Sunday, November 26, 1972

We had session this morning from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. I missed church to go directly to Quezon City Hall. Instead of a speech in opposition, I briefly said that the Constitution, as it was being presented, could stand some improvement so that it may compare favorably with other modern Constitutions in the world. But for the moment, the sense of my opposition was embodied in my amendments by substitution to the whole articles on the Declaration of Principles and on the National Economy. It was for this reason, I said, that I was asking that my amendments be inserted into the records.

It was granted.

The substitute Declaration of Principles was the one previously worked out and approved by the committee headed by Raul Roco. The members of the committee are really about the most progressive in the Convention. I, myself, have given more time to this committee than possibly, to any other one, including my Economic Committee.

I submitted the consolidated draft on the National Economy worked out by the chairman, vice-chairman and sponsors of the 13 economic committees, tinder my chairmanship—on behalf of the Sponsorship Council. I had later on integrated the provisions myself, pursuant to the request of the members of my sub-council.

Afterwards, there was a speech by Manong Raquiza. The gist of his speech is that we should not copy many provisions in the Bill of Rights of the United States Federal Constitution; the U.S. is the most crime-ridden country in the world (sic).

Raquiza is full of praise for martial law. The whole problem is that most of the delegates, knowing him, are not certain about his sincerity. He is a nice guy, all right, but the problem is that the delegates do not take him seriously because he does not seem to speak with conviction. He is the quintessential politician.

I had a brief chat with Sed Ordoñez and Gary Teves. Sed stated that in his interpellation yesterday of Roding Ortiz, precisely he was talking about the effectivity of the Bill of Rights. Is the Bill of Rights suspended during the period of martial law?

My major problem about this new Constitution, I told Sed, is that many of the provisions might conceivably be acceptable during this state of emergency, but a few years from now, when normal times shall have been restored, how could we continue with so many provisions in this Constitution tailor-made for a state of emergency?

I decided, therefore, to interpellate the rebuttal speakers. I raised three questions. One has to do with the powers of the prime minister and the emasculation of the powers of the National Assembly which might be acceptable during times of emergency but not during normal times.

The second thing has to do with the Bill of Rights, with such concepts as general welfare, national security, etc. I would say that in the balancing of national security with individual freedom, the latter should weigh more heavily during normal times even if during periods of emergency, national security might very well be our obsession.

My third question dealt on the national economy. There is really no indication as to the goals that we might want to achieve. We have no grand design of development for the country, no real philosophy undergirding the provisions we are discussing. The delegates writing this Constitution do not really have a clear idea as to what kind of economic reforms should be incorporated therein.

But what did I get for this interpellation? Cold shoulders from the railroading majority!

Gary thought that either one of us who might be able to speak again could ask the question of whether or not the transitory provision is supposed to provide an orderly transition of government. If so, if and when we shall have reached that point where the transitory provision would no longer obtain, whether we can expect the parliamentary government to be restored.

When Atoy Barbero came by to see what I was doing, I told him that the concentration of powers in the prime minister might be better placed under the transitory provision. Atoy was frank. He answered that actually that was the original intention but that, in the meantime, the President had personally transferred this provision to the Article on the National Assembly.

I asked Atoy why the President thought that even after his regime the Philippines would need a strong prime minister, and why we have weakened the National Assembly so much during normal times. Why may the Assembly press only bills of local application? And why do we not provide for immunity from arrest of members of the National Assembly during normal times? And don’t we believe anymore in checks and balances in the government?

“I cannot answer you,” was his laconic reply.

Sed Ordoñez said that he had seen our friends at the stockades last week. It was the second time he has visited them. I asked him what the general condition of our friends is and he said there was a general feeling of despair.

The detainees at Fort Bonifacio have formed some kind of an association and have elected Ninoy Aquino their detention mayor. There are some ten people at Fort Bonifacio.

It is not true, Sed continued, that Ninoy is in Corregidor. Sed saw the son of Soc Rodrigo, who is the roommate of Ninoy Aquino. He said that Ninoy was formerly in charge of the kitchen, but the detainees have deposed him and made him the detention mayor of their group.

This is the way these unfortunate leaders have been spending their time.

