Diary of Augusto Caesar Espiritu

Thursday, October 12, 1972

On the way to the session hall this afternoon, I met Roseller Lim.

Nakuha na si Guingona,” Ller said grimly.

In the session hall, I sat beside Dr. Pinggoy and we talked about George. He said that actually George was taken in Capiz but was released after one week. He confirmed that the military had captured a subversive book from George. It was entitled The Ecumenical Revolution.

I did not attend the Sponsorship Council meeting any more because I know what was going to be taken up, namely, the assignments in the subcouncil groupings. I have already been informed that I am chairman of the first grouping on economic and fiscal policies and that Joe Concepcion and George Viterbo are my vice-chairmen.

It seems that we might yet finish the draft of the new Constitution earlier than we had previously anticipated. There is now a sense of urgency to finish it. Besides, the opposition has now been somewhat decimated in the Convention. It looks like by the end of December or, at the latest, end of January, the new Constitution will be ready for submission to the Filipino people. The question is when the plebiscite will be held.

In the evening, we went to Hotel Intercontinental to visit Ely Chiongbian Johnston. I had previously made an arrangement with Emil Ong that we were going to meet at the lobby of the hotel. Later, Pabling Trillana, Dancing Alfelor and Amado (Ding) Tolentino decided to join us. Still later, (Aying) Yniguez came along. When I arrived at the hotel lobby, they were all there already. They were chatting with Sen. Sonny Osmeña.

Sonny was insisting that he has it from reliable authority that he is not in the list. In any case, he said, he is not in hiding, and so far, he has not been bothered.

I corrected Sonny—almost impulsively, “You are wrong, Sonny. You and I were both in the list; in fact, our names followed each other. Fortunately for us, this is just the second list.”

Sonny Osmeña’s jaw fell.

Just then, the famous Teodoro (Doroy) Valencia—the super-columnist—appeared. Without provocation, he proclaimed in his soprano voice the latest of his achievements. Newsman Amando (Doro) Doronila would be released soon—on Doroy’s guarantee. Apparently, Doro Doronila was picked up at the Intercontinental Hotel on the very day he had arrived from Mongolia.

Doroy also boasted that it was because he has guaranteed Renato (Tato) Constantino that Tato has not been taken into custody. He added that he was turning three former Politburo men to Camp Crame this morning. And he is also responsible (to some extent) for the release of Flora Lansang.

I do not know how much one can believe Doroy. But he does command some influence in the community. Indeed, he is the most influential of our political columnists. I have disagreed with many of his obnoxiously rightist views many times. At the same time, however, I must admit that occasionally, I conciously massage his colossal ego because I cannot help but praise him for doing a great job of taking care of his kingdom—Rizal Park.

Shortly before we entered the elevator, Adrian Cristobal, a special assistant of Marcos, came by. Adrian is a great writer, just like his brilliant buddy, Blas Ople. I consider him a friend. In fact, when he was appointed secretary of labor, shortly after the inauguration of the Con-Con, he had invited me to his oath-taking in Malacañang. Innocently, I did go to the Palace. Upon seeing me there, the “First Lady,” Imelda, pleasantly greeted me with the words: “Aba, nandito pala ang mga radikal.” “Mabuti naman na paminsan-minsan ay na-dadalaw kayo ng mga radikal, I retorted, also pleasantly. It was then I discovered that the conjugal dictatorship had considered me a radical, and by inference, an enemy of the Marcos regime.

I wanted to test my suspicion that Adrian is the ghost writer of the very well-written book Today’s Revolution: Democracy, officially authored by the “First Gentleman.”

I complimented him on the quality of the book he had written. “It’s really good.”

He did not hide his pleasure on hearing this. “Only I can contradict the assumptions in that book,” he beamed.

We proceeded to Ely’s suite.

Aying Yniguez, son of the powerful Congressman Yniguez who is a close friend of Marcos, was the main character in the meeting. He said that he has been with President Marcos quite a number of times, and that at one session, he had told the President:

“Sir, I am a communist but I am a pro-Marcos communist.”

He said that Marcos is a kind man—very human—and that is the reason why Aying does not really mind being derisively called a Marcos “tuta.

Aying feels that Cong. Roquito Ablan, who is in the stockade, is going to be very deeply involved and his prospects are not very bright. In the case of Sen. Ninoy Aquino, he said, he might be able to save himself because of his popularity.

Speculate, speculate, speculate. This is all we can do now.

“The President is leading a leftist revolution, with the rightists being utilized by him to support his leftist revolution. If the President fails, the offshoot would be a military takeover.”

Aying claims that he is a trade unionist (he is supposed to be a labor leader in Leyte), and very anti-military in his orientation.

He feels that the CIA was not initially behind the proclamation of martial law. It was only recently that they supported it. He was actually at Malacanang with his father, Congressman Yniguez, when the top CIA man in Manila went to see the President.

“I know that the CIA is operating in the Philippines, but you did not give me even the courtesy of letting me know about it,” President Marcos was supposed to have ungraciously told the CIA group, as he unceremoniously dismissed them: “Good day, gentlemen.”

Gerry Johnston, the American husband of Delegate Ely Chiongbian, felt differently. He thinks that all the major changes in the political and military sections of the American Embassy tend to show that the Embassy knew all along that this was going to happen. And this Ambassador Byroade, he said, is coincidentally the same man who was involved in some operations in Vietnam.

How strange it was to hear this from Gerry!

My own gut feeling is that a certain amount of American complicity has surely attended the imposition of martial law. Marcos would not have dared take such a drastic move without American approval, express or implied. From President Johnson, who had coaxed Marcos into sending a Filipino engineer batallion to Vietnam, winning for him a state visit to Washington and a glowing endorsement by Johnson as his “right arm in Asia,” to President Nixon, who had openly shown his support for Marcos by sending California Gov. Ronald Reagan to Manila when Marcos ran for reelection three years ago, there have been indications that the U.S. was prepared, from the start, to accept the imposition of martial law because it was upset over the growing demonstrations in Manila and its (wrong) perception was that the Con-Con was taking a strong anti-American stance.

American business in the Philippines was, of course, anything but unsympathetic.

Aying also confided to us that, according to Bebet Duavit, President Marcos supports wholeheartedly the transitory provision of the new Constitution (a rather great understatement!).

Aying then asked my help in getting a unanimous vote.

“But Aying, I might be out of the country when this happens,” I demurred.

Aying was not convinced. “You will still be here because this thing will be taken up next week already. You cannot possibly be out of the country then—even if you wanted to.”

Next week? This is hard to believe. The transitory provision would be taken up next week? Marcos would like a grateful nation to crown him next week? Certainly not! This should be taken up, if at all, next year!

It will be next year, I convinced myself before I went to bed.

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