Marcos diaries: ‘Hysteria in Manila… I must declare martial law soon’
(Last of two parts)
July 19, 1972, Wednesday
We have one of the worst floods in years. Almost all of Western Luzon is underwater. While Typhoon “Gloring” is leaving… there is a new typhoon… So we expect the rains to continue.
Our helicopters flew rescue and relief missions following the national highway. But visibility is zero and the Clark Field helicopters did not fly.
Even trucks could not move because some parts of the road, like Carmen, Rosales and Dinalupihan, are under 4 feet of water.
Malacañang is underwater. The Heroes Hall and the entrance are under 1 foot of water.
Stolen Sto. Niño found
July 27, Thursday
I have called Congress to another special session—the third. They have not passed the budget and the tax measures among others.
July 31, Monday
The stolen Sto. Niño of Tondo was found today by Imelda through Lulu Tinio, Toyet Pascual. One of the robbers (a tough, known killer and one of the Paranga brothers from Macabebe, Pampanga) had offered the head, hands and feet of the Sto. Niño to Doctor Pascual’s manager for P2,800…
Shades of Lourdes and Father Pio!! The people of Cavite talk of a crab found in that province with the image of the lost Sto. Niño inside a crab shell. Paeng Yabut picked this up in his radio commentary and appealed for the return of the Sto. Niño.
So does Mayor [Ramon] Bagatsing, who strongly feels with some people that the loss of the Sto. Niño of Tondo is the cause of the floods and rain.
Believing in miracles
Aug. 3, Thursday
The sun came out this morning, the rain stopped and the waters have receded in all places… the talk in Manila is the miracle of Sto. Niño, with a few sour grapes, as was expected. But it looks like I am not the only believer in miracles.
So we are now busy on the plans for the reconstruction.
In press, TV and radio interview at 4 p.m., I emphasized: The estimate of damage to infrastructure of about P404 million is understated. It is actually about P2 billion… “And everybody must participate… Let us go into the mud and the dirt and start working.”
Need to fight now
Aug. 11, Friday
I told Bongbong and Irene… the communists are growing stronger and would be much stronger without me as President; rather than fight a defensive or losing battle later, I would rather fight now by taking over the government by a proclamation of martial law.
Aug. 13, Friday
General Ramos (chief of the Philippine Constabulary) reports landing in CamSur of 60-70 rifles by motorized banca from northern Luzon several weeks ago.
There is a report of an attack on San Vicente Port in the northeast part of Cagayan. And the barrios on the east coast of Cagayan province have been taken over by the NPA (New People’s Army). The communists are tenaciously holding on to their Pacific coast camps.
We are preparing for the efforts at sabotage, terrorism and assassination in the city, provinces by the communists for the month of August… as shown by captured documents and testimony of prisoners.
Aug. 20, Sunday
And the senators are back to the good old political game of bickering. They have passed the calamity bill but there are no funds for it as they have not passed the new tax laws.
Worked on the updating of the contingency plans on the basis of new assumptions— marking out the possible targets of sabotage and kidnapping or assassination of the NPAs.
Sept. 7, Thursday
The 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, Friday
Conferred with Secretary Ponce Enrile and Gen. [Fabian] Ver on the need to prepare for an early attempt of the Maoists to terrorize Manila.
Sept. 10, Sunday
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 philosophers’ heaven… Parade and review in the rain. I trooped the line in raincoat and hat. Felt good.
Sept. 11, Monday
Birthday celebration limited to Mass and a meeting with the governors and mayors, which has turned out to be tedious.
But this has been an eventful day. The Meralco was bombed in two places last night. Today, the Manila police battled a jeep-load of NPAs, capturing six and killing one armed with a carbine five hours after he escaped… The kidnappers of Tom Aguirre (Banco Filipino) and his son, Antonio, released them after they paid P1.2 million. The kidnappers were well-disciplined, had a basement full of communications and had apparently been successfully kidnapping Chinese for ransom—Tony Roxas Chua’s wife for P1 million, La Suerte owners’ son for the same amount… and others. The NPAs may have raised their funds in this manner.
So there is hysteria in Manila from a bomb and kidnapping scare.
Sept. 13, Wednesday
At the rate the tension and hysteria in Manila continues, I may have to declare martial law soon. Many people are not leaving their homes. Threats to bomb and blackmail is rampant… So I met with Johnny Ponce Enrile, Gen. Tom Diaz, Col. (Alfredo) 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, Senator Aquino, in a privilege speech today, claims we have an Oplan Sagittarius, which allegedly includes placing of Greater Manila under PC [Philippine Constabulary] control preparatory to proclaiming martial law.
This is nothing but a contingency plan for the coordination of the local police forces and the armed forces in case of emergency.
It is ridiculous to ascribe to it the plan of martial law since it refers to the calling out the troops to quell a disorder.
But of course the media will give it all kinds 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.
