Friday, November 17, 1972

Surprise! Instead of the 166-man body meeting, the meeting was of a small group of 15 people each from the Steering Council and the Sponsorship Council and 4 floor leaders to go over the amendments.

Apparently, this morning, there was an organizational meeting. These 15 people from each of the councils were appointed and they were to start meeting in the afternoon.

Noli Santos told me that he had nominated me, together with Magtanggol (Tanggol) Gunigundo, to represent the Sponsorship Council but there were objections because some delegates had said that I was too independent-minded. This was a compliment, but I told Noli that I was not keenly interested in joining this group anyway. After all, in the words of Munding, this is now lutong macao.

During the roll call of the members, however, my name was called. It turned out that I was elected a member.

Tio Juaning Borra asked for certain interpositions of phrases in the Preamble approved by the Steering Council. He said that, after all, with the exception of the change of two words—that of “independence” to “sovereignty” and the inclusion of “equality,” the present Preamble is the same as that of the 1935 Preamble. So, he urged that we might as well give credit to the authors of the 1934 Convention. We are basically adopting their Preamble, he claimed.

The note of sarcasm in many of Borra’s speeches cannot be hidden. Borra has been critical of what is happening in the Convention. Unfortunately, he cannot be too outspoken; I hear his son is presently indicted for a serious crime before the courts. How sad! This is the reason why, during the last two months, he could not give full vent to his feelings. Nevertheless, every now and then, his pent-up feelings of bitterness and frustration would suddenly burst out.

When it came to the Declaration of Principles, the committee took up the amendments section by section. When we reached Section 2, a motion was made to reject an amendment by Naning Kalaw, who was not there. The rejection was made almost with a vengeance. But the motion went further; it would reject not only Naning’s amendment but all other amendments that now or in the future may be presented.

I said that, so as not to complicate matters, perhaps the last amendment should be taken up first, namely, the amendment by substitution. I announced that I had filed an amendment by substitution.

To my great surprise, Clemente (Clem) Abundo immediately made a motion that all amendments by substitution should, hereafter, be rejected. Fidel Purisima and Valeriano Yancha, among others, showed so much zeal in joining Abundo in gagging me. I said it would not take long for the body to get my amendment and other similar amendments discussed and rejected—perhaps, only two minutes. But I wanted the body to take it up.

Abundo, Yancha and Purisima would not brook any accommodations. Pacificador, too, was vehemently against giving me the floor.

As I write this diary now, my thoughts fly out to the American Constitutional Convention and what Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania had said: “I flatter myself that I came here in some degree as a representative of the whole human race… I wish the gentlemen would extend their views beyond the present moment of time, beyond the narrow limits of place from which they derive their political origin.”

How different it was during the times of those reasonable men!

Some delegates, like Tony Almedo, urged, “Give Caesar a chance to explain.” Good old reliable Jess Matas was cheering, and so also were those solid, conscientious and progressive colleagues, Noli Santos and Pete Yap.

But the loyalists were bent on mowing down the opposition.

When I was faced with this kind of problem during my UP days, I wrote an editorial in the Collegian, quoting from the nineteenth century English liberal, John Stuart Mill: “If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would no more be justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, in silencing mankind.”

Far away and long ago!

Peps Bengzon was apparently in charge of the Declaration of Principles. He explained almost in a spirit of cordiality that we should not say that Caesar Espiritu’s amendment has been rejected. Rather, he said, most of the provisions have been substantially incorporated in the draft Constitution; it is only a question of phraseology.

I thought this was deception done so diplomatically. What, was it Alice in Wonderland said? “In a world of the absurd, reason is madness.”

Although Peps was quite conciliatory, I could not help but stand up to say I appreciated those words but that, in my thinking, 70 percent of the concepts in my amendment do not find reflection in the draft of the Steering Council.

Anyway, I had no regrets. I did not really expect any positive response from this group, but I did succeed in inserting into the records what I felt I was happy enough that I was able to do this.

