Monday Sunday, September 23, marks the 35th anniversary of martial law. Touched by an Angel recounts what it was like to be a teen during the martial law years. For me, September 23 comes a few days after my dad’s death anniversary (September 18), and so I tend to be pensive around this time of year, anyway: the two dates inspired this essay.
First, Juan Mercado in Pale ink and memory:
And we of the grey hair, bifocals and arthritic knees — what do we remember? Singing “Bayan Ko” or cracking a joke about the “New Society” invited a beating or detention, oftentimes both. We also relearned what Japanese Kempetai brutality taught earlier: political jokes are serious business.
We hurt so much then, so we laughed. Remember the joke about emaciated and fat dogs lining up for US visas? “Martial Law is obviously good for you,” the scrawny mutt told the obese mongrel. “So why do you want a visa?” he asked. The reply: “I want to bark.”
Jokes against “Big Brother,” George Orwell wrote, are “tiny revolutions.” Wit and humor have always been rapiers against dictators. They were then thrust into Bagong Lipunan camp followers: Fabian Ver, Estelito Mendoza, Juan Ponce Enrile, Eduardo Cojuangco, even a minor functionary in San Juan named Mayor Joseph Estrada.
And then Amando Doronila in Proclamation 1081:
The date of its announcement was falsified. So, when President Ferdinand Marcos appeared on TV at 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 23, Saturday, to announce the proclamation of martial law in his stentorian baritone, the announcement was anti-climactic. The proclamation was dated Sept. 21, Thursday.
Arrest orders of targets, including opposition figures and newspapermen, were served beginning at midnight of Sept. 22, Friday, straddling Sept. 23. In the first round of arrests, I received a phone call at home in Blue Ridge, Quezon City, from a close friend who said, “Martial law has been declared. Secretary [of Defense Juan Ponce] Enrile has been ambushed.”
I told myself, “This it.” I immediately rang the graveyard shift editor at the Chronicle. No one answered. I switched on radio and TV. They were all dead…
From midnight of Friday, the first wave of arrests was carried out. Troops descended on all newspapers, padlocked them and nailed the proclamation dated Sept. 21. Marcos trumped Aquino and shocked the country with superb use of the element of surprise by manipulating the dates of the proclamation.
Doronila also quotes from the Marcos diaries. These were hand-written diaries written with an eye for posterity by Marcos, usually on Palace stationery. I have copies of some of them, given to me one day by a colleague some years ago, and I thought the best commemoration would be to reproduce extracts from those diaries (I normally only recommend books I’ve read, but you may be interested in “Delusions of a Dictator: The Mind of Marcos As Revealed in His Secret Diaries” (William C. Rempel, which I haven’t read but seen in the bookstores).
January 2, 1971, Saturday, 10:00 pm
…And when I watch the supposedly patriotic men, in their selfish and egoistic ways, wreck our republic, I almost lose my objectivity and dispassionate attitude as anger boils within me and eggs me to immediately put into effect the plan to establish martial law. This I must avoid.
For I will not declare martial law unless there is anarchy or the beginnings of it which prevents the functioning of courts and other government offices, even if the constitution authorizes me to do so when there is “imminent danger of invasion, insurrection or rebellion -and there is actually rebellion going on now.
The silent conspiracy against our republic is joined in by well-meaning men who use the inequities of our society and despair that they can ever be rectified except by radicalism and violence. For there are many valid grounds of grievance as the rich and powerful disregard or are insenstive to the dreams or even the frustrations and pains that torture the masses of our people.
So I must be deliberate, prudent, and wise.
Jan. 2, 1971 Sundat (Jan. 3, 1971 3 am)
…Gen. Yan called up to say he was not informed of the retirement of the generals. He seemed to be sulking. I reminded him that we had been talking about retirement of all generals by Jan/ 13, 1971…
Jan. 3, 1971 Sunday
…I had a light lunch of docon and paltat.
Was in Gabu and taking off by 12:35 and in Nichols Airbase at 1:45 pm where Imelda and the children were waiting for me with pospas which I ate in the car. My tummy shows some [illegible] so I take something every two or three hours. It is most probably due to the tension arising out of the plan for the proclamation of martial law…
We must refashion this society.
