfrido Angeles of Quezon City, Vivencio Ruiz of Makati, Herminio Mariano of Pasig to resign.

And I have dismissed 200 Customs men and 190 BIR men.

 

(2)

Sept. 29th (Con’t)

Malacañan Palace

Manila

Kokoy reports that the International Press has become favorable.

Increased the allowances of the officers and men of the AFP.

Provided ₱13 million for the equipment of three new PA battalions.

Imelda is working on the commissary for the AFP.

Prices have gone down except sugar which is not available.

Tony Roxas Chua, the principal sugar trader has been arrested with others for price fixing.

Am writing Pres. Nixon on the reasons for Martial Law.


Friday, September 29, 1972

“Bakit nasa labas ka pa?” some people at the External Affairs Committee greeted me half jokingly, half fearfully.

Nene Pimentel was particularly feeling close to me. He felt that he was probably next in line to be taken into custody. He kept saying that somehow we would get in touch. He was in a dilemma as he did not know whether to go home to Cagayan de Oro or to stay in Manila. This dilemma was heightened by the fact that some 20 minutes earlier, he had met Tony Alano who told him that he has seen in the list kept by Babes Navarro at the Con-Con, Nene’s name, Rebeck’s and mine.

I proceeded to my doctor, Dr. Steve Pineda, to ask him to give me the next series of medicines that I have to take for my ulcerative colitis because of the possibility that I, too, might soon be arrested. Although Enrile had said that I should not worry, I felt I should nevertheless be prepared for the worst.

I proceeded to the Congressional Economic Planning Office (CEPO) afterwards. I am still unofficially an economic adviser to Joe Romero’s CEPO—chairman of his economic advisory board, in fact, with Teodoro Peña, Jaime Laya, Conrado Pascual and Gregorio Con-con as my members.

A meeting was going on. The staff members were discussing what to do next. They decided that, under the circumstances, CEPO need not disband until after they shall have been asked to do so by the leadership of the House of Representatives.

From the CEPO, I went to Rebeck and told him that according to Nene, he too, was in the list.

Rebeck was taken by surprise and was palpably discouraged.

We both thought that there is a possibility that these are only rumors. How could Enrile be so reckless as to give out several lists? Nevertheless, it would be necessary to check the matter. He was going to phone Tony Alano.

I am quite grateful to God that so far, I have been safe.


Sept. 28, 1972, Thursday

Marcos Diaries 1972_155 Marcos Diaries 1972_156

 

(1)

12:55 PM

Sept. 28, 1972

Thursday

Malacañan Palace

Manila

The legitimate use of force on chosen targets is the incontestable secret of the reform movement.

Restrained force will bring about the New Society.

And the Reformation is coming about without any obstacle.

Gerry Roxas wanted to be invited to meet with me. But the Liberal leaders all want to join up now that martial law is a success.

For that matter, everyone now wants to be identified with the Reform Movement.

Freddie Elizalde who has been a critic has come (brought by Adrian Cristobal) to offer a plan of indoctrination of the masses.

But we already have such a plan. And this must be indoctrination by participation –inflexible justice and actual involvement.

The reasons for change can be articulated later.

 

(2)

Sept. 28th (Con’t)

Malacañan Palace

Manila

I have asked Armand Fabella to organize a Think Tank.

Then I will organize a group of men to follow up projects.

Johnny Gatbonton and T.S.J. George of Far East Review interviewed me at 1100-1:20 am.

We do not want another Vietnam nor another mainland China. If the Communists did not succeed in its plot to overthrow the Republic, the economy would have collapsed anyway because of the paralyzation of the government and business.

Received the lists of the Customs and BIR men to be dismissed tomorrow. Prepared the request for the judges to resign.

I am preparing the Educational Reform Act.

October will be the critical month. The Communists and criminals may be able to regroup.

We have to attend to criminality (keep it down) and food prices, repair the roads up to October.


