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.


November 11, 1985

Arrived from Tokyo this morning.

Spoke before the Manila Rotary Club. During the open forum that followed my speech, a die-hard supporter gave me 17-page document entitled “A Gathering of Davids”, dated October 30, 1985. Attached to it was another document consisting of 9 pages entitled “Declaration of Unity, dated Dec. 26, 1984.

the first document was a carefully conceived plot to destroy and discredit UNIDO and me as presidential standard bearer. The objective was to grab the leadership of the opposition from UNIDO and place it in the hands of left-leaning elements, using Cory as their tool. Obviously, this was hatched while I was in US.

The plot had a time-table. They were supposed to the COMELEC accreditation as Dominant Opposition Party (DOP) by Nov. 5. But they were delayed because of my absence. The NUC was to be used as the instrument to get the DOP from UNIDO and Ex-Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma was the anointed implementor. All along she had pretended to be “neutral”, but the document clearly showed that she was already part of the plot to replace UNIDO as DOP and replace me as presidential candidate. Their plan was to make Cory the presidential candidate and NUC as the DOP.

The plotters were:

Lorenzo Tañada — Convenor Group

Jose W. Diokno

Jaime V. Ongpin — Convenor Group

Cory Aquino — Convenor Group

Jovito Salonga ?

Butz Aquino

Aquilino Pimentel

Sonny Osmeña

Tito Guingona

 

They were the signatories also to the “Declaration of Unity” which had agreed to legalize the Communist Party and swore to immediately remove the US Bases — which Eva Kalaw and I had refused to sign.

It was specifically stated that the UNIDO was to be “forced” “as quickly as possible” to yield to NUC-CG demands “or else” be “isolated” and “viewed as the villain” by the people. A well-planned concerted media blitz to discredit and destroy UNIDO and me “at all cost” was already planned. “Coordinated press releases, interviews” were ready.

The so-called “Command Structure of the Coalition” excluded UNIDO. A convention within 48-hours also excluded UNIDO.

A letter addressed to the NUC, attention MP Cecilia Muñoz Palma, “reminding” her to seek the DOP status for NUC bu November 7, was already drafted.


June 12, 1985

Today was a whole day affair. More than 25,000 delegates and leaders of UNIDO attended the Nominating Convention at the Araneta Coliseum. They came at their own expense. All we gave them was a hamburger, two hard boiled eggs and a banana for lunch. All political leaders identified with the opposition were present. Even Cory came despite attempts of her “advisers” to dissuade her.* I am told by old-timers that it was the biggest and fightingest political convention on record –and I was unanimously nominated presidential standard bearer of the opposition. I expect Marcos to call a snap election soon –before Christmas.

This will be an all-out fight.

I immediately set the tone of the presidential campaign in my acceptance speech which I entitled “The Final Battle”:

The UNIDO is committed to non-violent change. Bloody revolution is not the only path to freedom: Democracy cannot take root amidst violence. All confrontation must end in reconciliation.

But those who would oppose us know that we will never give up this fight.

We will never give up the fight against repressive rule, against deception, against hypocrisy, against the twisting and shrouding of truth. We will never give up the right to live as human beings in a society where human rights are not denied at the will or whim of one man. Democracy is non-negotiable.

*I am confident we will have only one candidate in the opposition. The only other possible candidate is Cory but she has repeatedly told me she is not interested and that she will never run for the presidency. She has said this privately and publicly. She appears to be sincere. She attended today’s convention and even delivered a speech supporting my candidacy. I was told her advisers (Tañada, Diokno, Arroyo) were trying to stop her and she was in tears because she wanted to –and she did. Her advisers obviously have their own agenda. I hope Cory will not become a tool in their hands.


January 22, 1970

01 Diary of Ferdinand Marcos, 1970, 0001-0099 (Jan01-Feb28) 47 01 Diary of Ferdinand Marcos, 1970, 0001-0099 (Jan01-Feb28) 48

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Office of the President

of the Philippines

Malacañang Palace

January 22, 1970

I have been able to settle the Senate Presidency at 3:30 PM. Puyat remains and Roy becomes Executive Vice President of the Nacionalista Party as well as President Pro Tempore. Tolentino remains as majority floor leader.

We have organized the panel of lawyers to handle the defense in the protest filed by Osmeña. They are Ex-Chief Justice Paras, Ex-Justice Ozaeta, Don Quintin Paredes, Dean Vicente Abad Santos, Joe Africa and my classmate Ramon Aquino. The offices of Tañada, Pelaez and others who are as senators disqualified from appearing before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, will be listed as appearing as counsel for me. Offices will be established at the Northern Lines Bldg. Jose Africa will be the Vice Chairman of the panel; possibly Ex-Justice Ozaeta will be the Chairman.

