Office of the President
of the Philippines
January 31, 1970
I write this tonight having been a little occupied last night during the demonstration or riot. I am glad I was able to hold back on the repeated requests to fire at the rioters, the first request when they took over a fire truck burned it and rammed it against Gate 4 broke the lock and rushed into the compound near the new Administration Bldg, the second when they threatened to do the same on Gate 3.
Have delivered a TV speech, called all the mayors of Metropolitan Manila and Gen. Rodriguez to work out a coordinated plan. Mayor Villegas kept explaining why the MPD police did not come to help us in Malacañang (nor the fire trucks of the MFD either).
Conferred with the military (Sec. of Nat Def, Chief of Staff, Chiefs of the major services and their staffs.)
Then with the political leaders.
Most felt there should be no repression. So I have had to delay the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. We will await developments. I understand the demonstrators will hit the PNB and Metropolitan Branches next. The PCC demonstration of Prudente was called off. But I gather there will be a big demonstration next Tuesday and/or Mar. 3rd.
When they do so again, they may be armed with firearms. In the meantime I can only gnash my teeth and wait.
These are difficult days for everybody. But I pity the citizenry caught in the crossfire last night. For the rioters were sniping at the MPD, Metrocom & soldiers with .22’s.
I suppose that the people now sympathize with me, specially if these vandals continue their destructive anarchy.
But Chino Roces still seemed hostile in the meeting with the publishers when I requested support for my position in the matter of the rioters. And Teddy Locsin tonight could not see in it anything but that reform must come by violent means. I had forgotten that he had always written sympathetically of Mao Tse Tung.
We should ride this out with patience and perseverance.
Teddy apparently was warning me that if there was repression by the arrest of the leaders of the communist movement, there would be retaliation and Central Luzon would be transferred to Manila with the slums becoming the jungle.
If I let these fears deter me from fighting communism then we are lost. But I must continue to restrain myself lest we lose the support of the people by a stance of tyranny.