January 12. 1971
We have been delayed by the blackout at about 9:00 PM which blanketed not only Metropolitan Manila but all provinces up to Tarlac in the north and up to Laguna in the south.
I was then at dinner with Dr. Zahvkar who is here on the IMF consultations as we ask for more liberal credit and concessional loans. He is very sympathetic but cautious because of the effect of too much credit on the rate of exchange.
And Atty. Lupino Lazaro was having dinner at the State Dining Room waiting for me. I convinced him that since I had earlier directed the oil refineries to lower the Villegas rate of standard gasoline from the increase of two centavos to one centavo and organized the Presidential Oil Commission to look into the profits of the oil refineries and the bus and jeepney operators as well as the drivers, he should not allow the drivers to participate in the rally and demonstrators which is being led by the Kabataang Makabayan and the NPA. But he would or could not call off the strike. He feels that the people are on their side. But after the lowering of the gasoline rates, he will lose the people’s support gradually,
But Nering Andolong reports that the blackout or power failure was deliberately done to test strength and cause confusion. We are still investigating. The Meralco explanation that a truck struck an electric post was not plausible because even the substation in Pampanga exploded.
Nering Andolong also reports that Renato Constantino, I.P. Soliongco and Angel Baking organized the more than seventy student leaders that saw Mr. Eugenio Lopez, the “evil genius” of the Lopez group – apparently for financing for the rally tomorrow.
Freddie Elizalde showed me a copy of an editorial which Chino Roces wanted to be pooled by all the newspapers castigating me and asking for my resignation and that of the cabinet. For good measure the editorial included the Vice President. It was opposed by Freddie and Ugarte. And Teddy Locsin opposed the demand for resignation.
What a ridiculous spectacle Chino Roces is making of himself. He is supposed to have said that I engineered the drivers’ strike and am leading to a declaration of martial law as there will be violence tomorrow and in the days to come. And he predicted that at least ten men would be killed tomorrow. He (Chino Roces) and the rest of them (IP Soliongco, Renato Constantino and Angel Baking) probably know or feel that they will be arrested in the event I proclaim martial law.
My suspicion is that Ambassador Byroade may have leaked my statement that in the event of massive sabotage or terrorism I would use my extraordinary powers. His wife whom he did not bring with him to the U.S. told me she is going to Subic Naval Base instead of Baguio her favorite vacation place allegedly because it is too cold.
The timetable is being pushed too fast by the leftists. It may be earlier than we think.
Gen. Yan, Sec. Enrile and the others recommend the relief of Gen. Paredes of the Ind PC Zone and to assign Col. Ver there. But he is loyal and a good combat officer. He can be depended upon to use his initiative.
So I am retaining him. But I will elevate Col. Ver to Senior Aide de Camp.
I am creating the Intelligence Command and putting Gen. Fidel Ramos in command. His deputy, Col. Sibayan, takes over the III Inf. Brigade.