Diary of Augusto Caesar Espiritu

Saturday, November 11, 1972

I was in the office at about quarter past eight, because there was so much to be done. Afterwards, at eleven, I left for the session hall. I dropped by the office of Nonong Ricafrente (assistant secretary of the Convention). Pretty soon, Lilia Delima and Pete Valdez arrived.

Pete related to us how (businessman) Esco Escobar and Inggo Guevarra had engaged in banter. Esco was kidding Inggo that hitherto, the delegates were writing a Constitution but now, he understands, they are so busy reading that they do not write anymore; they only read.

Inggo’s response was swift, “You complement us. We do not even read now. We only sign.”

Inggo Guevarra is a good friend of Marcos. Apparently, jokes like this coming from people who are friends of the President would indicate, in a way, the regrets of many people in the Convention over what the President has done with the Constitution. I think even the people close to Marcos quite disagree with his brazen takeover of the Convention.

Nonong Ricafrente told us that he has had it from good authority that the Constitution would finally be finished by about the 29th of November so that November 30 would no longer be National Heroes Day. It would be declared Constitution Day.

Nonong has heard what I have also heard—that President Marcos had, at first, wanted the interim National Assembly to be composed only of the delegates to the Convention, with the senators and the congressmen being eliminated. The reason is that the President wanted a complete rejuvenation of the government. He had thought that, to a large extent, many of the members of the Convention were elected, more or less, on a nonpartisan basis—compared, anyway, to the members of the Congress. Also, he had felt sure that even with the members of the Convention alone he could control the interim Assembly; he would not need the support of the congressmen and senators.

Later on, the President relented, Nonong related. After all, he has many friends in Congress. When they went to him, he was persuaded to allow them to return as members of the interim Assembly.

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