I had requested Bobbit’s secretary, Beth Mateo, to help me send some food to the delegates in the stockades. Bobbit said that I could send some things through the secretary of Tito Guingona at Nation Savings Bank or through the secretary of Bren Guiao. I know Bobbit has sent balut to them. Beth Mateo had told me so at the UP yesterday. I should like to be able to send those guys some things, especially considering the fact that both Bobbit and I are not in a position to visit them. We are in the list of delegates for “picking up” in the second round.

I mentioned to Sed and Bobbit that I had heard that Manong Raquiza had a hand in the preparation of the first list of delegates who should be detained. That was what I had gathered from—was it Joe Feria? I told them that I meant to ask Manong Raquiza whether or not this was true.

Sed looked at me with some concern. “If the list were longer, you would have been in the list.”

“But ‘they’ would soon be drafting a longer list,” Bobbit said mournfully.


Thursday, November 16, 1972

Moy Buhain, that good colonel, was again at the house at about 9:00 o’clock.

He informed me that according to some rumors, the President might yet want an election next year.

I said I would not rule that out. It is indeed possible that next year the President’s popularity might zoom up again and then he would prefer to be elected prime minister rather than continue with martial law. This one year of martial law may be a leeway for him to improve society as well as his chances of staying in power. So while the indications are that martial law may take a while, it might also happen that it may be cut short by the President himself if and when he feels secure enough in his position.

Moy was somewhat apprehensive about the duration of martial law. He was unhappy over the fact that there is no specific time mentioned for the transitory government.

At the session hall, a heated exchange had taken place between Vic Pimentel and Pacificador. These two delegates started challenging each other. Some delegates stood up to prevent them from getting to each other; but I heard some other voices saying, “Bayaan mo sila. Mabuti nga!

Some delegates might just have wanted Pimentel and Pacificador to really come to blows with each other. For some reason, these two do not seem to be well liked in the Convention.

“Look at him strutting around like a peacock,” Sed Ordoñez, Pacificador’s former professor, whispered to me in contempt.

“Wrong, Sedfrey. A peacock is a beautiful bird.”

I had a brief chat with Munding Cea. He said that he cannot in conscience really lead the team of floor leaders. He said this is “lutong macao.” He said we were really instituting a dictatorship in the Constitution.

I am getting to respect Munding more and more for his decency and his respect for democratic processes.

I asked him how I could hest proceed with my plan of inserting my amendments. He said the best thing is not to speak now but to wait until the plenary session. I told him that I do not expect any discussion, much less do I entertain any thought of success. I simply want to have my thoughts inserted in the journal.

We talked about our colleagues who were in the army stockades. He said that not one of the delegates really deserves to be in prison.

The most ideological of them, I suggested, Boni Gillego, who alone among the delegates openly claims he is a Marxist, is really a social democrat. And he is patriotic, I said, and is concerned with fighting injustice, particularly the great and distressing gap in access to goods and services among our people. He mouths some Marxist terms but wouldn’t harm any one.

Munding nodded his head in agreement. “That happens to be his belief,” he said. “But he is not a violent man.”

I also chatted with Gary Teves and Aying Yñiguez. Gary said that Dr. Aruego, like me, is also doing a lot of writing now. He said it would be good for me to talk to Aruego about how the 1935 Constitutional Convention finally framed the Constitution.

Gary complained about the way the form of government has been distorted by the Steering Council. We had fought and won on the matter of changing the form of government to a parliamentary one but now, the government in the new draft is called a parliamentary one but in essence it is no longer parliamentary. It is really a very strong presidential government, with all the powers vested in the prime minister. The prime minister is now much stronger than the parliament.

“Gary, this is really a prime ministerial government,” I commented.

We noticed that Cefi Padua, Bobbit Sanchez and Joe Feria all stood up to question this on the floor. Tony de Guzman was answering all the questions almost mechanically and with great self-assurance. He was transparently showing his belief that the queries were really of no consequence; they were simply rituals to undergo.

Our idea, Gary said, was precisely because of the complexities of government, there is a great need to spread the loci of decision-making to a much wider group of people.

“Now, we have decision-making concentrated in one man. It would have been much more honest if we just made a Constitution for the duration of the martial law. He should have all these powers under the transitory provision.”

“I agree that there is need for a strong executive to hold the country together and lead it to paths of social progress, Gary,” I responded, “but it is also a fundamental principle in a democracy that all great decisions must be shared decisions.”

