Much 7, 1970
As I study the situation of the nation I am more and more convinced that my solution to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and the detention of all communist activists as well as all those who have in any way helped in the cause of communism is the right and the only solution.
So I have asked Sec. Ponce Enrile to prepare the applications for search warrants. He and Gen. Yan were in a conference with me at 4:00 PM with the major service commanders and their intelligence officers.
I am now also convinced that the communists do not have popular support but are buying the participation of many of those who join the demonstration like the 8.000 who were in the last Protest March; but that the newspapers and the media specially the Manila Times and the Manila Chronicle are merely building it up with propaganda and beyond this it is nothing.
Spoke before the UP Vanguard Fraternity on the powers of the President in an emergency and the fact that no group can mount a rebellion but that the subversives can engage in assassination, harassments and sabotage – even massive sabotage but that if this happened, I implied I might suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
Father Pacifico Ortiz, the Ateneo President, saw me at 4:00 AM and kept repeating he is praying for my success as President. I have my misgivings. He is a do-gooder, naive and woolly minded.
He kept wanting to know what my reading was of the student demonstrations. I repeated to him my belief that these demonstrations strengthened the hand of a leader in government like me interested in reforms. But he did not seem to understand that communism as practiced differs from ideological communism; that communism has often discarded doctrine to attain its sole objective and that is power, so that communism may take the side of almost any popular movement to attain its ends; it could be the Moslem movement or the nationalist movement, or the jeepney drivers against mulcting police, or the teachers for higher salaries. He kept talking of social justice and the need to talk of it as he does in his radio commentaries. I informed him I am willing to talk of socialism, even communism but that it was the role of intellectuals too to be honest and present the various sides of every question.
He kept wanting to know of the non-communist conspiracy. Of course I assured him of its existence but that no alien government was involved. And that we would reveal its details in good time.
Communism feeds on such well-meaning but naive men who know nothing of realpolitik.
As the member of Father Ortizes increase in our society, I must accelerate the various programs of reform and social justice (specially of economic development), attend to the media and the intellectuals to keep them on the side of liberal democracy, strengthen the military (I have ordered 2,500 M-16 rifles, 1,000 Beretta Brel. assault rifles and the U.S. govt. under MAP will give us 1,200 M-16’s by April for a total of 4,700 new automatic rifles); but more than this I must keep in mind the lesson learned from the history of communism that it is the timely and judicious use of authority and power when the communists are not yet organized enough to mount a guerrilla type massive attack which alone can save our republic from these communists and anarchists.
Now that I have diagnosed the ailment if the demonstrations become violent this month, I will suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
We are actually organizing now the members of a counter-subversion center. Initially it is an office under the President’s Office, composed of Johnny Ponce Enrile, Melchor and Kits Tatad, but it will include all offices that has anything to do with counter-subversion.