…I also conferred with the Speaker and House Majority Floor Leader (Villareal and Veloso) informing them of my plan to push through a new constitution that may be different from the draft by the Concon. It would be unicameral with a definite period for an interim government; that we would have to retain powers to prevent a constitutional crisis but by virtue of the will and decision of the people, that we would have to adopt a unicameral legislature, that we would want on the morning of the 17th to make a final decision.
And Delegate Duavit that we would have to prepare a new constitution more acceptable to the people, perhaps writing several drafts or alternative proposals and asking the citizens assemblies to choose one…
[Marginal note: Addressed the first convention of priests at 8:30 AM. More ad lib than the prepared text. Charming speech so Josefina Constantino said.]
January 14, 1970
Have told the congressmen we should keep Laurel as speaker in the whole morning and afternoon caucus. All the members of the Junta were for Laurel after I told them I was. But the Junta and I, first, had to announce for the consumption of the public that we could not intervene in purely internal matters of the House, unless the House members themselves asked us to personally intervene.
After this, I called a conference of Cong. Ramon Durano, Nicanor Yñiguez, Ali Dimaporo, Ugung Navarro, Joe Alberto, Maling Espinosa, and Floring Crisologo to tell them that inasmuch as they are the leaders of Ex-Speaker Villareal, it was their duty to inform him of my decision and that the most ideal situation would be for Villareal to withdraw. Then I asked Villareal and Laurel to come into the conference room and notified each in turn of my efforts to prevent an open fight.
A committee of six, three from Laurel’s side (Maj. Floor Leader Veloso, Asst. Floor Leader Mercado and Chiongbian), then three on Villareal’s side (Yñiguez, Alberto and Ali Dimaporo) was organized to proposed amendments to the rules of the House.
Because of the ramifications of the Adevoso plot, I must include Johnny Ponce Enrile in the counter-planning – and perhaps J-2, Col. Fidel Ramos and the NBI. Played golf at Pangarap with the Malacañang reporters. Pain in the groin has disappeared. The doctors, Dr. Yap and P. Marcos think it was just a muscle sprain.
But Imelda gets operated on at Veterans Memorial Hospital 6:00 AM on the 16th and will sleep at the hospital tomorrow.
[Marginal note: Laurel and Puyat and even Villareal say: “There is only one elector we have to campaign for and win – and he is in Malacañang.”]
January 9, 1970
Breakfast with Speaker Laurel, Speaker Pro Temp Jose Aldeguer and Maj. Floor Leader Marcelino Veloso. Told him of the drift towards the left and the fear of political leaders, businessmen and the military that we are not taking steps to prevent it but are instead encouraging it. He has agreed to remove Emmanuel Yap, head of Cepo and his next in rank Lichauco.
Then met with Former Speaker Villareal and Com on Appro Chairman Jose Alberto who agreed that we call a Nacionalista House Members Caucus Tuesday, Jan. 13th 10:00 AM at Pangarap. I intend to interview the different blocs and see who is supported by the majority.
But we must not allow the Nacionalista Party to split up on this rivalries. We must keep our old cohesion. So I also intend to call Pres. Pro Temp Jose Roy, rival of Pres Puyat for the Presidency of the Senate.
A demonstration of Batanes students – about 500 asked for arrest of those still terrorizing would-be witnesses. They claim PC helpless. So I have ordered the NBI deputy chief, Ponciano Fernando to personally go with 12 PC men who are from Batanes, to obtain evidence against, identify, arrest and prosecute all the alleged terrorists. I challenged the young men and women to fight for their rights by testifying and convincing their relatives, friends and fellow Batanenses to testify.
I am happy that my speech before the Rotary yesterday noon on Open Skies for one year and lifting of the suspension of loans for mining and new export oriented industries has been taken well.
I can feel the confidence surging back to our people. Standard remark was: “We did not know this was being done. We are glad he is President.” Soft-soap but gratifying.
Earl Mazo, Nixon’s biographer, has just interviewed me and he says Imelda and I are so high above the newspapers and the crowd now that we should not be concerned what the papers print because if it is bad, the people will not believe it anyway.
Two questions have come up in his interview:
1. Are the U.S. military bases in the Philippines a deterrent or a magnet to bombing and/or nuclear attack. (The Recto & Laurel position is that they are mere magnets not deterrents and are not only useless but prejudicial to Philippine national interest.) I personally believe that now with the present nuclear capability of Red China and the ABM buildup of the U.S., we need the bases for the defense of the Phil. If China had not developed its nuclear capability we would not need them. Pres. Nixon explained to me last March when Imelda and I attended the Eisenhower memorial services in Washington D.C. how the U.S. would use the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) to counter-act any nuclear threat from Red China.
2. What will happen to our economy, specially the sugar industry if the IS does not extend our special preferences. (Of course the sugar industry would collapse because special preferences or the quota given us in the American market allows us to sell our sugar at the favored price of 7 cents a pound as against 3 cents a pound in the world market. And our cost of production is from 3 to 4 cents a pound. Our dollar earnings from sugar alone is $160 million out of a total dollar earnings of $1.5 billion.)