EDSA through the eyes of Doy Laurel

Salvador H. Laurel wrote intermittent diary entries for June 1985, August 1985, September 1985, October 1985, November 1985, and December 1985. They trace the initial vigor, then collapse, of his campaign for the presidency, and the negotiations for his sliding down to be the candidate for the vice-presidency in what emerged as the Aquino-Laurel ticket.

This period is also described in my article, The Road to EDSA. In his article, Triumph of the Will (February 7 1986), Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. described the gathering of political titans that had to be brought into line to support the Cory candidacy:

It is well to remember that the unity she forged was not among dependent and undistinguished clones, like the KBL that Marcos holds in his hand. Doy Laurel, Pepito Laurel, Tañada, Mitra, Pimentel, Adaza, Diokno, Salonga and the handful of others who kept the democratic faith, each in his own fashion, through the long years of martial law, are powerful political leaders in their own right. Each has kept or developed, by sagacity and guts, a wide personal following. Not one thinks himself subordinate to another in what he has contributed to keep alive the democratic faith. As far as Doy is concerned, his compromises had enabled him to kept at least one portion, Batangas, of a misguided country as a territorial example of viable opposition. An example to keep alive the hope that the rest of the country could follow suit and become free in time.

We have forgotten how much strength and hope we derived from the stories of Batangueños guarding the ballot boxes with their lives and Doy’s people keeping, at gunpoint, the Administration’s flying—or was it sailing?—voters from disembarking from the barges in which they had been ferried by the Administration. This is the language Marcos understands, the Laurels seemed to be saying, and we speak it.

We have forgotten the sage advice of Pepito Laurel which stopped the endless discussion about how to welcome Ninoy. Every arrangement was objected to because, someone would remark, Marcos can foil that plan by doing this or that. Pepito Laurel said, “Huwag mo nang problemahin ang problema ni Marcos. His problem is how to stop us from giving Ninoy the reception he deserves. Our problem is to give Ninoy that reception. Too much talk going on here!” that broke the paralysis of the meeting.

This is the caliber of men who were approached with a project of unification that entailed the suspension, perhaps forever, of their own ambitions. Cory would be the presidential candidate, and Doy who had spent substance and energy to create ex nihilo a political organization to challenge the Marcos machine must subordinate himself as her running mate. In exchange, the chieftains would get nothing but more work, worse sacrifices and greater perils. Certainly, no promises.

After two attempts, she emerged, largely through her own persuasive power and in spite of some stupid interference, as the presidential candidate of the Opposition, with Doy as her running mate. She had not yielded an inch of her position that all who would join the campaign must do so for no other consideration than the distinction of being in the forefront of the struggle. This should be enough. She had exercised the power of her disdain.

There is a gap in the diary until it resumes with his entry for February 13-17,1986, in which Doy Laurel mentions discussions with foreign diplomats. Then the diary trails off until the EDSA Revolution begins.

It is interesting to situate his entries with the chronology available. Compare Laurel’s February 22, 1986 entry with the Day One: February 22 chronology, and his February 23, 1986 entry with the Day Two: February 23, chronology, and his February 24, 1986 entry with the Day Three: February 24 chronology, and his February 25, 1986 entry with the Day Four: February 25 chronology. The chronology of the Flight of the Marcoses, contrasts with Laurel’s  diary entries for February 26, 1986 and February 27, 1986.

For more, see my Storify story, EDSA: Memories and Meanings, Timelines and Discussions.

The end result would be a bitter parting of ways; see What’s with Doy?  October 3, 1987.

Since the other side of the coin involves Ferdinand E. Marcos, see also my Storify story, Remembering Marcos.


December 11, 1985

Cory and I met at the house of my son, David in our Mandaluyong compound. She announced that she had changed her mind. She was now willing to run under UNIDO! She reiterated her previous offer that I would be her Prime Minister, that she would step down in two years, that I would name 30 percent of the Cabinet, that she would appoint the remaining 70 percent after close consultations with me. I said I would have to think it over and decide before the deadline that night.

At eight o’clock that evening I made up my mind. I called Cory to meet me at the house of Maur Aquino-Lichauco. My two brothers, former Speaker Jose B. Laurel Jr. and former Ambassador Jose S. Laurel III, came with me. I wanted them and Doña Aurora to witness what I would tell Cory. At about ten o’clock, I told her I was giving way to her. She was overwhelmed. When I extended my hand to congratulate her, she held it in both her hands and said, “Thank you, Doy. I’ll never forget this.”