We must wage our own revolution.
The concept of ownership must be changed so the small people have a chance. All the crooks in government must be booted out. The media must be geared to development and progress, not to destruction and retrogression.
Jan. 4, 1971 Monday 10:00 pm
…Today (this morning 11:00 am up to lunch at 2:00 pm) in a conference with Sec. Juan Ponce Enrile, Sec. Alex Melchor and Gen. Yan, I ordered the setting up of a Special War Center, an Internal Security Agency, a Psy-War Branch all under the DND as well as the creation of a new command, the Metropolitan Command, that will cover the provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan, Bataan, the Pasig Task Force and the PGB under Col. Ver.
I ordered the transfer of Gen. Fidel Ramos from the 3rd Brigade to the 2nd PC Zone vice Gen. Zosimo Paredes whom I am retiring. Col. Palacios the CO of the 1st Brigade goes to the 3rd Brigade vice Gen. Ramos.
The Special War Center personnel may also be placed as a component unit of the command of Col. Ver’s, as Metropolitan Command CO. It integrates all the special forces of the major services, the special forces and rangers of the Army and Constabulary, the air commanders of the Air Force and the Navy’s marines and other teams. They will be retrained under chosen officers for special missions.
As I plan it, in the event of violence in the city, the Metrocom under Gen. Ordonez will seek to hold back the mass of rioters with his 1,400 men. If theyt are unequal to the task or special task forces are necessary, the Metropolitan Command comes in. If still unable to contain the violence, then the entire Internal Security Forces under Maj. Gen. Romeo Espino, Vice-Chief of Staff under whom both Gen. Ordonez and Col. Ver will be subordinated comes into the metropolitan area.
In the meantime outside of the NBI-Metrocom teams that will be fielded, Col. Ver will have special teams to arrest target personnel or take target areas. This will assure performance in the event that NBI and Metrocom are committed prematurely to the routine of maintaining order.
I have ordered the PC and 1st Infantry Division at Fort Magsaysay as well as the 51st Engineer Brigade brought up to full strength.
The P3 million needed for the procurement of 3,000 Armalites for the PC, I have ordered to be released and the guns delivered not later than the end of February.
The engineers should be ready to take over the public utilties like Nawasa, Meralco, PLDT, Butel, PNR, PAL, Air Manila, Fairways, land transport as well as shipping.
But the media which according to Sec. Melchor Ambassador Byroade calls a serious threat to security, calls for a separate operation. We have to take them over immediately.
The Psy-War Branch should use them for the purposes of the military administration.
The framework of government and present officials should be kept and all laws except those I suspend kept in force unless changed by edict by me.
But a new plan of government and society must be worked out…
While private property will be recognized and respected, they should be run for the state. Their profits should go to a fund for investment and development…
All able-bodied men must be put to work. There must be total exploitation of natural resources.
This must be a complete revolution.
Jan. 8, 197110:40 pm
…I am also working on the political philosophy that should be able to rally all the classes of our people in the event of a take-over.
And classifying the records that have to be duplicated and stored in a place other than Malacanang.
Jan. 9, 1971 Saturday, 11:00 pm
Bongbong left by Qantas via Hongkong, New Delhi, Teheran, Athen and London.
I talked to him, and his sisters, Imelda and Kokoy about the possibility of his mother and two sisters joining him if there should be trouble here; that whether I am there beside them or not they (the children) should value education and get a doctorate degree because even if we should lose our fortune and position here in the Philippines, then they could work their own way in the world; that if for any reason we should be separated and I should not be able to guide them after normalcy returns to the world or the Philippines as the case may be, they should return to the Philippines where their roots are; that I would prefer them marrying Filipinos…
Jan. 11, 1971 10:15 pm
…Tonight they have started to stone even private cars. It is expected that it will be worse tomorrow….
We will keep watching for the need of the use of emergency powers….
Jan. 12, 1971 1:55 pm
…Freddie Elizalde showed me a copy of an editorial which Chino Roces wanted to be pooled by all the newspapers castigating me and asking for my resignatio and that of the cabinet. For good measure the editorial included the Vice-President. It was opposed by Freddie and Ugarte. And Teddy Locsin opposed the demand for resignation.
