The First Quarter Storm through the eyes of Ferdinand E. Marcos

Prior to the scrapping of the 1935 Constitution, presidents would deliver their State of the Nation Address in January, at the Legislative Building in Manila.

On January 26, 1970, President Marcos, who had been inaugurated for an unprecedented full second term less than a month earlier, on December 30, 1969 (see Pete Lacaba’s satirical account, Second Mandate: January 10, 1970), was set to deliver his fifth message to the nation.

The classic account of the start of what has come to be known as the First Quarter Storm is Pete Lacaba’s The January 26 Confrontation: A Highly Personal Account, February 7, 1970 followed by his And the January 30 Insurrection, February 7, 1970. From another point of view, there is Kerima Polotan’s The Long Week, February 7, 1970. Followed by Nap Rama’s Have rock, will demonstrate, March 7, 1970.

And there, is of course, the view of Ferdinand E. Marcos himself.

January 23, 1970 and January 24, 1970 were mainly about keeping an eye out on coup plots and the opposition, as well as reshuffling the top brass of the armed forces and picking a new Secretary of National Defense.

January 25, 1970 was about expressing his ire over the behavior of student leaders.

On January 26, 1970 Marcos wrote,

After the State of the Nation address, which was perhaps my best so far, and we were going down the front stairs, the bottles, placard handles, stones and other missiles started dropping all around us on the driveway to the tune of a “Marcos, Puppet” chant.

Marcos then noted,

Some advisors are quietly recommending sterner measures against the Kabataang Makabayan. We must get the emergency plan polished up.

January 27, 1970 and January 28, 1970 were spent housekeeping –talking to police generals– and warning the U.S. Embassy they had better not get involved. Marcos began to further flesh out the rationale for his forthcoming emergency rule:

If we do not prepare measures of counter-action, they will not only succeed in assassinating me but in taking over the government. So we must perfect our emergency plan.

I have several options. One of them is to abort the subversive plan now by the sudden arrest of the plotters. But this would not be accepted by the people. Nor could we get the Huks, their legal cadres and support. Nor the MIM and other subversive [or front] organizations, nor those underground. We could allow the situation to develop naturally then after massive terrorism, wanton killings and an attempt at my assassination and a coup d’etat, then declare martial law or suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus – and arrest all including the legal cadres. Right now I am inclined towards the latter.

On January 29, 1970 Marcos rather angrily recounted receiving a delegation of faculty from his alma mater, the University of the Philippines; and reports in his diary that a very big student protest is due the next day.

The next day would prove to be even more explosive than the day of Marcos’ State of the Nation Address: the attack on Malacañan Palace by student protesters. Marcos writes about it in his January 30, 1970 diary entry:

…the Metrocom under Col. Ordoñez and Aguilar after reinforcement by one company of the PC under Gen. Raval arrived have pushed up to Mendiola near San Beda where the MPD were held in reserve. I hear shooting and I am told that the MPD have been firing in the air.

The rioters have been able to breach Gate 4 and I had difficulty to stop the guards from shooting the rioters down. Specially as when Gate 3 was threatened also. I received a call from Maj. Ramos for permission to fire and my answer was “Permission granted to fire your water hoses.”

For an overview of the events of that day, see Pete Lacaba’s And the January 30 Insurrection, February 7, 1970. This was another in what would turn out to be historic reportage on historic times; as counterpoint (from a point of view far from enamored of the students) see Kerima Polotan’s account mentioned above.

The next day, January 31, 1972, Marcos further fleshed out his version of the student attack on the Palace, and begins enumerating more people to keep an eye on –politicians, media people; he also mentions the need to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus –eventually.

For an overview of the First Quarter Storm, see also Manuel L. Quezon III’s The Defiant Era, January 30, 2010.


Wednesday, February 4, 1970

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Wednesday

February 4, 1970

[Marginal note: Played golf with the Malacañang reporters at 5:00 PM]

1:30 AM

Everything has returned to normalcy. But I feel that the HMB’s with Dante and Ninoy masterminding them are planning some sabotage.

Talked to Ex-Sen. Rodolfo Ganzon and Ex-Rep Raschid Lucman and his wife Princess Tarhata.

I have asked Roding Ganzon to infiltrate the LP. He says that Lopez, Laurel and Osmeña have agreed on an NP-LP ticket in 1973. Osmeña wants to run again and Doy Laurel may be his Vice. But of course Gerry Roxas and Ninoy Aquino want to run as President.