I was surprised at how well-knit the pro-Marcos people are. How eager they are for the kill against anyone who might put a monkey wrench into their conspiracy!

Afterwards, I had a talk with Ben Abubakar and Dr. Aruego. Ben told me that it was Sen. Enchong Sumulong who had wanted to make the present members of Congress members of the interim Assembly, with the present delegates to the convention as ex-officio members. Only when the interim Assembly should constitute itself as a constituent Assembly would it be able to introduce amendments to the Constitution.

Of course these ideas would get nowhere in the Convention; the delegates are now hell-bent on being assemblymen!

I also had a chat with Dr. Aruego. He was a delegate to the 1934 Constitutional Convention. He had written The Framing of the (1935) Constitution, the authoritative book on the 1934 Constitutional Convention. (Dr. Jose P. Laurel’s notes on the proceedings of the 1934 Convention, were, of course, much more comprehensive and profound, but they are not as easily available as Aruego’s book.)

Aruego said that there is no comparison between the pressures during the 1934 Convention and the pressures now. Recto was not a traditional Quezon man; he had only been with Quezon on the “pro” and “anti” issues on the Tydings-McDuffie and the Hare-Hawes Cutting Acts. The real men of Quezon were Sotto and Cuenco from Cebu.

Although there were also some charges that the Constitution was already cooked up in Malacañang during the 1934 Convention, actually this was not taken seriously because no one believed it. Our present situation, according to Dr. Aruego, is completely different. Everything is emanating from Malacañang.

At the end of a gruelling day, Greg Tingson rode with me up to the Quezon Elliptical Circle. It is so very apparent, he said—the great difference between people with convictions and those without. “This was so conspicuously displayed during the brief meeting we attended this afternoon. While you were talking out of conviction, the rest of the delegates were bending to accommodate whatever was made necessary by political realities.”

But is this wise or right? Aying Yñiguez had told me yesterday that he is making a choice and his choice is grounded not on moral but rather on purely political considerations. “My options are within the realm of political realities and, therefore, my decisions are political, not moral.”

Are all politicians the same? Pursuing to build a bridge even when there is no river?


July 1, 1942

Quezon’s description of his visit to the island of Mactan (off Cebu) with Secretary of Public Works Cuenco and the Governor of the Province: they took him over the magnificent new road to the barrio where they had erected a statue to Lapu-Lapu the local datu who had killed Magellan. Quezon turned to them and remarked that Lapu-Lapu was not the first independista, but was really no better than a local “head-hunter,” that the inscription on the statue was not based on historical truth; the fight in which Magellan lost his life was merely a struggle between two local chieftains. As for this fine road, it was just part of Osmeña’s program of spending the Commonwealth’s money down here to get all the votes in the barrio.

He then turned to a description of his relations with Osmeña in the latter years of my (F.B.H.’s) administration. In 1916 Quezon came back to the Philippines with the Jones Law in his pocket and was at once elected President of the Senate; not only did I (F.B.H.) try to push him forward towards the leadership, but his Senators from the very beginning bucked against the old protocol by which the Speaker of the House (Assembly) had been established as N° 1 Filipino and N° 2 in the Islands after the Governor General. Quezon says that he had originally had himself elected as Osmeña’s lieutenant against the latter’s wishes. When he came back in 1916 with the Jones Law, he knew he could beat Osmeña but he really felt that Osmena was the better man to head the nation; Quezon felt himself inferior to Osmeña especially in the realm of government finance.

Council of State. This was a maneuver of Osmeña to perpetuate himself in power. When he first showed the original draft of the proposed Executive Order creating Council of State, it was so drawn that the Council was to sit under Osmeña’s presidency without the Governor General being present. Quezon told Osmeña at once I would never agree to this. They came with the proposed order to Malacañan together. Osmeña made the suggestion that the Council sit without the Governor General. Quezon says: my face grew fiery red, and I stated “Not over my dead body.” Then there was a pause which to Quezon seemed to last an hour, so finally he remarked: “It’s a fine day, Governor.” Quezon had often told this story to “old timers” when they maintained that I had been “run” by Osmena and Quezon. He always said that I was the most independent of all the American Governors General with the possible exception of Stimson.