What a ridiculous spectacle Chino Roces is making of himself. He is supposed to have said that I engineered the drivers strike and am leading to a declaration of martial law as there will be violence tomorrow and in the days to come, and he predicted that at least ten men would be killed tomorrow…
…The timetable is being pushed too fast by the leftists. It may be earlier than we think.
Jan. 13, 1971 1:00 am
The congressmen close to me, Cong. Cojuangco, Frisco San Juan, Ali Dimaporo, Jose Aspiras, Navarro, Lucas Canton, Roque Ablan all proposed for the use of my emergency powers. “We cannot understand why you are so patient. Do not wait until we are completely debilitated and the people is against us. It will be too late. One swift blow and we remove the cancer from our society,” they all said.
I could only aswer that it may be sooner than we think…
Jan. 20, 1971 Wednesday 9:30 pm
…The Liberals have taken out a full page advertisement on martial law declaring they would not attend sessions if martial law is declared.
I have had to reiterate my stand that martial law is the last recourse -that I would resort to it only of there is massive sabotage, terrorism, assassination and a violent grab for control of government…
Jan. 23, 1971 Saturday :25 pm
…I met Andy Soriano and Sebastian Ugarte of the Herald this morning. I explained that the fight against the oligarchs was not against bigness but against the use of bigness to oppress our people and intimidate the public officials for more financial gain.
He seemed relieved but still worried about anarchy. I had to assure him when I called him back alone that if the situation deteriorates, I may have to use my extraordinary powers like declaring martial law. Her seemed relieved and said, “you would be surprised at the number of people who would welcome it.”
Jan. 25, 1971 Monday 11:15 pm
This is the turning point. The congressional opening and State of the Nation address ceremonies were peaceful.
And the whole nation heaved a sigh of relief. For many had left for the provinces and for abroad to avoid the imagined dangers of a revolution.
Chino Roces, Manglapus, the radicals who have been predicting the start of a revolution today must be disappointed.
Jan. 27, 1971 Wednesday 11:00 pm
…I met with the egalitarian intellectuals of the UP tonight, Cesar Majul, Ruben Santos, Bonifacio and Almonte.
They are all enthusiastic about the Democratic Revolution. Now we have to reduce the theory and ideal into practical programs to be implemented…
Jan. 28, 1971 Thursday 9:30 pm
Met about 25 of the leading businessmen of the country in a merienda hosted by Andy Soriano at his Forbes Park home this afternoor at 4:00-6:00 pm.
I informed that the the communists or subversives were slowly sapping the vitality of our country; that the communists are presently in no position to start a rebellion or a revolution but in two years or three there would probable be a need for a revolution, the communists would nearly take over -or the military.
But my democratic revolution offers an alternative or option. So I asked that it be supported to abort a communist take-over.
Bert Villanueva said they were all for my objectives but what were the specifics…
Don Manolo Elizalde started the exchange of views after my opening statement to the effect that it was not my intention to go after any particular businessman or corporation…
Jan. 30, 1971 Saturday 10:00 pm
…The City Mayors came to pledge their total and complete support for the Democratic Revolution.
The governors have done likewise.
The local officials are now enthusiastic and prepared to openly fight communism.
Feb. 1, 1971 Monday (I write this as I await some callers across the river)
“there is bound to be an inevitable confrontation between the communists and our democacy in the military front,” I have always said…
…The communists gamble that the Republic will be too weak by then as they will have sapped our vitality…
…I have also said that if we do not now take measures of self-preservation, this will come about.
My democratic revolution will rally the great majority of our people around our republic…
So if there is going to be an inevitable collision, then perhaps we should induce it now while communists are weak and disorganized.
April 17, 1972
…Frank Starr implicates Col. Lino Aragon Angara, nephew of the late Pres. Quezon, in a plot to assassinate me on July 17, 1972.
The sworn statement of Starr which is hereto attached is apparently credible and has the marks of authenticity.
What is disturbing is the supposed statement of Angara “Marcos will be killed xxx And when he is dead the Vice President will become President and then our group takes over control of the Philippines.”