A disturbing piece of news from Joe Maristela is that Gens. Ileto and Tanabe have promised support to the Adevoso Junta in their assassination and coup d’etat planning. We must check this and neutralize them. But I will first personally meet with Joe Maristela tomorrow night.

This is compounded by the fact that the process will necessarily go up if we set free the rate of exchange. Then we will impose more taxes and for the next six months we will not be able to relax credit or government expenses, nor imports. I must increase the entry of tax-free goods into the Free Trade Zone and soon.

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Office of the President

of the Philippines

One of the PSA (Intelligence) Sgt. Retuta, in civilian clothes as a photographer was mauled by the student demonstrators today in front of the palace. No reason except that he was allegedly infiltrating. This should get us some sympathy.

The demonstrators (some ten of them) are still there with their mike shouting unprintable and vicious imprecations at me, Meldy and everybody. You can hear them in all rooms of the Palace except our bedroom and the study.

They want P10 million to be released to their schools for such things like a gym for the Phil. Normal College. These public works releases have been suspended in accordance with the new policy of priorities and savings in the last six months of this fiscal year of P243 million.

We will have to tolerate such irritating demonstrations until we lift this policy.


September 15, 1945, Saturday

All of us had been anxiously awaiting our turn to be released. About ten o’clock this morning, Recto announced that he was leaving that morning. I went to the Administration Office to ascertain whether I was being released also. Mr. Bunye, the Superintendent, read and reread the list of detainees turned over by the C.I.C. to the Philippine Commonwealth government, but I was not included. It was a surprise to me as I was expected to be released with Recto. I sat down in Mr. Bunye’s office and waited. Every time a list came, I inquired whether my name was on it and I always received a negative answer. At about 11:30 I became impatient and went up to the office of Director Misa. As usual, Mr. Misa was very kind and helpful. I asked him whether I had been turned over to the Commonwealth. He pulled from a drawer a long list. After reading it carefully, he told me I was not included. I asked him to read it again. He reviewed the list and he gave me the assurance that my name was not in the list. Secretary Abello came and I asked him to read the list. He also certified that I was not included. The reason why I did not read the list myself was I forgot to bring my new pair of reading glasses; I could hardly read with my old pair which I brought with me. I finally pulled it out of my pocket, put it on and began to read. I saw my name immediately. I was under the letter “D” for “De las Alas”, not under “A” for “Alas”. This is probably the reason why Messrs. Misa and Abello failed to see my name.

I became very excited. I could not keep still and did not know what to do. Director Misa was a mind reader and a real friend. He is always anxious to serve. He said that if the usual legal procedures were to be followed, I would not be able to leave that day, for he had to notify Mr. Tañada who had to approve my bail. I would be released upon the receipt of the release papers from Tañada. However, he adopted another procedure, rather unusual and illegal. He signed an order for my release and placed me under the custody of a Bilibid guard who accompanied me to Manila. The guard was not supposed to give me the release order and actually release me until Fiscal Tañada approved my bail. I had no transportation but Mr. Abello kindly offered his automobile. The guard and my cousin, Atty. Luis Atienza, accompanied me. They took me directly to the house where my family was staying — 176 Rodriguez Arias, in the San Miguel district, the old house of the Padilla family. My family was surprised. They were not expecting me. We cried as an expression of joy. Mrs. Padilla, Paddy’s mother, also showed great happiness. After many months I am reunited with my dear family.

The guard and Atienza went to the office of Mr. Tañada and got the approval of my bail. Later, they brought my release order to me. Thus ended my long imprisonment.

Now I will stop writing this sort of a diary. From now on I shall devote my time in preparing my case and in seeking my full vindication.


September 14, 1945, Friday

Visit of family. I saw Victor, my new grandson, son of Paddy and Lily, for the first time.

Since my arrival, I had been conferring with the detainees of Muntinglupa and getting impressions. All seem to be very disappointed. They do not understand how we could be traitors. Even old Don Miguel Unson was bitter. All agreed that we should get together to protect our rights and to vindicate ourselves.

We who came from Iwahig continued to meet and comment on the different events and news. We were somewhat depressed. We were beginning to have the impression that some of those assuring us of their support are not really working for us. We even suspect that for political or personal reasons they preferred and wished that we remain in jail for a longer time or that our cases be prolonged.