Gary is right. It would have been somewhat more justifiable if all of these provisions were put under the article on transitory provision—meaning, effective only during the state of emergency.

Aying Yñiguez had batted strongly for a parliamentary form of government but now he was saying he cannot defend it. “I will approve it, I will sign it, but I cannot defend it,” he admitted. “In fact, this is theoretically indefensible,” he added.

“Aying, why should a respectable guy like you, who is close to Marcos, not go to him and tell him: ‘Here in the transitory provision, we give you all the powers that you need. The rest of the Constitution shall, however, be rational with the great principle of checks and balances institutionalized.'”

He replied that this cannot be done anymore because there is really a cordon sanitaire around the President. Not even his father, Congressman Yñiguez, could penetrate this ring to see the President.

I asked him how the Americans look at this. He said that the Americans now approve of this—until such time as Marcos should blunder. He added that the government is really now embarking on a policy that would suit the needs of Americans.

Aying affirmed that the military is as strong as ever. He sensed, however, there is now a division in the ranks of the military between the old and the young. The old composing the leadership in the military, of course, fully support President Marcos. But this cannot be said of young military officers. And the President is aware of this.


Tuesday, November 7, 1972

Gary Teves was depressed. “This is a rightist Constitution that the Steering Council has produced,” he complained.

Ben Campomanes commented that only one provision—that of central monetary authority—was included from his committee report. But even that, Gary said, was meaningless because the other important provisions on the economy were not there. Besides, what was important on the central monetary authority was the constitutional officers.

Their fears have a basis. There is a decisive relationship between economic development and democracy. Daunting economic problems, highlighted by mediocre economic growth, have brought down some elitist and facade democracies in Latin America, which had reeled from the weight of tremendous inequalities in wealth and political power.

“There is no improvement over the 1935 Constitution. We are trying to change the system,” Gary lamented, “and the only thing that the Steering Council has contributed is the transitory provision, which is very, very rightist.”

A climate of frustration and resignation is spreading among the delegates over what the Steering Council has been doing. It seems that all hopes have been given up of forging a Constitution that shall really be reformist in character.

Erning Amatong sadly said that the tragedy was that each time we gave in a little, the majority would grab more and more.

I felt sorry, too. Erning is one of the straight guys who was wavering on how he would vote in the transitory provision. He had voted “Yes” on the understanding that we might all hide when the time for the signing of the Constitution comes.

“We are just saving ourselves from being arrested now,” I had assured him. “And we shall never take the oath (of office as members of the Marcos-controlled Assembly).”


Saturday, November 4, 1972

I went to the session hall again to submit my amendments to Article XIV on the national economy and the patrimony of the nation. This time, my amendment is no longer one by substitution. Rather, I went through the different paragraphs and made my own individual deletions and additions to the draft of the Steering Council. Likewise, I made my amendment to the article on the National Assembly insofar as the provisions on budget and appropriations are concerned. In both cases, the work was really very, very hastily written. I included some coauthors. In the amendments on the budget, I added the name of Estoy Mendoza. I am sure he would be happy. On the provisions on the national economy, I put in the names of my idealistic friends Gary Teves, Erning Amatong and Dolf Azcuña.

The Steering Council was meeting on the 13th floor. Tony de Guzman was presiding. There were two bottles of whiskey going around.

The meeting was somewhat raucous. The voice of the chairman boomed over the microphone as the privileged delegates discussed the new draft Constitution item by item. According to the Herald lady reporter who has been attending the Convention sessions, it was terrible the way the delegates were earlier treating so lightly the provisions of the fundamental law-in-the-making.

I felt sick watching the discussions. It was as if my colleagues now in power were drafting some rules and regulations for a village fiesta, not writing a Constitution for a nation. These now are our powerful people, these members of the Steering Committee, equivalent to the Seven Wise Men in the 1935 Convention. But I saw the faces of zealots rather than of wise or reasonable men.

“There are many respected personalities in the Convention, how come only a few of them are in the Steering Council?” the reporter asked.

I gave the lady a blank look.

In the evening, I went to the Carmel Church in Broadway. The papers have announced today the death of the mother of Pon and Mel Mathay. Pon saw me as I was coming in. I saw Mel coming out with, of all people, Estelito and Rosie Mendoza.

