Diary of Augusto Caesar Espiritu

Saturday, October 21, 1972

I have been sleeping in different places. I don’t want to be arrested at night.

From Parañaque where I slept last night, I proceeded to Pepe Calderon’s house to help go over the draft of the explanation of our vote yesterday.

On my way to Pepe’s place, I dropped by the Unimart Shopping Center at Greenhills for doughnuts and orange float. Along came Defense Undersecretary Joe Crisol with his little boy. We chatted for five minutes. I recited to him the exact wordings of the key provision. He commented that these are similar to the provisions of the Weimar Republic. He said that the powers are so broad, so sweeping. There is really no date fixed; the President can postpone forever a calling of the Assembly. And then he asked, “What if Marcos dies in the meantime?”

“We have not made any provision,” I said.

            Masyado naman… masyado naman, he uttered in disgust.

Was I hearing correctly? Was this not Marcos’ undersecretary?

In the evening, in Pepe Calderon’s house were Totoy Nepomuceno, Joe Feria, Fr. Pacifico Ortiz, Joe Feliciano, Pepe Calderon. I arrived late. I understood that Naning Kalaw was there earlier.

The draft of the explanation of our votes was written by Totoy. By the time I arrived, some improvements had already been made by Joe Feria and Ortiz.

Joe Feliciano added the last phrase we objected to, “particularly the grant of excessive powers and the carte blanche on the acts of the President.” The “carte blanche” was suggested by me.

During the discussion, Ortiz said that he had spoken to Ven Yaneza about these sweeping powers which, in the words of Joe Feliciano, would make the president a virtual dictator. He said that Yaneza had said that this was from the President himself; this was a condition made by the international financiers for the granting of loans to the Philippines.

The IMF and the World Bank again squeezing the necks of the Filipino people?

“In other words, this is a second parity,” Ortiz wryly commented.

“Damn Marcos!” I muttered.

Ortiz looked at me. “Shocking!” he said.

Ortiz said he had made arrangements for some of us to go to Camp Crame tomorrow to visit our colleagues who are in the stockade. I told him I should like to join. They gladly asked me to come along.

Five of us—Father Ortiz, Totoy, Naning, Joe Feria and I—decided to meet tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. at the Unimart for the visit to Camp Crame. But as I entered the Con-Con this afternoon, Teroy Laurel, Caling Lobregat and others were just leaving for Camp Crame. On impulse, I asked if I could join them. On the way to the elevator, and even inside the elevator, my friends kidded me. “But we may have to leave you there.”

Teroy said that when one visits, the procedure is, first the guard goes over their list.

“What if I’m in the list?” I asked.

“Then they’ll thank you for coming,” Teroy emitted a nervous laugh.

Soon, they all agreed they would not let me join them; I may not be able to come out.

But why is everyone expecting that I will be arrested?

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