Cory turned to my two brothers and said “I-formalize na ninyo ang ating pinagkasunduan.” But Kuya Pito said, “Hindi na kailangan I-formalize pa iyan. Lalong masakit lamang kung hindi tinupad.”

“Let’s go,” I said, “We have to beat the COMELEC deadline!”


Saturday, September 23, 1972

It was strange, I thought. There were no newspapers and no radio broadcasts in the morning.

At about 8:00 a.m., the Korean, Moonkyoo Kang, and Pura Calo, a Filipino, who were jointly running the ALDEC, visited me at my house and asked me how I felt. I told them that I was quite disappointed last night with the SCM in that in trying to set a new reading of the gospel, they seemed to have given a Christian organization, the Student Christian Movement, a neo-Maoist strain. I believe in a theology of liberation, I hastened to add; but liberation in Christ, not through a forcible overthrow of government.

“Obviously, you have not heard the news,” they exclaimed. “Martial law has already been declared.”

I nearly fell off my seat!

Martial law declared? Impossible!

“Yes, it is true. That is the reason why there are no newspapers and why radio stations are not in operation.”

Forthwith, I rang up my friend, Solicitor-General Estelito Mendoza, to find out if this were true. Titong was out of the house but his wife, Rosie, said this is probably true. She added that Defense Minister Enrile was ambushed yesterday afternoon. By whom?

I told her that I was, in fact, preparing to address the meeting of the Christians Concerned for civil liberties at the St. Joseph’s College today. Rosie advised me to stay home and not attend the meeting.

I immediately tried to reach my friends—Sonny Alvarez first, but Sonny’s phone was busy. Next, I tried calling up Sonia Aldeguer but I was not successful either in contacting her.

I got Pres. Pro-Tempore Sotero (Teroy) Laurel on the phone. Teroy confirmed that the news is true. He had it from good authority: from his own brother, House of Representatives Speaker Jose Laurel. He added that two of our fellow delegates have already been arrested, namely, Nap Rama and Joe Mari Velez. Teroy suggested that we just meet more or less socially but that in the meantime, we should lie low.

I called up Raul Manglapus; we have to plan on what we should do next.

I was informed that Raul had left for the U.S. a couple of days ago.

Next, I tried calling up Raul Roco, but Raul was out of the house. Fearful for his safety, I rang up the home of his father-in-law, Congressman Malasarte. I was able to get his wife, Sonia, who said that Raul had “gone out.”

I rang up Alejandro (Ding) Lichauco, but Ding’s phone was busy.

I went to the Convention Hall. The streets were almost deserted. By late morning there were still no newspapers, no radio broadcasts. In Quezon City, I saw two cars of soldiers with one civilian on the front seat in each of the cars—obviously taken into custody.

There were some soldiers at the checkpoint near the Quezon Memorial Circle, but the soldiers didn’t molest anyone.

At the Convention Hall, there was a note of hushed excitement, frustration and resignation. Now the reality is sinking into our consciousness. Martial law has been proclaimed!

Rumors were rife that our most outspoken activist delegates, Voltaire Garcia, Joe Mari Velez, Nap Rama, Ding Lichauco and Sonny Alvarez have been arrested. I met Convention Sec. Pepe Abueva and he informed me that this was what he had also heard.

The whole day, practically, was spent by us tensely waiting for some news. All sorts of rumors were floating around.

It was repeatedly announced that President Marcos was going to give an important message at 12:00 noon. Twelve o’clock came and went, and there was no news; there was only an announcement that this was going to be made later. At 2:30 p.m., a new announcement came: this would be done at 3:30 p.m. Then it was announced that due to the fact that documents were still being looked over by the President and that TV sets were still being installed at Malacañang, the message of the President was going to be later, between 6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

The people could hardly wait. At 7:00 p.m., over the radio, during dinner with the ALDEC seminar participants, we heard President Marcos explaining the grounds for declaring martial law as well as the general orders given to the secretary of national defense, Juan Ponce Enrile, and to Press Sec. Francisco (Kit) Tatad. Tatad’s big face popped out on TV. He read for more than an hour, in what seemed to us sinister monotone, the full text of the presidential proclamation.

“Big Brother is watching us,” exclaimed one of the participants while looking at Tatad’s face which filled the TV frame. But this is not 1984! George Orwell showed up too early in the Philippines.

