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March 21, 1970 Saturday


11:25 PM

March 21, 1970

Met with the publishers of Manila dailies who also run the TV and Radio stations for breakfast from 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM. This included Chino Roces of Manila Times. He seemed conciliatory although he pointedly asked if I was not pressurizing the press because the movie advertisers led by his cousin Marcos Roces of Ideal Theater have notified him that they are cutting out advertising from the Times beginning tomorrow. Markitos had told me that they were doing so because the Manila Times was encouraging demonstrations which have driven away customers.

Even Chino admitted that a revolution would fail but he claimed that I was underestimating the Communists and he maintained they were 20,000 strong in the Manila area alone and that they would try a revolt in 1970 and 1971 to early 1972 and if they failed then, they would fail completely.

They agreed that any overt act of rebellion or sabotage would justify my suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Chino, claiming to know their plans, said that they plan to blast and burn the gasoline stations, 30 men to each station and destroy the public utilities including the Meralco, Nawasa and telephone. Even Heny Lopez and Andy Soriano asked why the leaders could not be arrested before they tried this and Chino hastened to add that the evidence would not support a case in court.

Chino was apparently trying to frighten the others who asked me about my assessment. I assured them no revolt would not succeed but that the military felt that if there was going to be a military confrontation anyway, it should be triggered as soon as possible so that there may be less casualties.

Andy Soriano said that one of his own men had suggested that San Miguel Brewery cut down on its advertising in Manila Times because of its leftist tendencies. This was to support my position that I had nothing whatsoever to do in suggesting the cut of advertisement although I did say that if this were so it would be a legitimate act against a paper that was becoming uncontrollably leftist. I then recounted how there had been a fight in the printing section of the Manila Times when Kabataang Makabayan changed the stories without the knowledge of the desk.

I took the opportunity to tell them that the Manila Times was netting P400,000 a month and that it was true that we were checking on its income but that the routinary investigations of the business transactions of its shareholders was exactly that – routinary and of no concern of mine.

They agreed to print an article under my by-line – A Primer on Communism. asked them to meet without me to agree on how they can help our democracy which they pledge to protect, then to come to see me with the plan.