Thursday, September 28, 1972

The note on my desk said I should ring up Sig Siguion-Reyna. It was 6:00 o’clock p.m.

Another note was marked “Urgent.” I should call up my brother Rebeck.

I called up Rebeck first. He informed me that Beth Mateo, Bobbit Sanchez’ secretary, had called him up to say that I was in the “list” and that, according to Bobbit, I should call up Sig.

I called up Sig.

“Where are you?”

“I am at home.”

“Well, why don’t you come over?” Apprehension was apparent in his voice.

“Is it serious, Sig?” My voice trembled. “If it is, may I request you to contact immediately Johnny Ponce Enrile. We are good friends and he knows me very well. It is very important that he be notified.”

Rebeck decided to meet me at Sig’s office to give me company. Sig was waiting for me. It was quarter past seven o’clock. He had a forced smile on his face.

He immediately took us to his room. Then almost solemnly, he said that he had gone to the session hall and that one of his primary reasons for going there was to see me. He then told me that last night, he was at the house of Enrile and while they were chatting, Sig was casually looking over the military’s thick list of the persons to be arrested. Suddenly, he saw—because he was farsighted—my name and that of (Senator) Sonny Osmeña’s in the secondary list.

It must be really serious. This is it, I gasped.

I was now getting to be unhappily resigned to the idea that I might be arrested and detained by the military. Are we not all of us—atheists or believers—really fatalists at heart?

I asked him if Enrile knew that my name was there.

Sig did not know, but he made me promise that I would never mention to anyone that he was the one who told me. But he was emphatic that my name was there.

“I saw it very clearly: Espiritu, Augusto Caesar.”

“I should like to see Johnny.” I was getting anxious.

Sig said that it would be quite obvious he was my informer if he took me to Enrile. Although they are brothers-in-law, Sig did not want it said that he has betrayed Enrile’s trust.

The only advice he could give me, he said, was for me not to sleep in my house tonight. He said that in any case he promised that whether he saw Enrile or not today, he is going to see him if and when I am “picked up.”

“Not after I am picked up, Sig… before!” I shrieked.

I repeated that Enrile and I are quite good friends; we have known each other for more than 23 years and he personally knows I have not done anything wrong.

Well, Sig said, the problem with Enrile at this time is, he would not recognize any relations or friends.

He was not too reassuring but he tried to demonstrate that he is a real friend.

I asked Sig’s opinion on the advisability of my seeing Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos. Eddie Ramos knows me, too.

Sig thought that General Ramos would be tight-lipped. He is a soldier; he only obeys orders.

“Do you think I can see Johnny?” I repeated, as in a trance.

Sig repeated that it was untimely for him to take me to Enrile. He felt it would be quite difficult to see him, anyway, because of so many security men around his house.

Then I asked if perhaps I could talk to Estelito (Titong) Mendoza, the solicitor-general, who is one of my really closest friends. Sig thought that there is very little contact between Titong and Enrile. In any case, he thought that the key man here is Enrile, not Titong Mendoza, not Eddie Ramos.

I asked Sig if, perhaps, Edong Angara could help.

Ah, yes, Edong, he replied. I could ask Edong’s help because he was also at Enrile’s house last night.

Sig can be such a terrible rightist at times that I get exasperated with him. Nevertheless, I am somewhat fond of him; he is actually a good friend. I am grateful.

Sig and I are both nonpoliticians. We had first met when we were campaigning for the Con-Con in Caloocan. The vice-mayor of the city wanted to have us greet some people he had gathered together. Sig and I rushed to shake the hands of the people, hardly looking at their faces. Just like politicians, we just shook hundreds of hands in thirty minutes flat when, to our embarrassment and dismay, Sig and I suddenly discovered we were shaking each other’s hand! We have since been associated in some business activities.

How many seconds did it take me, in my bewildered state, to negotiate the several hundred meters distance between Sig’s office and Edong’s?