And Lucman I asked to keep peace in Lanao and to placate the Liberals.

Boni Isip, Joe Luckban and Johnny Echiverri saw me. They told me of Joe Maristela and of Ex-Sen Estanislao Fernandez urging the students to attack at Mendiola and plying them with whiskey from a jeep without any number and loaded with whiskey bottles.

I hope to see Rep. Salipada Pendatun, brother in law of Ex. Gov. Udtog Matalam, leader of the Moslem Independence Movement, tomorrow. As well as Ex-Sen. Domocao Alonto and Ex-Gen. Alonto.

We are building pillboxes at the gates and mortar defenses including baffled walls for my gymnasium where we can seek shelter in case of mortar attack.

We have cleared the lawn west of the veranda and ceremonial hall for a helicopter landing this side of the Palace complete with night landing lights.

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We are preparing anti-subversion cases against Arienda and the leaders of the Kabataang Makabayan.

I feel that ultimately we must have a confrontation with the communists in this country. And that their eradication as a threat to our free way of life may be one of my main missions. It is true that if we can keep on delaying and delaying their take-off and cut off their momentum we will ultimately win, but it will be a messy and tedious job. Now we have an opportunity – perhaps the only opportunity to liquidate the movement in one clean sweep – if we plan it well enough.

Thus if there is massive sabotage and an attempt against my life, then I might be compelled to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and arrest all the persons in the list of communists.

This will be the total solution to the ideological impasse!


Sunday, February 1, 1970

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Sunday —

February 1, 1970

4:00 PM —

Have suspended classes in the Greater Manila Area for one week.

A Fr. Sheffeld of Germany is living in Ateneo and approves the expenditure of the Adenauer fund supposedly for research on constitutional reforms. This is alien intervention in internal affairs. Father John Doherty, Vice President of Ateneo for Academic Affairs says it may be used for the rallies and demonstrations as Manglapus and the student leaders went to Germany some time ago.

Fr. Otazu, Rector of San Beda warns that the San Beda Towers if taken by the rioters could overlook Malacañang. So I have ordered it to be secured. Both felt that I have taken too soft a stand against the rioters and that the students do not believe my warning yesterday.

Perhaps they are right but we must not adopt a stance of arrogance but of humility. And if the terrorism continues then we must meet force with force. Only however if the anarchists continue the sabotage and terrorism.

I asked Gen. Balao, now Reparations Minister in Tokyo and former Defense Secretary to take over the Defense portfolio tonight. Sec. Mata was drunk during the crisis on Friday night as he is drunk every night. He is not only useless. He is a security risk.

ATTACHMENT TO DIARY ENTRY OF FEBRUARY 1, 1970

“WHY I AM FIGHTING COMMUNISM”

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  February 1, 1970

To my children, Imee, Bongbong and Irene:

Why I am fighting Communism  

1. Because it does not believe in God. It believes that everything that happens is brought about by man alone. It believes in the theory of dialectic materialism. I believe in God.

2. Under communism, a man has no rights. He is a creature of the State. It is the State that is glorified not man. So man becomes a slave under communism.

3. Under communism, a man has no freedom. In contradistinction to democracy where individual freedom is sacrosanct, communism does not allow such simple liberties as freedom of thought, speech and religion among many others. There is no such thing as dissent or debate or dialogue.

4. Correspondingly, under communism a man may own no land as he may not own any production goods. The cry of land for the landless is a mere shibboleth. For the land belongs to the state and the farmers are only slaves of the state. The farmers get a share of the produce byt only such share as the State arbitrarily dictates.

5. Communism is a totalitarianism or a

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dictatorship by the elite who have acquired power through force, killing, murder and coercion. Prime examples are Stalin and Mao Tse Tung.

6. Correspondingly the common people that communism is supposed to serve do not have any share in government nor in decision-making. Communism does not allow such simple processes as an election or voting or political campaigns. Everything is dictated by the few or the man on top who got there by force or violence.

7. The common people, the laborers, farmers and the employees, cannot rise beyond their level. They cannot send their children to school to become lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers or attain any profession they may wish. The State, meaning the ruling elite, determines what the people become. There is no alternative.

8. Communism gives no inducement to genius, talent, perseverance and hard work. Everybody is pulled down to a common wage or salary except the rulers who live in a state of luxury and privilege.

9. Communism ostensibly seeks to eradicate the ruling or influential oligarchies. But it succeeds in only replacing them with a worse group – the

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ruling or influential cliques and elite who actually rule without the approval or consent of the people. These group of elitists cannot be changed except by violence or force – by a revolution.

