EDSA through the eyes of Doy Laurel

Salvador H. Laurel wrote intermittent diary entries for June 1985, August 1985, September 1985, October 1985, November 1985, and December 1985. They trace the initial vigor, then collapse, of his campaign for the presidency, and the negotiations for his sliding down to be the candidate for the vice-presidency in what emerged as the Aquino-Laurel ticket.

This period is also described in my article, The Road to EDSA. In his article, Triumph of the Will (February 7 1986), Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. described the gathering of political titans that had to be brought into line to support the Cory candidacy:

It is well to remember that the unity she forged was not among dependent and undistinguished clones, like the KBL that Marcos holds in his hand. Doy Laurel, Pepito Laurel, Tañada, Mitra, Pimentel, Adaza, Diokno, Salonga and the handful of others who kept the democratic faith, each in his own fashion, through the long years of martial law, are powerful political leaders in their own right. Each has kept or developed, by sagacity and guts, a wide personal following. Not one thinks himself subordinate to another in what he has contributed to keep alive the democratic faith. As far as Doy is concerned, his compromises had enabled him to kept at least one portion, Batangas, of a misguided country as a territorial example of viable opposition. An example to keep alive the hope that the rest of the country could follow suit and become free in time.

We have forgotten how much strength and hope we derived from the stories of Batangueños guarding the ballot boxes with their lives and Doy’s people keeping, at gunpoint, the Administration’s flying—or was it sailing?—voters from disembarking from the barges in which they had been ferried by the Administration. This is the language Marcos understands, the Laurels seemed to be saying, and we speak it.

We have forgotten the sage advice of Pepito Laurel which stopped the endless discussion about how to welcome Ninoy. Every arrangement was objected to because, someone would remark, Marcos can foil that plan by doing this or that. Pepito Laurel said, “Huwag mo nang problemahin ang problema ni Marcos. His problem is how to stop us from giving Ninoy the reception he deserves. Our problem is to give Ninoy that reception. Too much talk going on here!” that broke the paralysis of the meeting.

This is the caliber of men who were approached with a project of unification that entailed the suspension, perhaps forever, of their own ambitions. Cory would be the presidential candidate, and Doy who had spent substance and energy to create ex nihilo a political organization to challenge the Marcos machine must subordinate himself as her running mate. In exchange, the chieftains would get nothing but more work, worse sacrifices and greater perils. Certainly, no promises.

After two attempts, she emerged, largely through her own persuasive power and in spite of some stupid interference, as the presidential candidate of the Opposition, with Doy as her running mate. She had not yielded an inch of her position that all who would join the campaign must do so for no other consideration than the distinction of being in the forefront of the struggle. This should be enough. She had exercised the power of her disdain.

There is a gap in the diary until it resumes with his entry for February 13-17,1986, in which Doy Laurel mentions discussions with foreign diplomats. Then the diary trails off until the EDSA Revolution begins.

It is interesting to situate his entries with the chronology available. Compare Laurel’s February 22, 1986 entry with the Day One: February 22 chronology, and his February 23, 1986 entry with the Day Two: February 23, chronology, and his February 24, 1986 entry with the Day Three: February 24 chronology, and his February 25, 1986 entry with the Day Four: February 25 chronology. The chronology of the Flight of the Marcoses, contrasts with Laurel’s  diary entries for February 26, 1986 and February 27, 1986.

For more, see my Storify story, EDSA: Memories and Meanings, Timelines and Discussions.

The end result would be a bitter parting of ways; see What’s with Doy?  October 3, 1987.

Since the other side of the coin involves Ferdinand E. Marcos, see also my Storify story, Remembering Marcos.

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