Starr says he told me (Angara) of his contacts often with the Hon. Vice President Fernando Lopez and this report is made in sincere interest to [illegible] maneuver and shape or form to breed distrust between the President and Vice President of the RP. But in fairness to the Truth, and facts statements must be made accordingly.
“I spoke to him (Angara) on at least 7 telephone calls and he said he had gone down to meet the Vice President Lopez in his home province.”
This is not the first time that the Lopezes have conspired against my life. Since 1969 they have so at least three times.
The old plot of Eleuterio Adevoso under Osmena was connected to the Lopezes.
And the Lopez financial and propaganda support for the NPA through Heny Lopez and the ABS-CBN included as one of the objectives my assassination. Thru Commander Melody of the NPA was assigned to this mission. Commander Melody confessed this.
On the Adevoso plot, our asset within the conspiracy, Joe, revealed that the Osmena and Lopez camps were involved.
Then when on January 1970, Lopez and I parted ways, Serging Osmena suggested to Ining Lopez my assassination and this idea was picked up and being implemented.
Chino Roces had in 1979 repeatedly voiced his demand that I be liquidated as this was the only way for them (the activists) to take over.
And Roces and Ining Lopez have joined in partnership against us.
They have also joined hands to blacken my character. Thus they contrived the Dovie Boehms case. The funds sent to her in California have been traced as coming from the Lopez camp.
They escalating demonstrations, mobs and riots, all supported by the Lopezes.
And now the Lopezes have joined up with Roxas and his father-in-law, Amading Araneta.
But apparently they are desperate and may be planning assassination to prevent my declaring Martial Law!
May 8, 1972 Monday 11:25 pm
… After the meeting I directed Sec. Ponce Enrile, the Chief of Staff, Gen. Espino, Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Ileto, PC Chief, Gen. Ramos, PA Chief, Gen. Zagala, Air Force Chief, Gen. Rancudo, 1st PC Zone Commander, Gen. Tomas Diaz, IV PC Zone Commander, Gen. Encarnacion, Asst. Chief of Staff, J-2, Col. Paz, to update the contingency plans and the list of target personalities in the event of the use of emergency powers.
I directed Sec. Ponce Enrile to finalize all documentation for the contingency plans, including the orders and implementation.
May 12, 1972 Friday 12:30 pm
The entire country continues to speculate on my visit to the brothers Lopez. The comments all seem favorable, specially after my statement that I have reestablished my friendship with the Lopezes for national unity in view of the national interest.
The opposition is still in a state of shock while the Nacionalistas are jubilant.
Gerry Roxas and Ninoy Aquino are meeting with Ining Lopez on Sunday but Kokoy has been told not to be concerned as Ining will make no commitments. And that whatever obstacles to the rapprochement will be overcome.
The general impression is that I have just accomplished a political coup! As Gerry Roxas is supposed to have said: “Titiklopin na yata tayo.”
June 4, 1972 Sunday 11:00 pm
I have just answered a letter og Concon President Macapagal wherein he asks whether I or Imelda are running for President in 1972. I wrote him through Kits Tatad that neither Imelda or I intend to run -I because I am disqualified by the constitution from a third term and Imelda because she has no intention to do so.
I asked him to do me the honor of furnishing me the original of his letter which he sent to media, so that I could answer him in more detail. And that he should exercise the leadership that is sadly lacking in the convention.
Apparently Pres. Macapagal has decided to lay the blame on me for the failures of the convention.
Typical traitor and coward!
But from my point of view the Concon has become useless. Anything they will approve now will be rejected by the people in a plebiscite.
Sept. 7, 1972 Thursday 9:10 pm:
… This afternoon I spent in finishing all papers needed for a possible proclamation of martial law, just in case it is necessary to do so.
Sept. 8, 1972:
… Sen. Aquino is, of course, playing a double game. He was in danger from the Maoists, as reported by him to Sec. Juan Ponce Enrile…
So I believe he negotiated in a meeting with Jose Maria Sison and is protected from that side.
But now he is convinced he is also in danger, from the government. So he goes through the motions of giving information to the Secretary of National Defense to get protection from government.
And I believe that he will, however, help the Moaists more than the government.
