June 29, 1972
I went to Chino Roces’ house to wish him a Happy Birthday. Arrived at 7:15 PM, left at 9:00 PM with Alex Melchor.
First much bantering and fencing specially when Sen. Ilarde, Max Soliven and the other critics arrived. Chino said that I had the massive support of the media, referring to ABS-CBN, Chronicle, Herald Bulletin etc. And I said the Manila Times was the only newspaper in the Philippines that mattered. He then laughingly declared he was going to sell the Manila Times and I answered in mock – seriousness that I would organize a group to buy it.
Delegate Napoleon Rama arrived to loudly announce “The President is not coming to see you!” then recoiled in shocked silence when he saw me laughing at him.
But later I pulled Chino off to a corner to talk to him seriously. I asked him to help me unite the country at least for the last year and a half of my administration.
He asked me to announce that even if I should be nominated I would not run.
He asked me what I was willing to do to convince people that I was not interested in reelection & answered, anything provided I was not humiliated.
He claims that he is convinced that I am not going to run but that we had to convince the people. Specially since the people wanted a change of leadership. And that the next President would not be a Nacionalista. I kept my counsel to myself.
And I thought I could trace suspicion in his voice when he asked e what I would do if the peace and order situation deteriorates. Immediately I told him I would follow the advice of the Supreme Court. Perhaps suspend the visit of habeas corpus and arrest as your people but that at the end of 1973 even if there were a revolution I would step down.
He commented, “But you have to straighten things up before you step down.” And I answered “That would be the purpose but I would still step down.”
We ended up with the agreement that we would continue the dialogue.
I left before dinner.