Quezon then went on to talk of the entertainment fund which I had asked the legislature to set up for my successors just before I left the Philippines. Quezon remarked that I had paid for all my entertainments; Taft’s brother paid for his; Smith gave one fiesta and then got himself appointed a Federal Judge. Quezon said Wood profited from the fund–I remarked “poor man, he surely needed it,” but Quezon replied “It was terrible because it made Wood stay on so long in the Philippines.” His Vice Governor Gilmore charged the government 3 pesos for every private guest whom he entertained.

Governor General Smith was described by Quezon as a “simple, openhearted man,” who was closest to the Filipinos of any of them before I came. He had been selected as Governor General by Cardinal Gibbons, and was so devout a Catholic that he used to confess to the Jesuits in Manila, who thought they could run him. But a year and a half after Smith’s appointment. Cardinal Gibbons said he would never ask for a Catholic again. Smith stood up so straight against pressure that he leaned over backwards.


December 1, 1936

Glad November is over–somehow or other this is nearly always a worrisome month;–this year it was even worse than usual both because of Doria’s illness, and by reason of the lack of discretion, not to say greediness of some of ay associates in business.

At Malacañan at 9:30. Quezon was in the barber chair, just finishing an interview with Cuenco, former Assemblyman from Cebu whom he introduced to me as the new Secretary of Public Works and Communications. Three days ago, Cuenco had been announced as the new Mayor of Cebu, but it appears that Osmeña as the Boss of Cebu was obliged to offer some opposition, to the appointment of one of the opposing party. Vargas was present with Quezon and handed him Cuenco’s appointment as a Cabinet member, explaining that Osmeña had intimated his acquiescence in that rather than having to consent to Cuenco’s being Mayor of his city–never believing Quezon would agree. It looks as if Osmeña had been out-jockeyed!! The President told Vargas to get this appointment right into Cuenco’s hands, so that nothing could happen to interrupt it. When, a half hour later I reported this appointment to Claro Recto and Rafael Corpus, they both said: “This will break up the coalition!” but when I replied that Osmeña had already agreed, Corpus remarked “That’s the trouble–Osmeña is too easy.”

I then reported to the President my recent conversation with Foulds, British Consul General, in which I gained the information that the heads of foreign states such as Kings and President were not invited to the Coronation. To this Quezon made no comment:–he had probably learned this himself from Foulds, but he was obviously disappointed. My last point for Quezon that morning was a report of a conversation with Tommy Wolff last Friday night in which he stated that by accepting Filipino citizenship I had “not a friend left”–“except you, Tommy” I interrupted, at which he began to stammer. Quezon told me “not to let these fellows get under my skin.” I went on to say that Wolff was getting in the frame of mind of the late Paul Reinsch, American Minister of China, who had come to believe that the inhabitants of the country wished him harm (and went mad). Quezon at once said that Wolff’s mind was weakening from too much conviviality. He then observed that he “could not stand seeing any of his friends under the influence of liquor.”

I told Quezon about the troubles caused to newly forming mining companies by the excessive zeal of the promoters–that I had joined the Central Exchange under the urging of Speaker Montilla believing he was back of it–that I never heard of Prats until then–that I had induced Don Ramon Fernandez to join with me and we had gone to work to secure a Produce Exchange as something of real value for the future, and thanks to Quezon’s assistance had obtained it. Shortly after this conversation Corpus reported to me that the President had vetoed the bill on exempting Produce Exchanges from more than one sales tax–thus making them impossible except when run by the government. (This I doubt).


