Enrile ready for face-off with nonbelieversBy Cathy Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile still finds it hard to believe that some quarters continue to claim his ambush on Sept. 22, 1972, had been faked.
Enrile said he was ready to appear before an independent commission that would gather the testimonies of martial law survivors so he could confront his detractors and “set things straight once and for all.”
Enrile, the defense minister of President Ferdinand Marcos at the time of the ambush, said he looked forward to going face-to-face with known leftist leaders of the time, including Jose Maria Sison, Luis Jalandoni and Satur Ocampo, so he could confront them about the Plaza Miranda bombing, the Karagatan arms shipment seized by the Philippine Constabulary, and the violence that erupted in the so-called Diliman commune—incidents that are believed to have led to the declaration of martial law.
In a radio interview, Enrile acknowledged that some critics found the contents of his newly released memoir incredulous, particularly his insistence that he was really ambushed at Wack Wack subdivision that night, but added that he would volunteer to put everything on record before the commission planned by Malacañang.
Aquino ordered interviews
Earlier reports said President Aquino had directed the National Historical Institute (NHI) to interview survivors of atrocities committed during the Marcos regime and present the collected stories to the people.
Enrile said he welcomed the fact that the commission has “full powers to subpoena persons and documents” and “to punish persons with contempt” if they refuse to cooperate with efforts to investigate the wrongdoings during that period, especially during the 10 years of martial rule.
“I think it becomes necessary that members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) come (‘humarap sila’) and I will also do so (‘ako haharap din’),” the Senate President said.
Enrile envisions a “confrontasi” where he and the leftist leaders would be given the right to cross examine each other about issues hurled against him and their respective organizations.
“They can cross examine me, they can confront me so all the (involuntary) disappearances they allege, those incidents of torture, could be discussed one by one, hindi puwedeng (there should be no) generalization. I’m ready because I have all records with me, year by year,” he said.
Asked why he had made the challenge, Enrile said it was about time the issues surrounding martial law were given closure.
“All of us have our own versions of martial law. It is best if everyone puts theirs on record. Let’s get the testimonies of all who will speak,” he said.
Enrile singled out Sison, Jalandoni and Ocampo, as well as Jalandoni’s wife, Connie Ledesma, Rodolfo Salas alias Commander Bilog, and Commander Dante “if they are still alive.”
Stop endless debates
The Senate President said putting all their stories on record would put a stop to the endless debates about Marcos, martial rule and, apparently, Enrile’s own role in its birth.
“Mabuti nang ganoon, eh (It is for the best) … Let us establish the national documentation of this whole thing,” he said.
Asked if he would discuss his ambush, Enrile gave a resounding “Yes!”
“My God! I did not… how can I stage my ambush? And that it was a military operation? Oh, my goodness,” he said.
The Senate President dared his critics to bring back to the country Raymond Bonner, a reporter of The New York Times who wrote the book “Waltzing With The Dictator” wherein his wife Cristina was quoted as saying that Marcos and Enrile “had staged the ‘ambush’ as the final justification for martial law.”
Enrile said his memoir pointed out that even Jesuit priest Fr. James Reuter, at some point “twisted” his words in the book “People Power–The Philippine Revolution of 1986”
Ready for probe
The Senate President maintained he was “ready to be investigated” about the incidents surrounding martial law.
“My God! Hindi ako nagsisinungaling, eh (I am not lying). I have the records about all of these things. If I made mistakes, I will admit them,” he said.
Enrile, however, wants his detractors to also be made to explain some incidents that preceded the declaration of martial law, such as the bombing of the Liberal Party rally at Plaza Miranda that was blamed mainly on Marcos; the cache of imitation M14 rifles found on the fishing vessel MV Karagatan that was believed intended for leftist rebels that the Philippine Constabulary chanced upon off the coast of Palanan, Isabela, on July 4, 1972; and the violence on the UP campus in Quezon City allegedly instigated by radical activists during the days of the Diliman commune in 1971.
Originally posted: 4:43 pm | Sunday, October 14th, 2012
Tags: Communist Party of the Philippines , Enrile Ambush , Ferdinand Marcos , Government , History , Insurgency , Jose Maria Sison , Juan Ponce Enrile , Luis Jalandoni , Martial law , Nation , New People's Army , News , Politics , Satur Ocampo , Senate