Sept. 9, 1972, Saturday, 12:35 pm:
…Sec. Ponce Enrile and I finished the material for any possible proclamation of martial law…
Sept. 10, 1972, Sunday, 12:30 pm:
It is now my birthday. I am 55. And I feel more physically and mentally robust than in the past decade and have acquired valuable experience to boot.
Energy and wisdom ‘the philosopher’s heaven.
Sep. 13, Wednesday, at 11:00 pm:
…So I met with Johnny Ponce Enrile, Gen. Tom Diaz, Col. Montoya, Col. Romy Gatan, and Danding Cojuangco this evening at Pangarap and we agreed to set the 21st of this month as the deadline.
In the meantime Sen. Aquino in a privilege speech, today, claims we have an OPLAN Sagitarrius, which allegedly includes placing Greater Manila under PC Control preparatory to proclaiming martial law.
This is nothing but the contingency plan for the coordination of the local police forces and the Armed Forces in case of insurgency.
It is ridiculous to ascribe it to the plan of martial law since it referts to calling out the troops to quell a disorder.
But of course the media will give it all kind of meaning.
But, again, perhaps it is best that the political opposition start a debate that will get the people used to the idea of emergency powers.
Sept. 14, 1972, Thursday, at 11:50 pm:
After golf, at 9:00 amat my room at Pangarap while taking breakfast, I told the SND, C of S, Major Service Commanders (Gen. Ramos, PC, Gen. Zagala, PA, Romando, PAF and Commodore Ruiz, PN) Gen. Ver and Gen. Paranis that I intend to declare martial law to liquidate the communist apparatus, reform our government and society, then have the Concon ratify our acts and the people can confirm it by plebiscite and return to constitutional processes; but that I needed at least one year and two months; that this would be a legitimate exercise of my emergency powers under the constitution as clarified by the Habeas Corpus case by the Supreme Court last January; that we need to cure the ills of our society by radical means (I mentioned corruption, tax evasion, criminality, smuggling, lack of discipline, unequal opportunities) so we must keep our moves clean and submerge self-interest.
I asked for any objection to the plan and there was none except for the observation of Gen. Ramos that the closing of the media should be done by a civilian minister supported by the military, and Gen. Gen. Romando who wanted missions definitely assigned to each branch of the service.
Sep. 17, 1972 Sunday 10:00 pm (At “The Big Antique” or “Ang Maharlika”)
We escaped the loneliness of the palace for this old Antillan house now known as Ang Maharlika, the State Guest House several blocks from the palace. It has been restored beautifully by Imelda and is a symbol of Philippine culture in the last century. Almost all our antique valuables have been transferred here.
The departure of our children has made the palace a ghostly unbearable place.
I took a long nap (4:30-7:30 pm) in the room of Bongbong which has the worst bed [illegible] and the lumpiest mattress.
And after an early simple dinner of sardines and pancit, I was able to browse in the library where to my delight I discovered the books I have been wanting to read for some time including Fitzimmons,The Kennedy Doctrine, Sorensen’s The Kennedy Legacy, The Dirty Wars edited by Donald Johnson (some of the principles and lessons are outmoded), Days of Fire by Samuel Katz (The Secret History of the Irguny Zrai Sanmi and The Making of Israel, Chou-en-lai by Kai-Yu, Room 39 by Donald Macfaddan (The room of the British Intelligence in WWII), the History of the World in the 20th Century by Watt, Spencer and Brown.
I have invited the Liberal Party leaders (at least ten of their hierarchy) to come to the palace on Sept. 19th to be informed of what we have on the negotiations and agreements between the Maoists and the Liberals.
The Liberal head, Sen. G. Roxas, issued a demand for us to point out the Liberal negotiating with the Communists, knowing full well that I refer to Sen. Aquino, his opponent for leadership in the party and wanting to disqualify Aquino by his own action.
But the Liberals should not get out that easily.
For some of the other leaders have been dealing with the Communists -Mitra, Yap, Felipe, Dy, Pendatun, Lucman, etc.
Antonio Zumel, news editor of the Bulletin had an explanation of his Trade Asia activities in today’s papers. He adopts an aggressive stance of hurt innocence!
