Saturday, November 11, 1972

I was in the office at about quarter past eight, because there was so much to be done. Afterwards, at eleven, I left for the session hall. I dropped by the office of Nonong Ricafrente (assistant secretary of the Convention). Pretty soon, Lilia Delima and Pete Valdez arrived.

Pete related to us how (businessman) Esco Escobar and Inggo Guevarra had engaged in banter. Esco was kidding Inggo that hitherto, the delegates were writing a Constitution but now, he understands, they are so busy reading that they do not write anymore; they only read.

Inggo’s response was swift, “You complement us. We do not even read now. We only sign.”

Inggo Guevarra is a good friend of Marcos. Apparently, jokes like this coming from people who are friends of the President would indicate, in a way, the regrets of many people in the Convention over what the President has done with the Constitution. I think even the people close to Marcos quite disagree with his brazen takeover of the Convention.

Nonong Ricafrente told us that he has had it from good authority that the Constitution would finally be finished by about the 29th of November so that November 30 would no longer be National Heroes Day. It would be declared Constitution Day.

Nonong has heard what I have also heard—that President Marcos had, at first, wanted the interim National Assembly to be composed only of the delegates to the Convention, with the senators and the congressmen being eliminated. The reason is that the President wanted a complete rejuvenation of the government. He had thought that, to a large extent, many of the members of the Convention were elected, more or less, on a nonpartisan basis—compared, anyway, to the members of the Congress. Also, he had felt sure that even with the members of the Convention alone he could control the interim Assembly; he would not need the support of the congressmen and senators.

Later on, the President relented, Nonong related. After all, he has many friends in Congress. When they went to him, he was persuaded to allow them to return as members of the interim Assembly.

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.

Thursday, October 5, 1972

Some five delegates are already in the army stockades. In the haphazard enumeration by the government-controlled paper, The Daily Express, the last two delegates named were Ramon (sic) Espiritu and Jose Mari Velez of Rizal.

As I entered the session hall, Joe Feria met me. “I was afraid you were already taken in.” And Charlie Valdez added, “You better go up because there is so much speculation inside the session hall about you.”

True enough, as I entered, there was some excitement on the part of the delegates who were thinking that I must have already been arrested. Jun Catan was saying that if it were true that I was arrested, then they would have taken the wrong man because he knows that I am a fair-minded man. Moreover, I am not really a man of such means as to be able to finance subversives. Twice he told me that he had said this to Roberto (Bert) Oca.

Delegates Pedro (Pete) Valdez and Manuel (Maneng) Concordia were quite concerned. Sergio (Serging) Tocao had allayed their fears by telling them that last night we were together until almost 10:00 o’clock so it could not be possible that I have been taken in because usually arrests are staged at night.

Some fuzz ensued upon my entrance. Many delegates rose to meet me. Abe Sarmiento, Con-Con vice-president, who was then presiding, had to bang the gavel: “Please! May I request all delegates to please take their seats and listen to the Speaker.”

I felt guilty that my entrance caused some disorder in the hall because many delegates started milling around me. They seemed genuinely happy to see me.

I had to keep on telling the delegates in a light vein, “By the way, my name is not Ramon.”

Later, in the afternoon, I met Celso Gangan. He said there is a difference between the high level criticisms and statements such as I was making and the low level ones that have been made by some people. “I am sure they would not arrest you because you have been taking a high level in your discussions,” he said.

Small comfort.

President Macapagal later told us that in the Planning and Administrative Review Committee a decision has been made to create a group that is smaller than the Plenary Committee but large enough to be democratic and to ensure support by the plenary. Such a body, he said, will be composed of the executive officers of the Convention, namely, the president, the president pro tempore, the vice-presidents, the chairman and members of the Steering Council, the chairman and members of the Sponsorship Council and the floor leaders. This would amount to something like 126 people.

These people would go over or write entirely the draft of the New Constitution, using as bases (1) the drafts already approved on second reading, (2) the consolidated provisions, such as the provisions on the national economy adopted by the chairman and officers of the 12 committees under Ramon (Monet) Tirol, and (3) those provisions which shall have been written out by the Steering Council based on the committee reports, after such reports shall have been harmonized.

There seems to be merit in what Macapagal is proposing. This would probably enable the Convention to finish its task by January 13, 1973.

He has a valid point when he said that all of the delegates, irrespective of their individual views and convictions, are interested in finishing a good Constitution as soon as possible so that the Constitution can be presented before the Convention fizzles out.

In the evening, I went over President Marcos’ book, Today’s Revolution: Democracy. I had read the first two chapters last year but, in the light of present developments, there is a need to read the book again, particularly the more practical chapters in the middle portion and the last chapter entitled “The New Society.”