August 11, 1936

Saw Quezon coming out at 9:30 with A.D. Williams, Arellano the architect and Assemblyman Magalona. He called out to me asking me to lunch with him, and a moment later sent a messenger to ask me to join his party. We went down to the Port Area to see the land which Magalona wants to lease for a hotel. Quezon told me it would not compete with the Manila Hotel, since it would be of a different class, and would not be a success anyway –the group of Negros sugar planters represented by Magalona “had so much money they didn’t know what to do with it”; they hoped to construct the hotel in four months to be ready for the coming Eucharistic Congress. Quezon approved the plan “because the government might as well get the income from the rental.” Somebody added that “the Government would probably get the hotel in the end –to use for offices.”

Quezon talked of getting rid of the San Miguel Brewery as a neighbour of Malacañan Palace, and making government offices there, so that he could house all the bureaus under the control of the President in one group around him: Civil Service, Auditor, Budget Office &c. Apparently, he contemplates exchanging the Government Ice Plant (now leased for 120,000 pesos a year to San Miguel Brewery and assessed as worth 1,200,000) for the brewery buildings next to Malacañan.

Quezon also told us that Cuenco had been to see him asking his aid in getting the Assembly to modify the new inheritance tax law so as to exempt bequests for religious and educational purposes. Maximo Kalaw, the Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee had then come to ask him to oppose this change. Quezon is opposed anyway –says the Government is spending a very great deal of money anyway on educational and charitable programs. The papers carry an item of another decision backed by Quezon to insist on the payment of certain taxes by the Church. It is possible he feels restless now over his re-conversion to the Church made when he was so ill in California several years ago. He is, I think, irked both by that and the partial restriction of his mental liberty. If so, the Church had won a Pyrrhic victory in restoring him to its bosom! I remember how at the time of my appointment as Governor General, the question was “why not send a Catholic to a Catholic country?” and the reply was “The Church doesn’t want a Catholic as Governor General –they had one in Governor General Smith, and he was so impartial in his relation to the Church that he leaned over backward!”

On our return to Malacañan, the President and I went to his office and I told him I wished to ask him about three points he had suggested to me as to my future relations out here!

(1) He had said I had better stay on out here for the rest of my life (giving complimentary reasons) –“not of course always in the Government –but as an investor” –I now was asked to become a director of a company about to be launched. He properly replied it would not be suitable “so long as I was at Malacañan”– of course he “had no objection to my making investments here.” (I passed up for the moment the plan I am forming to get out of the government service). Then Quezon asked me what was the second question?

(2) I raised again his suggestion that I should collaborate with him in a history of the Governors General since my time. His face lit up with this. I said we should not wait, but “strike while the iron’s hot.” He agreed, and advocated my seeing him three times a week, either while driving around or in Malacañan, adding “I like your company, and I think you like mine.” “The way not to write a biography is to sit down to it, because then one often misses the important points.” My third question.

(3) Was whether he had consulted Secretary Yulo as to Americans taking up Philippine citizenship. He jumped and said: “By Jove, I had forgotten that” and sent for Yulo immediately.

Then he went into the matter of his relations with  Murphy, saying “Murphy is a man who avoids facing a difficult situation –especially with a determined man like myself. If he ever comes back here he will not dare to try to run the government. I would rather have Weldon Jones here –he is clever, wise, and modest. I consulted him about that part of my message to the Assembly denouncing the withholding of the excise taxes in the United States –and he was very helpful.”