The ACCRA (Angara Law Office) partners were all there at the office: Edong, Teddy Regala, Ave Cruz, Jose Concepcion and others.

Still panting, I walked into their conference room.

“Oh, you are still out?” they laughed in banter. “We thought that you would now be at the stockade.”

They were, of course, speaking lightly, but their words only added to my apprehensions.

I asked Edong whether he had heard anything about me.

“You are in the list.” He was forthright. But he added that I was only in the secondary list. He was not sure whether Enrile had said that he was going to scratch my name out or that my name was going to be withheld.

I asked him whether we could see Enrile. He dialed a certain number and very soon, he was talking to Enrile’s wife, Cristina. Apparently, Edong is really in direct contact with Enrile.

“I might as well tell you that Caesar Espiritu is here beside me. We are thinking of going to see Johnny because Caesar is in the list.”

He asked whether he could talk to Johnny over the phone. Afterwards, he hanged up because he said that Johnny was on the other line. Then he said we should see Johnny later on.

After a while, he decided that perhaps it might be better for him to go ahead to Johnny’s place; he would call me up from there.

After another 30 minutes, Edong was on the phone. Enrile was meeting with some generals, and, therefore, we would not be able to see him. He consoled me, however, with the news that he had talked to Enrile. Enrile had said that I should not worry because he was going to “withhold” my name. He kept assuring me that if Johnny Enrile said I should not worry , then I should rest assured.

I was not quite sure about what “withhold” means.

“Ed, it would even be better if he could scratch out my name,” I pleaded.

I am not sleeping in the house tonight.


Sep. 27, 1972, Wednesday

Marcos Diaries 1972_151 Marcos Diaries 1972_152 Marcos Diaries 1972_153

(1)

1:30 AM Sept 28th

Sept. 27, 1972

Wednesday

Malacañan Palace

Manila

Met the Bishops Councils Executive Committee of Mons. Gavola, Alberto, Mon Diu and Fr.                . They promised to help in the reform program and wanted to publish a resolution.

They confidently gave me information on a Carlos Selles who is supposedly being paid to assassinate me. He is supposed to be a Panamanian like a Negro and has suddenly become affluent as he is opening deposit accounts in different banks.

Gen. Ver has traced his residence in Pasay and we will apprehend him for questioning.

Sec. Abad Santos has prepared a plan to ask the judges to voluntarily resign.

And we will do the same in the Bureau of Customs and the BIR, LTC, CIR and other offices.

 

(2)

Sept. 27th (Con’t)

Malacañan Palace

Manila

I was interviewed by John Nance and Gil Santos of AP.

Traced the study of martial law to the writing of the book “Today’s Revolution -Democracy” and my revolution from the top or the center.

How the present peaceful revolution is a legal exercise of force to attain revolutionary objectives.

The setting and justification of a proclamation of martial law -the awakening to the threat in the Dagojo, Palawan landings, the rise in uncontrolled criminality both petty and syndicated, the paralyzation of government and business in the wake of the bombings, ambushes and the kidnappings –then the review of the captured documents and their reassessment showing that all that was happening had been planned a long time ago although the criminals were taking advantage of the confusion.

And the fundamental requisite of peace and order and reform for a New Society to be created out of the chaos and helplessness that governed everyone.

(3)

Sept. 27th (Con’t)

Malacañan Palace

Manila

Joe de Venecia suggests a meeting with Gerry Roxas so that the Liberals may cooperate on the reforms. He suggested I invite Gerry to a conference tomorrow. But this may involve a compromise of our strong no-exception stance.

So I have not accepted the suggestion.

Everybody is saying how swiftly the peaceful revolution was accomplished. John Nance told Imelda “You did not expect it to be so neatly done.”

Will it be said by history that the communist threat was just a legal justification for a legal use of force?

Then let it also be said that it was a constitutional revolution –And that it was necessary to reform society — to convert a “sick society” into the “New Society.”


