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February 18, 1970, Wednesday

Office of the President

of the Philippines


February 18, 1970


3:00 AM

The rioters have just dispersed at the corner of Recto and Legarda (3,000 of them) with six grenades of tear gas thrown at 1:00 AM. The gas is still in the air as there is no wind. The 150 men under Lacsina who had been at Gate 4 since about 7:00 PM waited for the rioters that forced their way into the U.S. Embassy compound, burned the guardhouse, destroyed the glass windows of the buildings and threw bottles full of gasoline in an attempt to burn it down. They also wrecked all the shops and restaurants in Plaza Fergusson, at A. Mabini, U.N. Avenue and the Luneta. Part of Hilton Hotel destroyed.

Ambassador Byroade called me to seek help as the U.S. Embassy had only a few guards. I directed Usec. Manuel Collantes to order Mayor Villegas to order the anti-riot squad to break up the rioters.

The massing of 3,000 near Malacañang was apparently a prelude to another attack on the palace.

This was a show of the Lacsina, Bert Olalia and Kabataang Makabayan groups.

But they are moving forward to the need for the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or martial law. Just a little bit more and we will have to.

Met with the provincial governors and city mayors at [Camp] Aguinaldo for a briefing on the plan of the communists to take over the government and the need to organize strike forces of local municipal policemen which I authorized in March 1968. They want guns and ammo, funds and the lifting of public bidding in the purchase of police equipment – which I gave.