Quezon then gave me a copy of his letter of November 2, ’35 to Murphy opposing a “definition by the Secretary of War of the duties and privileges of the High Commissioner” and stating forcibly the constitutional rights of the new Commonwealth. Murphy never replied to this. The President went on to discuss the powers of inspection of the High Commissioner into the offices of the government, which are very broad. Said he had drawn up an authorization for all bureaus and offices to give information upon request by the High Commissioner, but on advice of Yulo he had withheld this. However, the only two matters on which information has not been furnished are: (a) the Philippine National Bank, which refused “in spite of my orders to furnish a copy of their minutes to the High Commissioner and I did not press them further” and (b) as to the Belo Fund. Murphy came to see him with a demand for the list of payments in the Belo Fund, and Quezon told him he could see it himself, but he would not turn it over to the High Commissioner’s office. He told Murphy: ” The powers of inspection of your office are based on the responsibility of the United States to make sure that Philippine finances are kept sound. How could the authorized expenditure of my 250,000 Belo Fund affect the general financial position? If this, however, is mere curiosity, or is an attempt to show that I have not administered the fund honestly and legally, –I resent it.” Murphy returned to the enquiry later, but got no further. Quezon went on the steamer as far as Hong Kong with Murphy who then never raised the question, but en route to Shanghai he gave Yulo a letter on the point, saying he need not put it on the record if it was thought unwise. Yulo never gave this letter to Quezon. Then, the President continued: “I would rather deal with a man who came out in the open like Stimson –who was a savage, but not one who fought from ambush– he was out on the open road always ready for a scrap. He was brutal –I never knew a man so well brought up who was so rough. Once during Stimson’s administration as Governor General, Don Miguel Unson came to me and said he would have to resign as acting Secretary of Finance. I persuaded him not to resign and then told Stimson, who replied: ‘I have tried to be careful with the Filipinos and especially with Unson –I didn’t know I was rough!'”

Later, at luncheon with Quezon and Aldanese, I opened the conversation by saying I had seen in the papers that he is interested in the Leyte Rock Asphalt dispute with the Bureau of Public Works. That this was not my business, but I had the papers on my desk and here they were –the latest statements from A.D. Williams and Claude Russell. He said at once “I am in favour of A.D.” –(so sounds the death knell of an infant Philippine industry!). He went on to say that Claude Russell had lost the government a lot of money as head of the defunct coal company (no doubt he did, but this valuable coal is now about to “come home to roost”). He added that General Wood came out here breathing fire and promising to “take the Government out of business,” but the only business they should properly have relinquished was that of coal, and: “Wood kept hold of this company for two years after we tried to close it up, because Russell kept flattering him.” He then went on about Wood. I told of the day in November 1920 when the news of Harding’s election as President had been received here. At the moment, I was driving up to Malacañan with Quezon and Osmeña and one of them said: “This means either Wood or Forbes.” “How did you come to prophecy Wood?” I asked. Quezon replied: “We didn’t select Wood; he was chosen because he was a defeated candidate for the Presidency and Harding didn’t want him around. I had first known Harding when he was a Senator, and asked him later in the White House why he had sent Wood to the Philippines. Harding replied: ‘Because the people of the Philippines asked for him.’ ‘Why, Mr. President, no reputable Filipino would ask for a man who had insulted them as the Wood-Forbes Report did.'” (Quezon found there a telegram prepared by Fairchild and Cotterman! I asked if any Filipino had signed it and he said “perhaps Aguinaldo.”) “But,” added President Harding, “Wood will stay there only a year, for the University of Pennsylvania has elected him Chancellor, and will hold it open for a year.” Quezon thereafter started back to Manila and meanwhile the Legislature had passed a resolution offering co-operation to Wood. Quezon was angry about this. He told Osmeña they ought to fight, but Osmeña was for compromise. During the first year, the Legislature passed every bill requested by Wood. At the end of the year, Harding wired Wood that he was unwilling to impose on his sacrifice any longer, but Wood replied that his work here was unfinished. “No gentleman,” remarked Quezon, “would reply in that way to the President’s suggestion.” The Chancellorship of the University of Pennsylvania was then given to another, and Wood remained as Governor General for some six more years until his death. Both men present at this lunch said that Wood had employed every effort to investigate them. Aldanese added that he was not aware that for two months, four army secret service men had been raking everywhere for his “graft” because he wore a diamond ring and was building a house. They examined all the banks in Manila for proof of his supposed wrong-doing. Then Wood congratulated him (Aldanese) “because there was nothing against him.” Quezon said they had made a search for his “five millions” which were, they concluded “probably in Spain”!! George Fairchild, who was a traitor to Quezon (and to me) in every other respect, said at that time in a conference with Wood, that Quezon never had been a grafter. Fairchild ought to know, because when my administration had helped him to start his sugar central at San Jose, Mindoro, George had offered him 600,000 pesos of the stock which Quezon refused. Fairchild then gave some of this stock to his lawyers: Jim Ross, who kept his (and lost) and his partner Ham Lawrence, who sold his (and gained).