I received the report on the 7,400 case of dynamite apprehended in the del Pan bridge by the OOSAC under Maj. Cruz, son of Maj. Gen. Pelagio Cruz, the ASAC chief. I ordered the dynamite impounded notwithstanding the claim of [illegible] for it.
The Air Manila plane was apparently bombed at 4:40 am yesterday by a grenade in a valise with incendiary bombs over Romblon, prepared to ditch because of the right engine being out of commission from the grenade blast but was able to limp up to Roxas City where it landed at about 5:00 am in the dark with nothing but its landing lights to guide it. Capt. Samonte, the captain of the plane did a good job and was lucky.
I have checked on the plans of the delegations I am sending to the IMF, the UN and other international conferences.
Sep. 18, 1972, Monday, at 12:50 pm:
…We finalized the plans for the proclamation of martial law at 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm with the SND, the Chief of Staff, major service commanders, J-2, Gen. Paz, 1st PC Zone Commander, Gen. Diaz and Metrocom commander, Co. Montoya, with Gen. Ver in attendance.
They all agreed the earlier we do it the better because the media is waging a propaganda campaign that distorts and twists the facts…
So after the bombing of the Concon, we agreed on the 21st without any postponement.
We finalized the target personalities, the assignments, and the procedures.
Sept. 19, 1972, Tuesday:
Released the report of Sec. Ponce Enrile of Sept. 8, 1972 where he reported that Sen. Aquino had met with Jose Maria Sison of the Communist Party and had talked about a link-up of the Liberal Party and the Communist Party…
.So since I invited Sen. Pres. Puyat, Speaker Villareal… I explained to the media which was covering us that when I invited the leaders of the Liberal Party I had wanted a private conference where we could, as Filipinos and for the welfare of our people, agree that neither party (Nacionalista or Liberal) would “link-up” with the Communist Party but their refusal to attend indicated that the Liberals were in on the deal to “link-up” with the Communists through Sen. Aquino…
Sept.. 20, 1972, 10:40 pm:
…This afternoon General Staff with the SND and the Chiefs of the major services came to see us to submit the Assessment of Public Order wherein they recommend the use of “other forms of countering subversion/insurgency should be considered.” This means they recommend the use of Emergency Powers including Martial Law, formally.
Sept. 21, 1972, Thursday (Sept. 22nd at 1:45 am.)
Delayed by the hurried visit of Joe Aspiras and Nating Barbers who came from the Northern bloc of congressmen and senators who want to know if there is going to be Martial Law in 48 hours as predicted by Ninoy Aquino.
Of course Imelda and I denied it.
But Johnny Ponce Enrile, Gen. Paz, Gen. Nanadiego, Kits Tatad and I with Piciong Tagmani doing the typing finished all the papers (the proclamation and the orders) today at 8:00 pm.
[U.S.] Amb. Byroade came to see me at 11:15 pm and was apparently interested to know whether there would be Martial Law. He seemed to favor it when I explained it is intended to primarily reform our society and eliminate the communist threat. But he suggested that a proclamation before the American elections may be used by MacGovern, the Democratic presidential candidate, as proof of the failure of the foreign policy of the present president.
Sept. 22, 1972, Friday, 9:55 p.m.:
Sec. Juan Ponce Enrile was ambushed near Wack-Wack at about 8:000 pm tonight. It was a good thing he was riding in his security car as a protective measure…
This makes the martial law proclamation a necessity.
Sept. 23, 1972, Saturday, 12:20 pm:
Things moved according to plan although out of the total 200 target personalities in the plan only 52 have been arrested, including the three senators, Aquino, Diokno and Mitra and Chino Roces and Teddy Locsin.
At 7:15 pm I finally appeared on a nationwide TV and Radio broadcast to announce the proclamation of martial law, the general orders and instruction…
I was supposed to broadcast at 12:00 p.m. but technical difficulties prevented it. We had closed all TV stations. We have to clear KBS which broadcast it live. VOP and PBS broadcast it by radio nationwide.
Sep. 24, 1972, Sunday, (1:25 am Sept. 25):
Diokno, Chino Roces, Max Soliven etc. have filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus before the Supreme Court.
