Monday, November 6, 1972

Juan (Tio Juaning) Borra was in one of his rare moods. He was delivering a stirring speech at the office of Convention Sec. Pepe Abueva, with an audience of three. Apparently, Marcos has told his “boys” that he did not want them to take their oaths of office as members of the interim National Assembly immediately after the ratification of the Constitution. The “boys” are revolting against this because this is the kind of “consuelo” they had expected from their master in Malacañang,” he smiled,

Does this mean the tutas will bark but will no longer wag their tails, Tio Juaning?” I asked.

The 166-man body met this afternoon but the session lasted only for ten minutes. We were given until Wednesday, two days from now, to file our amendments to the new draft prepared by the Steering Council.

This is outrageous. To begin with, we were forced to submit amendments last Friday. Now we were informed that this is already passe’; they were amendments to a draft Constitution that, in the meantime, had been revised by the Steering Council.

I had a little chat with Estoy Mendoza, Fanny Cortez-Garcia and Monet Tirol at the coffee shop. Monet told us that he had advised Tony Tupaz to try to accept some amendments because there was much grumbling from many delegates. He said they are completely surprised by the fact that apparently the Steering Council, in the graphic word of Fanny, is “steamrollering” the Constitution.

Monet, too, was quite unhappy over the situation. As a matter of fact, almost every delegate is unhappy over the fact that the Steering Council has arrogated unto itself the exclusive task of writing the new Constitution for us. Many delegates, including Fanny, are now so frustrated that they do not feel like introducing any more amendments. Estoy, for one, said he would not do anything anymore.

He told us that poor delegate Felixberto Serrano, former secretary of foreign affairs, the brilliant old man who had been so conspicuously silent in the past 18 months, had spent four nights almost without sleep, working on his amendments. He has drafted voluminous amendments. He has finally tried to do his duty after having acquiesced all along to the manipulations of the majority—due to what irresistible pressures, I wonder?—only to find out that he was amending the wrong Constitution.

Estoy is just fed up. So is Fanny.

I told them I had filed amendments last Friday. Today again, I was rushing new amendments; I was going to put in their names as cosponsors.

They were happy about this. “Go ahead,” they said, “but as for us, we don’t want to do anything anymore.”

The fire of enthusiasm is gone from many delegates. What a pity that we have an assembly of talents but only a mediocre Constitution—at best—will, in the end, be framed. Mediocre? Hopefully—and not worse—a reactionary constitution for a dictator.

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?

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.