Martial law plans
Sept. 14, Thursday
After golf at 9 a.m. at my room at Pangarap while taking breakfast, I told the DND [Department of National Defense], C of S [chief of staff], major service commanders (General Ramos, the PC, Gen. (Rafael) Zagala, the PA (Philippine Army), Gen. (Jose) Rancudo, the PAF (Philippine Air Force), and Commodore (Hilario) Ruiz, the PN (Philippine Navy), Gen. Ver and Gen. (Tranquilino) Paranis that I intended to declare martial law to liquidate the communist apparatus, reform our government and society, then have the Con-con [Constitutional Convention] ratify our acts and the people confirm it by plebiscite and return to constitutional process, but that I needed at least one year and two months; that this would be legitimate exercise of my emergency powers under the Constitution… that we needed 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 noses clean and submerge self-interest.
I asked for any objection to the plan and there was none except for the observation of General Ramos that the closing of the media should be done by a civilian minister supported by the military, and General Rancudo, who wanted missions definitely assigned to each branch of the service.
Ambassador (Henry) Byroade came to see us after the presentation of credentials by the new Malaysian ambassador. He left us the memorandum of conservation… Then he explained that he kept the White House informed weekly of developments here— and that the communist threat was increasing.
Meeting with Liberals
Sept. 17, Sunday
I have invited the Liberal Party leaders (at least 10 of their hierarchy) to come to the Palace on Sept. 19 to be informed of what we have on the negotiations and agreements between the Maoists and the Liberals…
I received the report on the 7,400 cases of dynamite apprehended in Del Pan Bridge by the Cosac (Constabulary Offshore Action Center).
The Air Manila plane was apparently bombed at 4:40 a.m. yesterday by a grenade in a valise with incendiary bombs over Romblon… but was able to limp up to Roxas City.
Sept. 18, Monday
The Con-con and the sala of Judge (Julian) Lustre of Quezon City trying subversives were bombed by unidentified persons this afternoon at 3:40 p.m. It caused extensive damage and injured about 20 people. Two of the subversives were almost able to escape.
We finalized the plans for the proclamation of martial law at 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with the SND [Secretary of National Defense], the chief of staff, major service commanders, J-2, Gen. (Ignacio) Paz, 1st PC zone commander General Diaz and Metrocom commander, Col. 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 and they may succeed in weakening our support among the people if it is allowed to continue.
So after the bombing of the Con-con, we agreed on the 21st without any postponement.
We finalized the target personalities, the assignments and the procedures.
Sept. 19, Tuesday
Released the report of Secretary Ponce Enrile of Sept. 8, 1972, where he reported that Senator Aquino had met with Jose Maria Sison of the Communist Party and had talked about a linkup of the Liberal Party and the Communist Party.
The tension and apprehension are still high.
I had to state during this afternoon’s interview that:
1. The linkup of the Liberal Party and the Communist Party would constitute a threat that we would have to assess in a new light.
2. The communists have attempted to infiltrate the office of the SND and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines).
3. The communists have doubled their armed strength in the last six months.
Sept. 20, Wednesday
The two Americans paid to assassinate me were supposed to do the job this morning but when they tried the guns (even the .22-cal.), they were too loud. This was explained by our penetration man, Talastas.
They have prepared a Combi wagon, put a hole in the back and have tried to park it between the press and the Maharlika or the boathouse, and they can snipe at me at the Pangarap boat landing or the golf course.
Johnny and I again reviewed the proclamation, which we again amended. He wrote out the orders on carrying firearms and on control of shipping.
I could not sign the proclamation and orders because they have to be retyped.
Sept. 21, Thursday
Delayed by the hurried visit of Joe Aspiras and Inting Barbero, 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, General Paz, General Nanadiego, Kit Tatad and I, with Piciong Taguiam doing the typing, finished all the papers (the proclamation and the orders) today at 8 p.m.
Ambassador Byroade came to see me at 11:15 a.m. and was apparently interested to know whether there would be martial law. 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 (Sen. George) McGovern, the democratic presidential candidate, as proof of the failure of the foreign policy of the present president.
I told him I did not want it said that he was intervening in internal matters of the Philippine government. And that no decision has been arrived at but that I was under pressure and there seemed to be no other solution.
There seems to be a pipeline to Ninoy Aquino, as he seems to know that the proclamation will be made this weekend. We have to check this. It is dangerous. Even the Con-con is agog with the speculation.
Sept. 22, Friday
Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile was ambushed near Wack Wack at about 8 p.m. tonight. It was a good thing he was riding in his security car as a protective measure. His first car, which he usually uses, was the one riddled by bullets from a car parked in the ambush…
This makes the martial law proclamation a necessity.
Congress is not adjourning tonight, as the conference committee on the tariff and customs code could not agree on a common version. They adjourn tomorrow.
Martial law proclaimed
Sept. 23, 1972, Saturday
Things have 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, (Jose) Diokno and (Ramon) Mitra, and Chino Roces and Teddy Locsin.
At 7:15 p.m., I finally appeared on a nationwide TV and radio broadcast to announce the proclamation of martial law, the general orders and instructions.
First posted 1:05 am | Sunday, September 22nd, 2013