Tatad was continuously pouring out words that seemed to seal the fate of our people. We sat there and listened in mingled fear and confusion.

Sadly and fearfully, we speculated on the possible fate of our militant friends who had spoken at the ALDEC seminar, yesterday and day before yesterday. They must have been taken into military custody already. Ding Lichauco must surely have been arrested, we conjectured, and Dante Simbulan, likewise. Possibly also Dodong Nemenzo, we thought. The Korean, Moonkyoo, tried to cheer us up. He has a tape of Ding Lichauco’s lecture and he said he would tell everyone that he has the last lecture of Lichauco before he was arrested.


February 24, 1970 Tuesday

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Office of the President

of the Philippines

Malacañang

 

 

February 24, 1970

Tuesday

 

 

10:35 PM

 

We go to San Fernando, La Union tomorrow to return at noon. This is a counter demonstration of the Ilocanos who want to show solidity behind me. But my fear is that they will march to Manila armed and cause violence to erupt once more at their instigation. So I must stop them.

Fiscal Policy Committee with the Congressional leaders met to assess the monetary situation. The Senate President and Aytona was helpful. Speaker Laurel complained that the congressmen and he were not informed of the decision for a floating rate before approval. Puyat understood but as usual the Speaker did not understand the need for secrecy.

Will start releasing funds for the provinces. Priority has been given to the Tondo project. I meet Enrique Zobel on the project next Friday afternoon.

The trading this day on dollars quoted ₱5.70 to the dollar – much lower than we expected. The black market had reached ₱6.30. The persons who face dollar loan amortizations are complaining of the new policy for a floating rate as they will pay more in pesos but the exporters specially those not in the copra, sugar, logs and copper category are cheering it.

Looks like we still have no funds in government. We should now have only one appropriation act to include even public works and capital expenditures.


January 20, 1970

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January 20, 1970 Malacañang Palace I still write this in Veterans Memorial Hosp. at 8:00 AM. Meldy is coming home to the Palace at noon before lunch. We have stopped the regular stipends to the columnists and newspapermen. This was started by Pres. Magsaysay in 1954. But we have to stop this corruption. This may be the cause of the harsh and even vicious attitude of the newspapers. I am still trying to ferret out the TV and radio commentators who are being bought. This has to be stopped too. The Commissioner of Civil Service, Abelardo Subido, has been found guilty in the investigation of his actuations in entering into contracts with himself. I have requested him to resign. We have to set the example in the higher echelons of government. For undoubtedly there is still petty graft in the lower ranks – the export office is one, the BIR and the Customs. This must be eradicated and soon. Malacañang 11:55 PM Settled the Speakership problem this morning by calling Ex Speaker Villareal, then Speaker Laurel to Maharlika. Villareal graciously withdrew but his supporters swear that if Laurel does not remain loyal to me, they will topple him. Met the congressmen who all wanted releases and appointments. Met Commissioner of Civil Service Abelardo Subido whom I asked to resign for violation of the Anti-Graft Law for signing a contract of lease both as lessor and lessee.

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Will reorganize the army so that the IInd and IIIrd Military areas will be converted into brigades. More flexible and fitted to the concept of home defense or guerrilla war. Updating the emergency plan to include not only counter-insurgency but even a military attempt at a take over. Have ordered Gen. Raval to prepare a strike force in Camp Crame. Must get the armored units, the air force and naval units organized. Met Sec. Mata, Usec. Melchor, Gen. Yan, Ileto, Raval, Singson and Com. Lomibao. Will meet with Gov. Licaros and Zavkar of the IMF tomorrow. Looks like Zavkar has no power to negotiate but has been instructed to propose devaluation of from 25% to 30% or a multiple rate of exchange. From reports, Zavhkar is of the belief that we will not be able to enforce a multiple rate of exchange. They want a budget surplus in the next six months – which we already have. The truth of the matter is everything – but everything is awaiting at a standstill the results of the consultations with IMF – both government and the private sector cannot move until we know what the BOP strategy is.


Thursday, January 15, 1970

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Malacañang

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Thursday

January 15, 1970

The newspapers headlined (specially Manila Times) the resignation of Nolan from the Sugar Quota Adm. and Sugar Institute. I have asked him to stay but today I have had to designate Jose Unson the Asst. Sugar Quota Adm. to replace him.