“We don’t see each other often anymore,” Rosie said.

“Let us get together,” Titong greeted me. “Preferably at your home where the walls have no ears.”

It was really a curious situation—ours—because Titong has really been one of my very best friends in the last 24 years. But now he is solicitor-general—and it is his duty to prosecute those under military custody. I’m thankful to God that I have been free. But if I should be arrested, wouldn’t it be ironic if it is my best friend who will have to prosecute me?


Friday, November 3, 1972

Fanny Cortez-Garcia was desperate. She was with Ben Campomanes in her office and they said that the economic provisions in the new Constitution drafted by the Steering Council are terrible. There is no definite pattern, and no understanding of the implications of the provisions that have been incorporated. Many important provisions have been left out. Meanwhile, the deadline for submission of amendments is today, Friday.

Fanny was a former director of the influential Research Department of the Central Bank.

Ben Campomanes suggested that we meet at Fanny’s place. He informed us, however, that Gary Teves was in the province. I told him that Gary Teves knows what we have been doing in the committees. “That’s good,” he said, “you can even speak Gary’s mind.”

Which is true. Gary and I have been close. We implicitly understand each other.

I ate at the Quezon City Hall in order to save time. I immediately drafted a substitute amendment for the whole of Article XIV on the national economy by incorporating all those that we have approved during our meetings of the different committee chairmen, vice chairmen and sponsors.

I called up Fanny at 12:45 p.m. She was also going to rush to the session hall to meet with the sponsors. I suggested that she gets some Signatures from the members of the Sponsorship Council.

What I did upon finishing the draft which consisted of several pages, was to put in the names of the people who have been meeting with me during these last few days. Among them were Gary Teves, Erning Amatong, Adolf Azcuña and Julianing Locsin. I also included the names of Fanny Garcia, Monet Tirol and Ben Campomanes, among others. I told Mauro (Lolo) Baradi and Ikeng Corpus about this and they offered to sign as coauthors of my amendment. Pete Valdez said he was signing for camaraderie’s sake. He did not know what it was all about, but this was for him a simple case of trust in me.

It was unbelievable, though, the way the whole thing is being railroaded by the Steering Council. Why should we be given only this day to draft the amendments? Knowing it has the power and the full backing of Malacañang, the Steering Council has now really been urgently imposing upon us its own terms—practically dictating to us. What kind of delegates do we have in this Convention? How can anyone really draft amendments in one or two days’ time? I, myself, heard about this only from Fanny at 11 o’clock a.m.

I told Fanny that my understanding was that today, the Steering Council would present to the 166-man body its draft and thereafter we would have ten days from today within which to introduce our amendments. In other words, my understanding was instead of today being the last day for amendments, it is or should be the first day of a ten-day period of amendments. This would be the more reasonable thing to do.

But are we dealing with reasonable men?

This is it—today is the last day. The Steering Council has spoken. We must obey! I had two hours to write my amendments.


Thursday, October 26, 1972

The members of the various economic committees met at the Sulo. Present were Oka Leviste, Gary Teves, Estoy Mendoza, Artemio Lobrin, Celso Gangan, Dolf Azcuña. Leo Castillo from Davao also came to get a free meal. Domingo (Inggo) Guevarra’s representative was also there.

Gary didn’t want to come because after yesterday’s vote, he thought there was no point in having to discuss these provisions. I persuaded him to come, though.

Some questions were asked by our economic thinkers. Why should we still meet?

I told them that we might as well finish our work and submit this to the Steering Council. Oka Leviste, with Tony Velasco, has been dishing out to us, since yesterday, his consuelo de bobo that although it might be the Steering Council sponsoring it now, the ideas would still be ours. In fact Tony Velasco has tested the limits of credibility by suggesting that in his extra-sensory perception (ESP), the different groups are meeting about the same things and are all converging towards the same results.

Hogwash! Strange things are happening indeed to what I had thought were sane people in the Convention.

Chito Castillo twice peeped in because, apparently, an ad hoc subcommittee of the Steering Council was going to meet on the economic provisions—that is, Chito, Oka and three other members of the Steering Council. Oka assured us that our own group would constitute the hard core of the subcommittee. Chito agreed. Et tu, Chito! From their point of view, we are to become the nucleus of the subcommittee on economic affairs of the Steering Council.