Quezon then told of the special election for senator of Ramon Fernandez over Sumulong. He said that one day at lunch at Malacañan he told Wood that the contest was not between those two candidates, but it was Wood vs. Quezon and that he (Quezon) would beat him in every precinct. Wood (who had a sense of humour, as Quezon remarked) smiled and replied that he was afraid that was so. And so it was! Quezon and Aldanese agreed that Wood’s mind had begun to fail when he was here as Governor General.

The President had invited Collector of Customs Aldanese, to lunch in order to discuss measures for increasing the safety at sea on Philippine ships. He said that on a recent trip to Cebu with Osmeña, he had put “Baby” Quezon (his eldest daughter) with a party in one of the ship’s boats, which leaked, and it required two men to keep bailing it out; –then, one after the another two oars broke! Aldanese was told that a committee of naval officers would visit him at Quezon’s request to discuss plans for greater safety. Aldanese said regulations were not observed in ships because the owners pushed the captain to carry more passengers than the law allows to ports where there are no customs officers; he added that the law should be amended to provide for power of suspension of the right to navigate a vessel, so the owners would have to back up the ships’ officers in enforcing regulations. Quezon agreed. They also said that far too many officers are employed on these ships. The President remarked that he would furnish Aldanese with twelve secret service men to travel about and investigate the shipping situation.


August 3-9, 1936

On August 3rd the Bulletin carried an article stating that the High Commissioner’s office had turned “thumbs down” on the proposed new bond issue for public works pending in the Assembly. The Herald that afternoon published a very aggressive and powerful statement by Quezon that the High Commissioner’s office had absolutely no legal authority to interfere in the matter of the bond issue, and denouncing the Bulletin etc. I telephoned him that night to congratulate him on his statement. He was pleased, but said he was in bed with a temperature of 102° (probably the result of yesterday’s lechon at the picnic he gave in Laguna Province for the Assembly!); he added: “I was somewhat provoked by the Bulletin’s article.” Subsequently, he told me how the idea had been given to the Assembly thru Cuenco–that the policy of the Bulletin was to be always “throwing bricks” at the Administration; that it was also that paper’s fixed principle to try to make out that the High Commissioners governed the Philippines, (contrary to the provisions of the Tydings-McDuffie Act). His vigorous counter-attack threw the Bulletin office into confusion, and Taylor sent Ora Smith to Malacañan to apologize, but he couldn’t see the President because of his illness. Quezon told me “every pain I had in my stomach I laid on the Bulletin.” Weldon Jones came to see him the next day and said “This may cost me my job,” so Quezon sent a letter by Clipper to Murphy stating that Jones was not responsible for the “thumbs down” article; that he was very satisfactory here, and would be the best man for High Commissioner if Murphy did not come back.

On the same day (August 3rd) the Herald printed an article by MacArthur on the defense of the Philippines. It was an extremely able and brilliant analysis of the military problems of this country, and made very convincing reading. Quezon was so much pleased that he proposes to give a banquet in favour of General MacArthur.

Quezon was in Baguio August 5-8, 1936. Jim Ross had dinner with him recently, and the President said that Mrs. Quezon was going away for a year. Jim told him to be careful and to remember “the fierce light which beats upon the throne”!