I asked Justices Claudo Teehangkee, Antonio Barredo, Felix Macasiar and Felix Antonio to see us. They insisted that the government should submit to the Supreme Court for the Court to review the constitutionality of the proclamation of martial law, Proclamation No. 1081.
So I told them in the presence of Secs. Ponce Enrile and Vicente Abad Santo as well as Sol. Gen. Estelito Mendoza that if necessary I would formally declare the establishment of a revolutionary government so that I can formally disregard the actions of the Supreme Court.
They insisted that we retain a color of constitutionality for everything that we do.
But I feel that they are still image-building and do not understand that a new day has dawned. While they claim to be for a reformed society, they are not too motivated but are too bound by technical legalism.
Sep. 25, 1972, Monday, 12:15 pm:
…The public reaction throughout the Philippines is a welcome to martial law because of the smooth, peaceful reestablishment of peace and order and the hope of a reformed society. In fact most everyone now says, this should have been done earlier…
…It is indeed gratifying that everyone now finds or discovers I am some kind of a hero!
There is nothing as successful as success!
Jan. 13, 1973 Saturday
…I also conferred with the Speaker and House Majority Floor Leader (Villareal and Veloso) informing them of my plan to push through a new constitution that may be different from the draft by the Concon. It would be unicameral with a definite period for an interim government; that we would have to retain powers to prevent a constitutional crisis but by virtue of the will and decision of the people, that we would have to adopt a unicameral legislature, that we would want on the morning of the 17th to make a final decision.
And Delegate Duavit that we would have to prepare a new constitution more acceptable to the people, perhaps writing several drafts or alternative proposals and asking the citizens assemblies to choose one…
Jan. 23, 1973 Tuesday (Written at 12:00 pm Jan. 24th as I stayed up to 2:30 am with Justices Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra, Sec. Ponce Enrile and Abad Santos and Mendoza)
…Prepared our position with Sec. Abad Santos and Ponce Enrile and Sol. Gen. Estelito Mendoza, on the Ramon Gonzales petition of prohibition and injunction against Decree 1102 on the ratification of the new constitution. This has caused us worry as it might push us to a revolutionary government…
Jan. 24, 1973 Wednesday 12:15 pm
Had as usual only 6 hours sleep and seem to be tense because of the possible constitutional crisis that may come out of an adverse Supreme Court decision on the petition against the ratification of the new constitution.
So I worked up to 12:00 am on the presentation of the problems we are facing and the absolute necessity of referring the matter to the citizens assemblies as well as the possible approaches and solutions.
Then worked on the orders implementing the New Constitution.
As I tentatively meet the members of the Supreme Court on Saturday or Monday evening. The Chief Justice called up Sol. Gen. Estelito Mendoza Monday morning Jan. 22nd, to tell him that the court was at the disposal of the President for dinner…
Jan. 27, 1973 Saturday 11:50 pm (on board the 777 to sleep here for an early start at 7:30 am tomorrow with Dr. & Mrs. Sharon for Talaga)
…Chief Justice Concepcion is sick in the hospital and may not be able to attend the dinner on Monday.
It is apparent that the other justices are in favor of dismissing the petition questioning the validity of the ratification of the New Constitution.
But they want to be assured of their continuance in office under the new constitution with new appointments…
But everybody else has accepted the new constitution and as we put it in the dinner conference we held tonight, how do the justices expect us to “unscramble the eggs already scrambled”?
We have to handle them with finesse as the Supreme Court might become the rallying point of the opponents of reform.
Jan. 29, 1973 1:00 am Jan. 30th
the dinner with the Justices without Chief Justice Concepcion who is sick in Sto. Tomas Hospital turned out well.
Casually I turned into the problems the country was facing requiring an unquestioned position of leadership for negotiations. As Justice Fred Ruiz Castro said, “I get the message, Mr. President.”
Feb. 13, 1971
…The dilemma of all the developing countries is still freedom in its traditional concept or survival.