We actually made progress, except that we were not able to discuss the provisions on agriculture and land reform.

During the meeting, Celso begged to leave at 12:00 o’clock noon to go to Enrile, he said, to surrender someone. He told me privately that he was with Sonny Alvarez last night and that they were looking for me. He said Sonny was finally able to vote.

I was very glad to hear this.


Friday, October 20, 1972

The proceedings were tense; or should I say, shameful?

There were vigorous speeches against the provision by Justice Barrera, Gary Teves and Leonie Garcia. The whole Convention looked with admiration at these three musketeers who have displayed their guts by speaking against what is a foreordained provision and, in so doing, were taking the risk of incurring the wrath of the political gods.

There were many more minor skirmishes. The one thing that sticks to my mind is the fact that insofar as talking or reasoning with the majority was concerned, it was like talking to a wall. There was absolutely no way for them to accomodate another view. They were determined to ram through whatever they had decided.

Teroy Laurel made a brilliant defense of his proposed amendments to the draft. We should not limit membership to the National Assembly to the delegates who would opt to serve, as was provided for in the draft, because this was really making the thing a mockery; it was humiliating.

It would seem from the amount of applause he received and the raising of hands that followed, that the amendment was carried. Indeed, it was announced by Abe Sarmiento, who was then presiding, that the motion was carried.

But then Fidel Purisima demanded voting by tellers. This changed the situation. Many delegates would not express their true wishes because the walls of the session have many eyes: the dissenters would be watched by Big Brother!

In the voting by tellers, the result was 128 to 123 –or something like that– in favor of retaining the original draft provision which states that members of the 1971 Constitutional Convention who opt to serve in the Interim Assembly by voting affirmatively would be the only ones who would be members of the National Assembly. This is cearly immoral, unfair and unjust –but the proponents have made up their minds.

Yesterday, I casually told Ramon Encarnacion that perhaps the President would be a little more reasonable than his own lieutenants in the session hall. I overheard Bebet Duavit was willing to give 72 hours to those who were not present during the voting to signify their intention of voting affirmitavely. I, therefore, went to Duavit in order to persuade him to lengthen this to, say, two weeks, to enable those who are abroad to come back and give their decision. But Duavit said this was impossible. As it was, he was only trying to get them to agree on this 72 hours’ grace, but not as an amendment to the provision. It is going to be some kind of suspension of rules before actual voting on the amendment.

Later, I rose, anyway, to introduce an amendment to extend the time for those who are absent to be able to vote. Before I could complete my first few sentences, however, the floor leader, Munding Cea, cut me off, and on the same theme, said it would be completely unfair and unjust to preclude our colleagues who are not present from voting…

To our great chagrin, Toto de la Cruz, chairman of the Committee on Rules, stood to oppose this.

How could anyone in conscience oppose something like this? Where is our sense of fairness? But then, a people secure in their numbers and certain of their purpose can too easily forget that democracy requires tolerance!

Arturo Pacificador would not brook any moderation. Evidently following a “script”, he announced that those absent would be given 72 hours, provided they personally cast their votes in an open session. When some amendments were proposed, such as to allow voting by cablegrams and tegerams or letters, Pacificador, his porcupine hair blasphemously pointing heavenwards, arrogantly gesticulated. “If this is under question, I better withdraw my motion,” he haughtily trumpeted…

So we had to vote….

The tension in the air was very heavy during the voting. The roll call took place. There were 14 “No” votes…

Afterwards, the dominant group made a motion to have our vote considered, for all purposes, as the same vote for the second and third readings.

It seems no quarter are to be given. Like a no-prisoners taken stance in war. In other words, the majority would take what it can –everything– now; why wait?

It was indecent, of course. But decency could not wait any longer. Immediate voting was done –and it passed almost unanimously.

In one stroke, so to speak, we actually voted on second and third readings on the provision in question -and that means then that the provision is finished –passed!

What is done is done. We have failed our people… We were elected to be members of the Convention, not to be assemblymen. The grant of extraordinary powers and the ratification of all actions of the President does not seem to bother the delegates too much. The fact that ours is now a rubber stamp Convention and that the Assembly would be a rubber stamp Assembly does not really matter. What is ultimately important to them, it would seem, is that we are going to be members of the Assembly –so the next area of concern is what salaries we are going to have.

