In his own words: Marcos on martial law

Posted at 09/21/12 12:28 PM

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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 [bejuco] 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.

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Sept. 18, 1972
12:50 pm

The Concon and the sala of Judge Lustre of Quezon City trying the subversives were bombed by unidentified persons this afternoon at 3:40 pm. It caused exterior damage and injured about twenty people.

Two of the subversives were almost able to escape.

This is apparently the answer of the subversives to the raids on their headquarters in Manila, Quezon and Pasay last Sunday morning at 4:30 where about 48 were arrested including Calardo a former PMA cadet who is tagged as the Visayan NPA head.

Ex Sec Piding Montelibano, after bringing the problems of the PNB and the sugar industry, pledged that he and his family (one governor and one congressman) were behind me and Imelda even if I proclaimed martial law.

One thing about this man, he has a good nose for survival.

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.

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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.

I have amended both Gen. Orders Nos. 1 and 3 to assume all powers of government including legislative and judicial and clearly excluded cases involving the constitutionality of my acts from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

I met the cabinet to emphasize the program to reform our society.

And I signed the decree (No. 1) to promulgate the law on the Reorganization of the Government.

Tomorrow I will sign the decrees promulgating the new Civil Service Rules, the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Law, the Land Reform Funding and dismiss some judges, the CIR judges, Public Service Commission.

We have impressed everybody with our fairness by the arrest of Cong. Roque Ablan, Rafael Aquino and Gov. Luis Bocalan.

I have ordered profiteers to be arrested.

And the ROTC boys have cleaned up the streets of graffiti.

Only KBS and the The Daily Express are operational.

I just talked to Earl Mayo, the biographer and advisor of Nixon, and his first advice is to immediately meet the press as soon as possible and explain that this is not a dictatorship.

Sec. C.P. Romulo, whom I talked to again by long distance, has done a good job of holding press interviews and issuing press releases.

For more of the Marcos diaries, read The Philippine Diary Project (http://philippinediaryproject.wordpress.com/)