Perhaps too simplistic but true. In our case survival (physically) from the anarchy, violence, and chaos of actual rebellion…
In our case, too, providentially, there was written into our constitution the power to proclaim martial law which would authorize not only an assurance of flexibility in eradicating the rebellion but of instituting reforms that would prevents its recurrence and create a new society…
Mar. 2, 1973 2:00 pm
With the country and people moving forward steadily, investments coming in, confidence reinstated, people hopeful and achieving, there is pride for our Republic and nation.
And many people are beginning to claim they had known all along that martial law was the only solution.
Occasionally, however, some people feel that we are back in the Old Society and suggest I share in the profits and material rewards of the civil order I have been able to reestablish.
Poor, deluded souls! They cannot seem to realize that to steer this country through these critical days, I have to be above the material attractions that have a tendency to claim you and enmesh you in petty and selfish interests.
To keep the objectivity and wisdom of judgment that is necessary for leadership, I must stay away from these mundane considerations.
Apr. 2, 1973
…Dr. de Vega has just written me that the Supreme Court has resolved the pending suit in the New Constitution and as of this moment is distributing its decision in favor of our position – 6-4.
The four dissenting Justices are:
1. Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion
2. Justice Calixto Zaldivar
3. Justice Enrique Fernando
4. Justice Claudio Teehankee
Apr. 15, 1973 Sunday
…In the conference which I held with the “Originals” (with Col., the J-3 and Gen. Tamayo, Chief of Logistics included) at 4:00 pm, Saturday, April 14th, I informed them:
1. That I had written a Political Testament which I directed them to follow, indicating the successor to me in case of my death or disability; that this was necessary in view of the fact that even now there was rivalry among various leaders; that it was necessary to continue our policies even if I should not be capable or around to lead, otherwise our constitutional revolution would ultimately fail; that even Alexander’s empire had broken up because he had merely said, “To the strongest belongs his empire”; and that I assessed the various personalities aspiring for leadership.
2. There was need to review our pledge to our commitment because there is now apparent weakening of the elements of our revolution. A corruption and loss of ideals has set in…
April 16, 1973 Monday 8:15 pm (after dinner and meditation aboard the 777 at Talaga Bay)
….One of my advisors wrote to me of spiritual retreats that I should not be in the company of my subordinates. I must tell him when I see him one cannot call God a subordinate! For that is the company I keep.
May 5, 1973
…We may have to hasten the process of normalizing by:
1. Conducting elections of an Advisory Legislative Council under the supervision of the Comelec by the Citizens Assemblies.
2. The old newspapers must be investigated formally and their closure directed after formal hearing.
3. The same for other media.
The financiers and oligarchs who may finance further violence should now be neutralized.
Formal charges have to be filed against Aquino, Diokno, Roxas, Mitra, Felipe, Manglapus even if the trials may be delayed.
We must now reduce the number of detention prisoners.
Continue the reorganization of the government.
Push away the capitalists trying to get close to me.
July 5th and 6th, 1973 Friday, Saturday, 12:15 pm (at Hermano Mayor)
…Have been planning on the referendum and the development of a constitutional situation where the powers of martial law can be exercised without a proclamation or continuance of martial law…
July 25th & 26th, 1973
This is the first election where I have not delivered a single speech or moved to campaign.
And I may not even vote.
Strange feeling -to be able to win without any effort.
But I am busy on the actions I intend to take after the results of the referendum are released by Comelec.
July 27, 28, 1973 Friday & Saturday, 11:00 pm July 28th
The referendum vote is overwhelmingly Yes. And a great percentage of those qualified registered and voted -about 80% to 95% registered and voted. I similar percentage may have voted yes.
And Imelda was worried that the people may vote against me and my administration.
This is the first time I have won a popular mandate without working for it. No campaigning. No speeches. No expenses. And no headaches.
Sep. 22, 1973 Saturday
I have often said achievement is but the meeting or congruence of preparation and opportunity.
But Father Donalan told Imelda that in addition to this I have had luck….
I admit that I have had phenomenal luck in time of war as well as peace.
And there must be a Guiding Hand above who has forgiven me my sins, of which I have had more than my mortal share, and led me to my destiny.
Because all the well-nigh impossible accomplishments have seemed to be natural and fore ordained. And into the role of supposed hero in battle, top scholar, President I seemed to have gracefully moved into without the awkwardness of pushiness and over anxiety.