 


Tuesday, October 10, 1972

Julio Ozamis sat down beside me. At the precise moment that Tito Guingona was arrested last Friday, he said, Bobbit Sanchez was talking to him.

I am glad that Bobbit has not been threatened with arrest. At most, he may be under some kind of surveillance.

When Bobbit came in, he confirmed the report of Julio Ozamiz that he was speaking on the phone when Tito was arrested by the military last Friday. He also confirmed that he had phoned me when he learned about my being in the list two weeks ago.

It would seem that the report last week that our colleague, Dr. George Viterbo, was taken in Capiz is true. However, George was released immediately afterwards.

Why George was arrested at all is so hard to say because he is one of the most sober and level-headed delegates. His integrity is well-known, his character beyond reproach. I understand that one officer saw a book in his library entitled The Ecumenical Revolution and triumphantly announced that George is indeed a subversive.

There are now 11 delegates to the Convention who have been taken into custody. Of the 11, the two who have been released are Voltaire Garcia and George Viterbo. The nine others who are still inside are: Nap Rama, Joe Man Velez, Bren Guiao, Natalio (Talio) Bacalzo, JoeCon, Ernie Rondon, Pepito Nolledo, Tito Guingona and Ding Lichauco.

Possibly, six or seven more are in the list of wanted delegates. These are Raul Manglapus, who was able to get out of the country before martial law was proclaimed; Antonio (Tonypet) Araneta, over whom there was no reliable information as to whether he is inside or outside the country; Bonifacio (Boni) Gillego, Sonny Alvarez, Romy Capulong and Raul Roco, all of whom are in hiding; and possibly Pepe Calderon, whose house was raided by the military the other day.

The agreement was that the format of the Sponsorship Council shall be used by the Steering Council in writing the preliminary provisions. Thereafter, the Sponsorship Council will make the first draft of the Constitution. Afterwards, the group of 106 people, namely, the members of the Steering Council, the members of the Sponsorship Council and the panel of floor leaders will go over this and actually put the stamp of approval on the first draft. This will then be presented at the plenary session. This way, it is expected that the Constitution will be finished in no time.

In the afternoon, Monet Tirol invited Gary Teves, Fanny Cortez-Garcia and me to the Sulo Restaurant for a brief meeting. The major item in the agenda was what kind of speech he should deliver during the sponsorship of the articles on the national economy. Another item was what improvements we might be able to make at the last moment to the materials that were given to the Steering Council. Are there inconsistencies in these economic provisions?

From the way it looks, the improvement that can be done are to shorten the chapters on auditing, on the budget and on public works. I shall go over these tonight.

On the way to Sulo Hotel, Monet and I were talking about the arrests. He was surprised, of course, that George Viterbo was taken at all, although gladdened to know that he was later released. It may be, he said, that in the case of the others, their language had been somewhat personal and bitter. He has noticed for several years now, that Tito Guingona has really been hitting Marcos. The strongest attack was during his farewell speech as president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1968.

Monet wanted to be kind to me. He said it would be difficult to imagine that someone like me would be arrested by the military. My criticisms have been of high level, my language temperate and refined.

“Your discussions and commentaries have all been based on principles, not on personalities,” Monet consoled, “I’m sure you will not be arrested.”


Friday, September 15, 1972

The Philippine Constitution Association (PHILCONSA), a private group monitoring the activities of the Con-Con, was meeting at the Sulo Hotel. When I arrived at about 8:25 a.m., Gary Teves was already speaking on the economic provisions in the new Constitution prepared by the different committees of which Gary is the chief technician.

A lengthy discussion was going on, generated by the critical comments of PHILCONSA official Ruben Roxas, that the provisions were quite detailed and would not be enforceable. Besides, he said, policy continuously changes and it would probably be better to leave the economic policies to Congress.

There was also a little speech by Ambassador Juan Arreglado at which he criticized my statement about the need for self-reliant development, with emphasis initially on labor-intensive small industries, utilizing indigenous materials, so as to forestall the need for capital intensity and to plug the hemorrhage of foreign exchange for production components. Small is beautiful? Arreglado did not think so. He suggested instead the promotion of big industries which are capital-intensive, such as those found in the United States. But where will we get the capital? But then why debate with Arreglado?