There were two events that disheartened us very much. One is the case of Representative Veloso. He was about to be released and he announced to us his intention to take his seat in the House immediately. We tried to persuade him not to do so. But he insisted. He said that he had already talked to the majority of the Representatives. Apparently, his friends had forsaken him. The house refused to seat him. They set the precedent that he must first be cleared by the C.I.C. What a shameful ruling! Each House is the sole judge of the right to seat of its member. Why should they make it depend upon the discretion of another entity, especially one which is non-Filipino? The House should not allow anybody to interfere in the exercise of its constitutional right. Veloso announced that he would publish the names of collaborators now sitting in Congress and that he would go to the United States to to fight his case. He will make things worse.

The other is the cablegram to Pres. Osmeña of Secretary Ickes of the U.S. Department of the Interior, in effect it warns that the rehabilitation aid would depend upon whether the “collaborators” would be vigorously prosecuted and convicted. Osmeña answered that his administration is taking proper action. He said that proper machinery to handle the matter is being organized. He added that he even disregarded the legal provision that nobody can be detained for over 6 hours. There is quite a speculation as to why Ickes sent such a cablegram. The concensus of opinion is that it was the result of the campaign of Confesor, Cabili, Kalaw and Romulo. Ickes cannot possibly take personal active interest in an affair which is small in so far as the American people are concerned. Ickes’ cablegram was followed by several editorials and publications in the United States against “collaborationists.” The suspicion about the activities of Confesor and others in this connection comes from the statement of Col. Peralta, the guerrilla hero who has just returned from the United States, to the effect that Confesor and others go from one newspaper office to another to give news against the “collaborationists”. These people are certainly doing a lot of harm to the Philippines. The truth is that there is practically no pro-Japanese element in the Philippines. The Japanese themselves found this out, although too late. And yet Confesor and others would make the American people believe that there are many Filipino pro-Japanese and among them are counted many of the outstanding Filipinos who in the past or during the American regime occupied the most responsible positions in the government. I believe Confesor and others at heart do not believe that we are traitors to our country and pro-Japanese or disloyal to America. Their only aim is to prejudice Roxas who is disputing the presidency with Osmeña. So that we are being made the football of politics. We are being the victim of political intrigue and machinations. This gives one an insight of the evil of politics. Because of it, the most rudimentary principles of justice and fairness are trampled upon.

The cablegram of Ickes was received with disappointment and disgust by free loving Filipinos. The “collaborationists” issue is a matter that should be left to the Philippine Government to handle without interference on the part of the United States government officials. This gives us an indication of what we may expect if we are not given complete and immediate independence. Furthermore, why should the rehabilitation aid to which our country became entitled because of loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and more than a billion worth of damages as our contribution to this war, be made to depend upon a handful of supposed “traitors”? Why should our country be punished for the guilt of a few, who some Americans consider as “renegades”?

The answer of Osmeña was equally disappointing. It was weak and subservient. He should have resented the uncalled for and untimely interference. He should defend the rights and prerogatives of his government as we did when we fought General Wood for undue interference in our powers. He should resent the insult to him when Ickes seemed to presume that his government would not do what is right. Some remarked that this is just as “puppet” a government as the Republic during the Japanese occupation. It was an opportunity for Osmeña to make a stand to show that he means to govern this country.

There is another event worth mentioning. Habeas corpus proceedings were started in the Supreme Court for the release of one of the detainees. The Court decided against the petition on the ground that the war is not yet over. There was a brilliant dissenting opinion by Justice Ozaeta. It was a great document. He was for the maintenance and preservation of man’s constitutional libertarian rights.

* * * * *

            Our release began the very day we arrived in Muntinglupa. Saturday, September 8th, Minister Alunan and Gen. Francisco were released after giving the required bail. The next day, Yulo followed. Two days afterwards, Sison and Sebastian were released. There were rumors that Recto and I were to be released next. We had been informed that our papers were ready in Solicitor General Tañada’s office. Everytime one leaves, those left behind felt very sad.

We, members of Congress, had various meetings, once with Roxas. There was a proposition to write a letter to the Senate stating that we would not assume our positions in the Senate until after proper investigation and requesting such an investigation. It was written upon the suggestion of Roxas. But we decided not to take our seats until after our complete exoneration. I think this is a wise decision. We cannot do anything anyhow as we will be tied up on account of our cases. Besides, it will be embarrassing for us when questions involving our case or our relationship with the United States or Japan come up.