Tony Ceniza, a member of my Class ’52 at the UP College of Law, was in a big mood for talking. He belonged to the President Garcia faction which became the nucleus of the Marcos Group in the Convention after the death of Garcia.
Tony told me why Willy Cainglet, who was a staunch member of the Independent-Progressive group in the early days, finally was lost to us. During the campaign for the presidency, Tony had asked Willy to help him in electing President Garcia. However, Willy said he was already then committed to the bloc of Raul Manglapus.
I do remember that Willy was one of those who had looked up to me after our meeting in Zamboanga. He was wavering between staying with Raul or shifting his support to me. If I had met him earlier, he intimated, he would surely have tried to support me instead of Manglapus.
“Never mind,” I had said to him then, “Raul is a man of integrity whom I respect highly and, together with Tito Guingona, we are in coalition.” However, according to Tony, Willy voted the way he did — against the ban-dynasty resolution—because he had felt isolated.
For about a year now, Willy has been feeling that he has been abandoned by the Independent-Progressive bloc. During the election for floor leaders in July of last year, apparently, Willy Cainglet had felt that he was junked by Raul Manglapus’ faction for Mangontawar Guro (who has, like several other Muslim delegates, become a Marcos supporter in the meantime), despite the fact that he, Willy, was senior to Guro in the Manglapus group.
There is a general feeling in the Convention that all the Muslim delegates are pro-Marcos. But there may be exceptions. Michael Mastura (and Sandy Sambolawan) had, until lately, been acting almost like an independent, except that in the ban-dynasty resolution, he had also voted “No.” He is a good man, otherwise, a bright, conscientious young man in many ways. He is a fair hope of our Muslim brethren.
Former Senator Domacao (Domi) Alonto, likewise, is probably not a Marcos supporter and there may be a few other Muslims who are not.
Jun Badoy joined me for some small talk. He said he and Tony Ceniza knew that Tony Tupaz had manipulated my defeat in our pre-Convention primary with Tito Guingona. (The primary was to decide who between Tito and me should be nominated for the presidency of the Convention to run against Presidents Garcia and Macapagal.)
He continued, “Tupaz pretended to be a member of the Independent-Progressive bloc and brought in ten Garcia delegates to vote for Tito and Tito’s lead over you was only six votes. The reason? President Garcia felt you would be a more formidable prospective opponent for the Convention presidency than Tito because you have an ideology.”
I told him I did not think of deserting the Independent-Progressive bloc in spite of my defeat in the primary because I am there not because of any political or personal consideration. I am there for a cause. And I consider Tito a good man, a good friend and a loyal ally.
Jun Badoy expressed some disappointment over the fact that Raul Manglapus, the leader of the largest faction in our group, had supported Bert Misa over him in a committee chairmanship fight. Nevertheless he, like me, has remained a member of the Independent-Progressives because of conviction.
Tony Ceniza came to my desk again and talked to me about the devastating column of Apolonio Batalla in today’s Bulletin in which Batalla has enumerated some 157 delegates as “being moved as one by the invisible hand of Malacañang.” According to Tony, this listing has caused for us the loss of about seven votes on the ban resolution; it made some people waver.
Pete Rodriguez, for example, who had all along been for the ban, did waver quite a bit when the column came out. He could not be called a pro-Marcos man, but then he had thought he might as well vote “No” because, anyway, he was being wrongly dubbed a Marcos supporter. He only changed his vote upon hearing President Macapagal’s speech urging us to vote “Yes.” The appeal of Macapagal for the delegates to reckon with the judgment of history swayed Pete. As Tony Ceniza laughingly said, “Pete Rodriguez decided at the last moment to shift back to his original position and to vote for history.”
Then he said there were two of them who had filed amendments to the ban-dynasty resolution. Actually, according to Ceniza, he was prepared to vote “Yes” on the resolution. He had wanted only one amendment—to change the word “occupy.” He said that the resolution, as worded, could lead to the interpretation that upon the effectivity of the Constitution, Marcos would automatically forfeit his seat.
Jun Badoy and I clarified that that was not the intention, but Tony insisted, “Why risk this interpretation?”
In any case, he said, Samuel (Sammy) Occeña—another one of our bright and sincere members of the Independent-Progressives but who is also somewhat obsessed with raising points of order—prematurely moved for the previous question because he had felt that the chances of winning were good, after that magnificent Macapagal speech. This prevented Tony from presenting his amendment. And so, he voted “No.”
Tony Ceniza surmised that it was Pepe Calderon who had furnished the “list” of the supposed blind supporters of Malacañang to Bulletin columnist Batalla. The list was recklessly long and obviously inaccurate. But could my name be there if that list came from Pepe? I can’t believe it was he who gave the “list.”
“As a matter of fact,” Tony continued nonetheless, “Linda Ampatuan had singled out Pepe Calderon in her speech. And this was brought out clearly in the first series of the Batalla columns.”