Saturday, November 4, 1972

I went to the session hall again to submit my amendments to Article XIV on the national economy and the patrimony of the nation. This time, my amendment is no longer one by substitution. Rather, I went through the different paragraphs and made my own individual deletions and additions to the draft of the Steering Council. Likewise, I made my amendment to the article on the National Assembly insofar as the provisions on budget and appropriations are concerned. In both cases, the work was really very, very hastily written. I included some coauthors. In the amendments on the budget, I added the name of Estoy Mendoza. I am sure he would be happy. On the provisions on the national economy, I put in the names of my idealistic friends Gary Teves, Erning Amatong and Dolf Azcuña.

The Steering Council was meeting on the 13th floor. Tony de Guzman was presiding. There were two bottles of whiskey going around.

The meeting was somewhat raucous. The voice of the chairman boomed over the microphone as the privileged delegates discussed the new draft Constitution item by item. According to the Herald lady reporter who has been attending the Convention sessions, it was terrible the way the delegates were earlier treating so lightly the provisions of the fundamental law-in-the-making.

I felt sick watching the discussions. It was as if my colleagues now in power were drafting some rules and regulations for a village fiesta, not writing a Constitution for a nation. These now are our powerful people, these members of the Steering Committee, equivalent to the Seven Wise Men in the 1935 Convention. But I saw the faces of zealots rather than of wise or reasonable men.

“There are many respected personalities in the Convention, how come only a few of them are in the Steering Council?” the reporter asked.

I gave the lady a blank look.

In the evening, I went to the Carmel Church in Broadway. The papers have announced today the death of the mother of Pon and Mel Mathay. Pon saw me as I was coming in. I saw Mel coming out with, of all people, Estelito and Rosie Mendoza.

“We don’t see each other often anymore,” Rosie said.

“Let us get together,” Titong greeted me. “Preferably at your home where the walls have no ears.”

It was really a curious situation—ours—because Titong has really been one of my very best friends in the last 24 years. But now he is solicitor-general—and it is his duty to prosecute those under military custody. I’m thankful to God that I have been free. But if I should be arrested, wouldn’t it be ironic if it is my best friend who will have to prosecute me?

Friday, November 3, 1972

Fanny Cortez-Garcia was desperate. She was with Ben Campomanes in her office and they said that the economic provisions in the new Constitution drafted by the Steering Council are terrible. There is no definite pattern, and no understanding of the implications of the provisions that have been incorporated. Many important provisions have been left out. Meanwhile, the deadline for submission of amendments is today, Friday.

Fanny was a former director of the influential Research Department of the Central Bank.

Ben Campomanes suggested that we meet at Fanny’s place. He informed us, however, that Gary Teves was in the province. I told him that Gary Teves knows what we have been doing in the committees. “That’s good,” he said, “you can even speak Gary’s mind.”

Which is true. Gary and I have been close. We implicitly understand each other.

I ate at the Quezon City Hall in order to save time. I immediately drafted a substitute amendment for the whole of Article XIV on the national economy by incorporating all those that we have approved during our meetings of the different committee chairmen, vice chairmen and sponsors.

I called up Fanny at 12:45 p.m. She was also going to rush to the session hall to meet with the sponsors. I suggested that she gets some Signatures from the members of the Sponsorship Council.

What I did upon finishing the draft which consisted of several pages, was to put in the names of the people who have been meeting with me during these last few days. Among them were Gary Teves, Erning Amatong, Adolf Azcuña and Julianing Locsin. I also included the names of Fanny Garcia, Monet Tirol and Ben Campomanes, among others. I told Mauro (Lolo) Baradi and Ikeng Corpus about this and they offered to sign as coauthors of my amendment. Pete Valdez said he was signing for camaraderie’s sake. He did not know what it was all about, but this was for him a simple case of trust in me.

It was unbelievable, though, the way the whole thing is being railroaded by the Steering Council. Why should we be given only this day to draft the amendments? Knowing it has the power and the full backing of Malacañang, the Steering Council has now really been urgently imposing upon us its own terms—practically dictating to us. What kind of delegates do we have in this Convention? How can anyone really draft amendments in one or two days’ time? I, myself, heard about this only from Fanny at 11 o’clock a.m.

I told Fanny that my understanding was that today, the Steering Council would present to the 166-man body its draft and thereafter we would have ten days from today within which to introduce our amendments. In other words, my understanding was instead of today being the last day for amendments, it is or should be the first day of a ten-day period of amendments. This would be the more reasonable thing to do.

But are we dealing with reasonable men?

This is it—today is the last day. The Steering Council has spoken. We must obey! I had two hours to write my amendments.

Tuesday, October 31, 1972

Joe Feria was flushed. “There is again another version by the Steering Council, different from what we had read last Monday,” he complained.

Brod Komong Sumulong later came by and told us that the Steering Council did not meet today and has not yet finished its revision of the draft Constitution of yesterday.

Dr. Jose Leido asked me if I was going to introduce amendments.

“What for?” I asked facetiously. The old man chuckled understandingly.

Actually, I had meant to introduce amendments. I had even told Adolf Azcuña that I would want to put on record our thoughts on the Constitution. But now….