Tuesday, September 26, 1972

Michael Mastura was going to discuss the Christian-Muslim conflict in Cotabato at our ALDEC religious gathering. We were frantically asking Pastor Jun Lagunsad and Louise Palm to fetch Michael. I knew that he has become very reluctant about his speaking engagements because he, also, is afraid. He confided his apprehensions to me yesterday: he could be in the dreaded “list” (of those to be arrested by the military) because he has been critical of the government. There was an item in the Daily Mirror in which he was reported to be blaming President Marcos for the Christian-Muslim conflict.

I calmed his fears. There would be no problem because this was a group of earnest Christians trying to find out the truth in order to understand our realities—that’s all. They were young Christian leaders from some 12 countries who were caught by martial law and could not fly over to Cotabato for an actual look into the deteriorating relations between Christians and Muslims there.

Finally, Michael arrived at 11:00. By then, I had sacrificed my attendance at the Sponsorship Council meeting of the Con-Con.

Two hours later, at the Con-Con session hall, Ding Lichauco looked at me with gratitude for my concern. He seemed quite tense. He said that he was not sure whether he would be arrested or not. He has been half expecting to be taken since last Saturday.

I told him that if he was going to be taken into custody at all, he might as well give up and not entertain any thought of hiding because his chances of survival would be greater by giving up.

I felt sorry for Ding. Ding is not guilty of subversion.

“I am peeved at the straitjacket methods of some of our activist students. I think they have a pretty shallow analysis of the situation,” I comforted him. “Of course, I believe in their struggle for human liberation, but I work for liberation from a Christian perspective not in terms of a violent revolution.”

Ding was emphatic that he did not believe in Maoism either. In fact, he said, these “radical” students are guilty of adventurism. He said that his article on imperialism, precisely, was not Marxist in analysis or approach. He said he has done more to arouse nationalism among our people with his paper on imperialism than the activists have done with their Maoist slogans.

We felt that many Maoists in our country are both adventurists and romanticists who actually are far more dogmatic with their doctrines than we had supposed them to be.

“How long would the detention last, if it should come?” There was a faint note of desperation in Ding’s voice. “Tito Guingona has told me that martial law would last forever.”

Ding, in his agitated state of mind, was losing his rationality.

“Don’t believe Tito. After the government shall have caught the people it would like to catch, martial law would probably be lifted. And you could always read and write in the stockade,” I comforted him.

“But what if it should last for a year?” His voice trailed off.

“No, I don’t think it would last that long. Besides, you are not guilty of any crime.”

After about 30 minutes of our conversation, I said as a parting remark: “In the remote possibility that you are taken, Ding, send an SOS. I may be able to help you in some way.”

“Yes,” he replied sadly.

I left Ding and went to Bobbit Sanchez and Caling Lobregat.

Ten tense minutes passed. Suddenly Caling came to me and bent towards me.

“Ding has just been taken by the military.”

“What?” Unnerved, I slumped on my seat.

Sig Siguion-Reyna came to me and whispered that he was with Defense Minister Johnny Enrile, his brother-in-law, last night. These people mean business, he said. While he was with Enrile, they talked about a news item that Roquito Ablan was seen at Forbes Park. Sig said that Enrile himself ordered his soldiers: “Well, let’s put him immediately in the stockade, otherwise the people might say we are playing favorites with these people. We must get him in immediately.”

Likewise, when he was with Enrile, there was a phone call from President Marcos asking Enrile whether Mrs. Gordon, the mother of delegate Dick Gordon, was in the list. Enrile answered that she was in the first list but that he had already taken out her name. Enrile told Marcos he didn’t know why she was arrested by the military in spite of the fact that her name had already been taken out of the list.

