Diary of Augusto Caesar Espiritu

Monday, November 13, 1972

At the session hall, Francis Zosa was absorbed in reading some documents when I approached him. Since he is the chairman of the Credentials Committee, he would know hest what is happening in terms of who have voted for or against the transitory provision.

He was friendly enough but not very open, I thought. I asked him who among those abroad have voted. He could not think of any. What about Sister Sonia Aldeguer to whom I had sent both a cablegram and a letter in Rome where she had taken her vows as a nun? He replied that Sonia’s vote was vague; she had said that she was voting for article such and such, etc. And then no word from Raul Manglapus in the U.S. None from Dr. Salvador Araneta. None from Larry Arabejo.

I asked him about the people in the stockade. He did not think that anyone of them was able to vote.

“But I thought that there were moves to have them vote,” I said.

He said that there were no such moves. In fact the understanding was that those in the stockade precisely would not be allowed to vote.

“Oh, so that’s it,” I said. “Of course I knew this,” I muttered bitterly.

Francis snarled at me. “Anyone who asks about this thing when he knows it already should go to the stockade!”

I cringed at the outburst. Does power change people’s character so abruptly?

Roy Montejo asked about Quintero and Francis gave us the impression that Quintero was not able to vote on time.

Celing Fenian, chairman of the Committee on Plebiscite and Ratification, told us that the new arrangement is that one need not go to Quezon City Hall any more. One is supposed to be campaigning after our recess for the ratification of the new Constitution.

I asked him to show me the authority and he showed me a letter from President Macapagal.

All the members of Celing’s committee or of sub-committees of his committee are entitled to this privilege. He said that some delegates were asking him if they might be included and he had laughingly told them that every delegate is included in his Committee on Plebiscite and Ratification.

In fact, he was expected to sponsor the motion—calling for a plebiscite on January 14 or 17. But, of course, his original motion is that the plebiscite should not be earlier than two months after the signing of the Constitution. Now he will have to amend his motion so that it will be within two months after the signing of the Constitution.

Marcos wants to be sure there would be enough time to campaign for the ratification of his Constitution. The Constitution will be signed sometime this month.

In the evening, after my German class and after dinner, I read an interview of Dimitri Sakharov by a Newsweek reporter. Sakharov is the father of the H-bomb in Russia and is now the foremost dissident in the Soviet Union.

The latter part of the interview was interesting. Sakharov knew that he could not change Soviet society anymore. He would not be able to move the political establishment. His was a frustrating struggle. Why, then, was he persisting on this? “Because for us,” he said, “it is not a political struggle; it is a moral struggle. We have to be time to ourselves.”

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