Well, what’s the use? Were Johnny Luna and Mat Caparas—two brilliant lawyers whose friendship I cherish—right in not taking the Con-Con seriously? They have given up for a long time already. I have not really seen them. But then should we not be actively involved in the actions and passions of our time, as Justice Holmes had advised, lest in the end we be judged not to have lived?

Thursday, October 26, 1972

The members of the various economic committees met at the Sulo. Present were Oka Leviste, Gary Teves, Estoy Mendoza, Artemio Lobrin, Celso Gangan, Dolf Azcuña. Leo Castillo from Davao also came to get a free meal. Domingo (Inggo) Guevarra’s representative was also there.

Gary didn’t want to come because after yesterday’s vote, he thought there was no point in having to discuss these provisions. I persuaded him to come, though.

Some questions were asked by our economic thinkers. Why should we still meet?

I told them that we might as well finish our work and submit this to the Steering Council. Oka Leviste, with Tony Velasco, has been dishing out to us, since yesterday, his consuelo de bobo that although it might be the Steering Council sponsoring it now, the ideas would still be ours. In fact Tony Velasco has tested the limits of credibility by suggesting that in his extra-sensory perception (ESP), the different groups are meeting about the same things and are all converging towards the same results.

Hogwash! Strange things are happening indeed to what I had thought were sane people in the Convention.

Chito Castillo twice peeped in because, apparently, an ad hoc subcommittee of the Steering Council was going to meet on the economic provisions—that is, Chito, Oka and three other members of the Steering Council. Oka assured us that our own group would constitute the hard core of the subcommittee. Chito agreed. Et tu, Chito! From their point of view, we are to become the nucleus of the subcommittee on economic affairs of the Steering Council.

We actually made progress, except that we were not able to discuss the provisions on agriculture and land reform.

During the meeting, Celso begged to leave at 12:00 o’clock noon to go to Enrile, he said, to surrender someone. He told me privately that he was with Sonny Alvarez last night and that they were looking for me. He said Sonny was finally able to vote.

I was very glad to hear this.

Thursday, September 7, 1972

This morning, I had a full hour’s chat with President Macapagal. Majority Floor Leader Edmundo (Munding) Cea and Vice Pres. Abraham (Abe) Sarmiento were with us part of the time. I was telling Macapagal that he had delivered a mesmerizing speech yesterday in favor of the ban-dynasty resolution. In fact I heard it said, by some delegates, that that was his finest hour.

I also suggested to Macapagal that there are perhaps two options for us. The first is to just simply freeze the ball and let the Convention work as slowly as possible so that the plebiscite on the new Constitution may only be done after the expiration of Marcos’ term in 1973. This would really, in effect, ban the incumbent. In fact, Convention secretary, Jose (Pepe) Abueva, has also suggested the same thing.

Another possibility, I said, was to declare a recess until January 1974.

We then talked about the transition government resolution filed by Oscar (Oka) Leviste and Antonio (Tony) Velasco. To my great surprise, Macapagal said what was almost unbelievable to me up to then—that this resolution might pass.

For some delegates, the point is, the ban-dynasty provision has already failed anyway; Marcos would surely win. Therefore, we might just as well postpone the election and hold over the positions of elective officials. The bonus is that we, the delegates, would be there in the first parliament. This is the substance and spirit of the Tony-Oka transition government resolution.

Incredible, I said. How can such a self-serving resolution pass? I remember now that Antonio (Tony) Tupaz had told me that definitely this would pass. I had dismissed the idea quickly then. But last night, Pepe Abueva was telling me that this just might pass really, for all we know. Macapagal sadly confirmed this: “Yes, that might even pass.”

This now seems to be a serious matter—where before, only Oka Leviste and Tony Velasco believed in it. But, of course, the come-on is irresistible. Who wouldn’t want to be in the first parliament—without even having to fight it out in an election contest?

 Macapagal did not know that Gary Teves and Adolfo (Adolf) Azcuña all along have been voting independently. Macapagal was quite surprised by what I said about Gary, because Gary’s uncle, Senator Teves, and his father, Congressman Teves, were allies of Marcos. I said, “Oh, yes, all along he has been with us.”

I like the kid. He is sincere and competent; I feel that young people like him should be encouraged and supported. He has voted independently of the way Congressman Teves and Senator Teves have been voting in Congress.

The other politician’s son who has surprisingly been consistently voting with us is Adolf Azcuña. The voting record of Adolf has really been progressive and independent. In fact, although he is an assistant attorney at the Bengzon law office, his record is poles apart from that of Peps Bengzon. In Adolf’s own words, some six months ago, his vote was 85 percent of the time different from that of Peps. Now, again, on the ban-Marcos resolution, he voted with us. He did not have second thoughts about his true colors.

Of course his local political rival, Ernesto (Erning) Amatong, is not very certain of Adolf s persuasions. Is he really independent of his father’s influence, this son of Congressman Azcuña? Nevertheless, Erning is a fair man and he has acknowledged to me that he is impressed by Adolf. He agrees with me that Adolf has been showing himself to be a sincere and independent-minded and conscientious young man.

Erning Amatong, as expected, voted with us. He is an old reliable, really. So did Vincenzo Sagun.

At noon, I went to the meeting of the Independent-Progressive bloc at the home of Pepe Calderon to discuss our options.