10. Communism ostensibly seeks to drive away the foreign colonialists in the Philippines, the Americans. But it would place the Philippines under a new alien power – Red China, which is worse. Our country should be free and not dominate by any alien power.

11. Communism believes in violence as the principal weapon of policy or of change. “Power comes out of the barrel of a gun,” is its principal dictum. Everytime there has been change in a communist country, there has been killing, arson, pillage and destruction – wasteful, merciless and senseless. In contradistinction to this, democracy offers change through the democratic process of elections and free speech in the open market of ideas. The process may be creaky, unwieldy and sometimes frustrating, but comparatively, it is humane, Christian, wiser, more democratic and less wasteful.

Let us improve the house we now have, [which] we call democracy – for it has defects. But let us not burn it down.

(Sgd.) F.E. Marcos

 


Saturday, January 31, 1970

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Saturday

January 31, 1970

Malacañang

10:00 AM

I write this tonight having been a little occupied last night during the demonstration or riot. I am glad I was able to hold back on the repeated requests to fire at the rioters, the first request when they took over a fire truck burned it and rammed it against Gate 4 broke the lock and rushed into the compound near the new Administration Bldg, the second when they threatened to do the same on Gate 3.

Have delivered a TV speech, called all the mayors of Metropolitan Manila and Gen. Rodriguez to work out a coordinated plan. Mayor Villegas kept explaining why the MPD police did not come to help us in Malacañang (nor the fire trucks of the MFD either).

Conferred with the military (Sec. of Nat Def, Chief of Staff, Chiefs of the major services and their staffs.)

Then with the political leaders.

Most felt there should be no repression. So I have had to delay the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. We will await developments. I understand the demonstrators will hit the PNB and Metropolitan Branches next. The PCC demonstration of Prudente was called off. But I gather there will be a big demonstration next Tuesday and/or Mar. 3rd.

When they do so again, they may be armed with firearms. In the meantime I can only gnash my teeth and wait.

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These are difficult days for everybody. But I pity the citizenry caught in the crossfire last night. For the rioters were sniping at the MPD, Metrocom & soldiers with .22’s.

I suppose that the people now sympathize with me, specially if these vandals continue their destructive anarchy.

But Chino Roces still seemed hostile in the meeting with the publishers when I requested support for my position in the matter of the rioters. And Teddy Locsin tonight could not see in it anything but that reform must come by violent means. I had forgotten that he had always written sympathetically of Mao Tse Tung.

We should ride this out with patience and perseverance.

Teddy apparently was warning me that if there was repression by the arrest of the leaders of the communist movement, there would be retaliation and Central Luzon would be transferred to Manila with the slums becoming the jungle.

If I let these fears deter me from fighting communism then we are lost. But I must continue to restrain myself lest we lose the support of the people by a stance of tyranny.


January 29, 1970

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January 29, 1970

Thursday

The UP faculty had a demonstration this afternoon. They walked from Agrifina Circle to Malacañang, handed me a manifesto blaming the administration for “the pattern of repression.” No mention at all about who started the stoning nor the danger to the First Lady and me – nothing but police brutality. Dean Majul claimed they were referring to the government in general and that he who heads a house is responsible for the happenings in that house. Dean Escudero of Business Adm. says he was a Marcos Liberal and that it is a matter of faith. Dean Feria (apparently an American lady) of English says there was brutality, that her 17 year old daughter was near our car and did not see any stone thrown (she must need glasses otherwise where did the wound of Agent Tuson in the forehead come from). Dr. Francisco Nemenzo arrogantly proclaimed he was not content with the manifesto but after “seeing my reaction to it”, he was happy. I had said that I was disappointed in the faculty of my alma matter; that the UP was charged as the spawning ground of communism and that the manifesto was full of ambiguous generalities that had a familiar ring to them. Then I read a report that he had said he wanted the members of the faculty to be hurt by the police and that he had given directions to the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation to prepare gasoline (apparently for Molotov cocktails), stones and other missiles to be used

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in the Friday (Jan. 30th) rally, and that in the charge of communism in the UP, his name was mentioned. Tomorrow, the big student rally. But Gargaritano of the youth reform movement says the NUSP and the NSI will not come to Malacañang but go to Congress instead. The Kabataan Makabayan will come to Malacañang, though. Mayor Villegas has said that he will not allow the police to be near the demonstrators. I ordered him in writing to maintain peace and order in all rallies and demonstrations. He sent word that his press release did not mean he would keep the police away. I showed to the UP professors the Collegian which carried the communist party articles and said that I did not wish to stop this but that I hoped that the two sides of the question would be ventilated. VP Lopez called the editor of the Collegian a leftist.


