Macapagal vignette


Raul S. Gonzalez, columnist and who served in the administration of Diosdado Macapagal, has this interesting recollection:

It was two or so weeks past the November 1965 elections and though election tallies were still trickling in, clearly and decisively Ferdinand Marcos had beaten DM. Pressed by news desks for a statement of concession from DM “to help ease the tension.” I plodded my weary way to the President’s private quarters, draft in hand. I was then acing as his press secretary.

I found the President in his lounging robe, sprawled on a chair, whisky glass in hand, a bottle of White Horse I think it was on a side table, glassy eyed. I told him my mission, handed him my draft.

“Good you came, I was really going to send for you,” his speech was a bit slurred, there was sadness in his voice. He returned my draft to me. “I will not concede; no, not because I think I won or I was cheated; no, I will not concede because I believe Gerry (Gerardo Roxas, his runningmate, father of Mar) won and is being cheated out of his victory. I cannot allow the doctored results in one place, in Crisologo’s district (Floro Crisologo, IIocos Sur) to overturn the national will. Gerry could not have been zeroed there.”

His eyes were blazing. “This is what I want you to do. Prepare the climate, pave the way for the dispatch of the army to Ilocos Sur. I will have them open the ballot boxes and screen the returns.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him he no longer had command of the army, even his own Presidential Guard Battalion voted for Marcos and I had learned from Marcos’s pr boys that at the mere suspicion Macapagal was up to no good, Tabak Division would come marching in. I had visions of Macapagal and me in manacles being dragged and paraded along Mendiola Street. “Mr. President,” I said, “aren’t we risking civil war?” He looked me in the eye and asked, “Why? Are you afraid to die for democracy?” Jesus, I thought to myself, trying to keep from laughing because it dawned on me that while the conversation had become funny, he remained serious, very, very serious.

“But, Mr. President, didn’t you once say no victory of any one politician is worth the spilling of a single drop of Filipino blood?” That took him aback. “Did I say that? Well, all right, just go call Gerry and tell him about my plan.”

I rang Roxas up then and there and when I told him what DM had in mind, he exclaimed, “Is he out of his mind?” I whispered, “Shhh, but he may have had one too many.”

I then told DM that Gerry said we should sleep on it.

The morning after I talked to Mr. Macapagal in his study. His eyes were clear, his voice strong, his chin upraised. He never mentioned the night before, and yes –he never ever conceded to Marcos.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

1 thought on “Macapagal vignette

  1. I did not realize that Pres. Quezon has a grandson by his namesake until I read his article. I thought most of his children got killed because of the ambush by the Huk after the war. Could you tell more about his surviving children? I hope some of his grandchildren enter politic and become a member of Congress or even a governor.

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