But who prepared the list of politicians, student leaders, newsmen and dissenters to be arrested? It could not be Enrile because he knows me quite well. He knows I’m neither a Communist nor a man of violence; simply a practicing Christian who believes in the need for democratizing wealth and economic power in a society whose hallmark is that of distressing social and economic inequalities. Indeed, if we should really want to achieve development, we have to institute radical changes in our social structures, even as we should work for far-reaching changes in the structures of the world economy.

Sig warned us that there are many people in the list, and that the arrests have only started. He has also heard over the radio that according to President Marcos, mere speculations and rumors are punishable.

“In other words, do not speculate, do not spread rumors, do not think.”

Pabling Trillana interrupted our talk. He told me in a subdued tone that he had just signed a manifesto passed on to him by Tito Guingona.

“What was it about?” I asked.

“The manifesto opposing martial law, similar to the Diokno manifesto I signed and passed around four days ago.”

“You must be careful,” I advised him like an elder brother.

He became visibly afraid. He pleaded with me to talk with Tito Guingona and persuade him to try to “hold” the document that he had signed.

I continued advising Pabling Trillana. This is not the time for these things. We are now under difficult conditions.

He repeated his plea for me to talk with Tito.

I went to Tito. He was tense. He showed me the manifesto. He asked me to sign it, but I demurred.

“In fact, for your own safety, you should not release that,” I chided Tito. “Mrs. Trono has just told me she was worried about you because you are in the ‘list.'”

Mrs. Trono, although a Marcos supporter, showed genuine concern. “Guingona is innocent and is a good man. To all of you, young people who are innocent, please keep quiet. What can you do?”

Here was a rabid Marcos partisan—a political enemy—now showing sympathy for us. The springs of human compassion are indeed inexhaustible!

“Ninoy Aquino is so powerful but where is he now? What can you do? And you, Caesar, please don’t get involved. You with your transparent idealism, you should be serving your people, not be languishing in jail. And please tell Guingona not to get involved.”

I related all these to Tito, but he seemed ready for martyrdom. “We might as well express our last words before being taken in.” There was a note of bravado in his tone of voice.

“But there is no sense trying to be a martyr by courting detention. And what do we achieve? If we have to speak out, and risk our lives, let us do so. But let us be sure of our objective. Let us act at the right moment.”

“After all, we would just insert it in the records. He would not read it before the Convention.”

“Tito, you are a patriot. You and I are about to be arrested. Should we also get our friends involved?”

Could this be a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Is it not better to be a live coward than a dead hero? I salute Tito. Indeed, there are moments in our lives when we are compelled to certify what we think and what we believe.


Sept. 26, 1972, Tuesday

Marcos Diaries 1972_149 Marcos Diaries 1972_150

11:55 PM

Sept. 26, 1972

Tuesday

Malacañan Palace

Manila

The second day without any reported crime and an almost unanimous endorsement of the proclamation of martial law.

Amended Proclamation No. 1081 and Gen. Order No. 2 and issued a statement on the validity of obligations and past contracts.

I attach copies.

Spoke to the separate unit commanders and the major service commanders at the ceremonial hall: The proclamation of martial law is a constitutional exercise of power; it is not a coup d’etat nor military take over, it being a legitimate exercise of power, the government is a constitutional government, the reforms are necessary to win the battle because this battle is not just the battle with guns but the minds and hearts of our people, that reform will counteract subversion which is the bigger battle; that the use of media a legitimate necessity.

 

(2)

Sept. 26th (Con’t)

Malacañan Palace

Manila

Then finished the decree of reform and the abolition of the PSC and removal of GAB chairman Montano.

In the afternoon I gave the first interview to Tillman Durdin of the New York Times and later to the UPI Vic Maliwanag and Pat Killen.

They asked how long it would last –I will keep it only as long as necessary- “To dismantle the communist apparatus” and this includes the reforms I envision.

For a corrupt government cannot long last -or a sick and criminally infected society.

“I hope before the end of my term.”

The Con Con and Congress continue. The power of the President merely augments the deficiencies.