This may precipitate a break with the Montelibanos and the Lopezes who, I am sure, are behind it.

I hope Ex Sec. Alfredo Montelibano resigns from the RCA so I can appoint Bong Tanco.

I write this on the evening of the 16th because last night after the birthday party of Hilda Ysmael, we slept at the Veterans Memorial Hospital so that Meldy may be operated on at 6:00 AM.

Manila is talking about the sugar bloc blackmailing me into supporting Laurel for Speaker with the editorials of the Chronicle, the resignation of Nolan, the expected resignation of Montelibano and other signs.

What they do not know is that Iñing Lopez when I saw him on the 13th at the Meralco Hospital insisted on the appointment of Montelibano as Secretary of Finance on the ground that there was need for a new face in the Finance Dept. I am sure this is because Danding Romualdez has refused to be their tool. Anyway I told him that if Danding Romualdez should be changed

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this would be an admission of the failure of the monetary policies which I am not ready to do because I approved of them. Although the state of our balance of payments was never revealed to me until June 1969 when it was impossible to do anything as any retrenchment and curtailment of imports and government expenditure would have caused a skyrocketing of process during the political campaign. This would have been a disaster.

But as soon as my reelection was assured, I ordered all the necessary steps to be taken like the curtailment of imports and the cutting of government expenditures; all public works releases have been suspended, all casuals terminated, loans and guarantees by the government financing institutions stopped. Prices went up and I had to call the retailers, dealers and importers to maintain the old level of prices. We sent a mission to the U.S. and Europe to obtain new loans and restructure our short-term loans.

Ting Roxas bungled the mission. According to Iñing Lopez, Maurice, the President of the German National Bank, Ting Roxas panicked everybody in Germany into believing that the Philippines was in chaos. And they came to the Philippines to see for themselves. To their surprise they discover us still operating as a democracy.

Curse upon these theoretical economists!


January 13, 1970

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Malacañang

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January 13, 1970

Awarded the Rizal Pro Patria to Don Vicente Madrigal.

Saw Iñing Lopez in the Meralco Hospital. Had lunch with him. Had sashimi and tempura as well as mizuno and Japanese melon. He is disgustingly healthy.

Worked the whole afternoon on counter-insurgency, the emergency plan and the Barrio Home Defense Force.

A new confirmed report of a plot to assassinate both me and the Vice President has just been reported by Boni and confirmed by Joe Maristela. The military group is headed by Terry Adevoso – the political group is still being checked.

Apparently the plans of the Liberal paralleled those of the communists. They will await the results of my efforts to improve the economic situation then if I fail, they will take advantage of this by assassination.

Well, we must not fail!!

And I must check the participation of Pres. Puyat of the Senate and Speaker Laurel of the House.

Ralph Nubla reported tonight that Congressman Yap of Tarlac, right-hand man of Sen. Ninoy Aquino, has said that they will give me six months – then they will strike. We must clarify all these plans.

 

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Imelda has a mass in the right breast and worries us because the doctors say that while there has been no change, an operation to remove it and to find out if it is malignant may be necessary.

I am suffering from pain in the right groin after golf. I hope it is not hernia. I see the doctor tomorrow.

And we were on a project to have another baby, a boy if possible. Massive injections of hormones for Imelda is necessary if we are to have a baby and this is not good for her growth in the breast which might develop into something serious with these hormones.


Monday, January 12, 1970

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Malacañang

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Monday

January 12, 1970

The Villareal group has obtained 67 signatures. Went to see the body of Mayor “Banjo” Laurel who died in a helicopter crash at Pi, Cam. Sur the other night. Their heli went out of gas, landed, refueled with ordinary gasoline, took off at night and crashed.

If I do not help Pepito Laurel, he will lose the speakership fight.

Have postponed the caucus to Wednesday after Banjo’s funeral.

Will visit Iñing Lopez at the Meralco Hosp. tomorrow, at the suggestion of the VP, Nanding & Jose Aldeguer.

Received six vessels from the U.S. requested by Amb. Byroade, three LSTs, one tugboat and two LCVPs, this morning at Navy headquarters, then a courtesy call from Mr. Roy Mason, head of the Board of Trade of England, then the City boy and girl officials, Ramon Jacinto and Sen. Aytona on the requirements of ISMI which was one of the big contributors in the last campaign.

Am now completing the files including expenses and contributions.

Am giving Don Vicente Madrigal an award tomorrow at 10:00 AM.