January 27, 1970

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[Marginal note: Also met with Cong. Montano at 11:30 AM. Asked him to stop his fellow Liberals from  the crazy ideas of a coup d’etat.]

Malacañang

January 27, 1970

Tuesday

12:10 PM

Imelda left for Leyte to attend the installation of the Bishop of Palo. Have just called her up by phone patch. She says Ulot is so beautiful, the Papal Nuncio says it is more beautiful than Napoli. The moon is out. It is a three quarter fading moon.

Met with all the Chiefs of Police in the Metropolitan area, the Metrocom Chief & his staff, the PC chief and his staff and the NBI chief. Asked Col. Tamayo and Barbers to report on the rioting yesterday. I requested that the charges against the students be dropped; charges against non-students can continue; that a critique be made of the conduct of the men in uniform; that steps be taken to prevent any injuries to demonstrators in the future as there are reports of individual cases of policemen using more force than necessary. The MPD Chief explained that in the melee and the mob action, it was difficult to say what are the proper limits to the use of force to meet force. They asked for additional equipment as the policemen have to buy their own helmets and baton. About 19 policemen were injured.

As reported by Ignacio Lacsina, his NUTC men in the rally saw Roger Arienda and his men start the rioting by throwing the coffin, the stuffed crocodile and stones at my car. I have asked Col. Ver to get their affidavits.

I also met at 10:45 with Ambassador Byroade whom I quietly confronted with the story the Liberals are spreading openly that the American Embassy is supporting an attempt at a coup d’etat. He claims they only listened to the need for a coup. I told him of Patterson’s suggestion to blow up the bridges to isolate Malacañang. He seemed stunned and said he was greatly concerned and would do something about it. He said as long as he & Nixon were in position we would not be fighting Americans.

[Marginal note: I am a little relieved by his apparent willingness to cooperate with me.]


January 26, 1970

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January 26, 1970

Monday

11:05 PM

Opening session of Congress. State of the Nation Address and Riots by the demonstrators in front of Congress.

Two students reported killed. Phil. Gen. Hospital Dir. Pascual reports 45 demonstrators and 5 policemen treated. Cars in Congress destroyed like that of Sen. Roy.

The invocation of Father Pacifico Ortiz, Ateneo head, was in poor taste. It castigated the government referring to goons, high prices, streets not being safe, the threat of revolution and how the citizens were ready to fight for their rights even in the barricades.

It was an attempt at the state of the nation. I hope he is happy with what he has helped to bring about.

Raul Manglapus engineered this with the help of the Jesuits apparently for all the Catholic schools had delegations. But apparently they were infiltrated by the Kabataan Makabayan who with some students started the violence.

After the State of the Nation address, which was perhaps my best so far, and we were going down the front stairs, the bottles, placard handles, stones and other missiles started dropping all around us on the driveway to the tune of a “Marcos, Puppet” chant.

As the intelligence reports it, the demonstrators had brought a coffin which they carried from the street below to the site of the flagpole, when they pushed it into the faces of the policemen. The policemen then

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threw the coffin to the street below and may have hit two demonstrators. The latter then took out a stuffed alligator from inside the coffin and threw it at the policemen who threw it back. Then the wood, bottle and stone throwing which caught us at the front stairs. I could not go into the car as Imelda kept standing on the stairs. Col. Ver tried to push me inside but I ordered the First Lady to be fetched and put inside first. Since she could not be pulled by anyone, I had to do it myself. I am afraid I pushed her into the car floor much too hard. Anyway I bumped my head behind the right ear against the car’s door side and twisted my weak right ankle again. We moved out under a hail of stones. But the PSA agent covering me, Agent Suson, was hit in the forehead and left eyelid and took four stitches. I thought it was Col. Ver as his barong was splashed with splotches of blood but Suson’s blood had spilled on him as he was on my right.

We saw some of the action over television after we arrived at the palace.

Raul Manglapus is hoping to become the President of the Constitutional Convention.

And the extremists are using these demonstrators to provoke violence for their purposes.

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Some advisors are quietly recommending sterner measures against the Kabataang Makabayan. We must get the emergency plan polished up.