I had sought to protect the sacredness and preciousness of my memories of the war with the sanctity of silence. So I had refused to talk or write about them except in an indirect way when forced to as when I offered my medals to the dead for I believed all such medals belonged to them.
But the sanctity of silence has been broken by the pettiness and cynicism that overwhelms the contemporary world. And the small souls whose vicarious achievement is to insult and offend the mighty and the achievers have succeeded in trivializing the most solemn and honorable of deeds and intentions. Their pettiness has besmirched with the foul attention the honorable service of all who have received medals and citations in the last World War. They have not excluded me. But instead have made me their special target as the most visible of those who offered blood, honor and life to our people.
So I must fight the battles of Bataan all over again. We must walk our Death March in the hot April sun once again. The Calvary of the USAFFE must again be told.
For we bleed and die again. This time in the hands of men who claim to be our countrymen.
(The Philippines News Story)
And so I ended my personal war without any sense of victory but weighed down by the tears that could not flow.
My hope was that I could heal the scars of my spirit, more galling than those of my body.
My right abdominal muscles were cut through never to grow back and my left knee was mangled.
But the injury of my soul was deeper and despairing.
I have decided to add interest to the referendum campaign by picking Ex-Pres. Macapagal as the best strawman and issuing an answer to his charges before the Manila Lion’s Club under Cesar Lucero on the MNLF having been brought about by the proclamation of martial law, martial law lifting and my resigning as president and leaving the country so that there would be free elections.
April 1, 1977
Life after Life —
The phenomenon of 12 people declared clinically dead and returned to life.
Hair-raising as these experiences coincide with mine in August of 1974 when I was ill of black-water fever in the Philippine General Hospital.
As I explained to the boys some time ago, the floating away from the body seemed to me then a part of my delirium but when I recounted what I saw floating above my body and everyone else, the priest coming to give me extreme unction, the doctor (Dr. Agerico B.M. Sison) saying I was gone, the people around me trying to revive me, etc., it was uncanny that it coincided with what actually happened.
April 1, 1977
Father Cruz keeps repeating that the North Vietnamese won the war with only rifles and rockets against the greatest military power in the world because of their national spirit.
Partly true. It is also true that the South Vietnamese were not equally resolved and motivated because they were not convinced that they were fighting for their country since the Americans loomed large as the principal protagonist and interested party. The South Vietnamese were not fighting for their country. Desertions were high.
Paradoxically, neither were the Americans (both the leaders and followers) convinced of the justice of their cause. Desertions were equally high. And the councils of government were divided. The media were against the war.
So the United States held back its power. It was fighting with one hand tied behind –voluntarily.
I have asked USec Collantes to tell the American chargé d’affaires that there is a warrant of arrest or threat against Ex Pres. Macapagal and we will help him go whenever he wants to go –even to the U.S.
The chargé told Gen. Ver and USec Collantes that “Political asylum is out.” They must be embarrassed by the Macapagal “escape” to their premises.
Our basic strategy with respect to Malaysia is to impress her with our credible defense posture and capability. Thus the announcement on Phil. Air Force Day of the need to increase our armed forces first by [illegible] then to 256,000. I did not announce that including the local police of about 100,000 and private security groups of 40,000 this would total 396,000 by the end of 1976.
Today we sign the Memorandum of Agreement with the US through Amb. Sullivan for the setting up of the Colt M-16 rifle factory in Bataan.
Pres. Soeharto has met Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak at Penang, Malaysia and returned to Jakarta. Sec. Romulo who attended the ASEAN minister’s conference saw Pres. Soeharto to deliver my letter wherein I pointedly accused Malaysia of training the rebels in the South and furnishing arms, equipment and funds to them.
One thing disturbs me and that is that Pres. Soeharto seems to be convinced by Razak. He has said that “he considered the evidence of both parties of equal weight,” and the situation in Mindanao is “serious and deteriorating…” I have told him that we can handle the internal situation. We are concerned about war which we must prevent. I enclose the cable of Romulo and my answer.
He has invited me to meet him in Monado instead of Balikpapan and on the 29-30 and not on the 25th.
I intend to go there by yacht. Sec. Melchor went there by C-130 and suggests docking at Bitong, instead.
I attach the letter of Pres. Soeharto which I received from Maj. Gen. Noli Jokjobranapalo -and my answer.
Amb. Sullivan met me last Thursday May 9th and reported on his trip to Washington. I attach my notes.
Apparently he cannot prmise any of the tactical missiles. But A-4 (Skyhawk) or F 5-A planes and radar for the south on credit (FMS).
Sugar -1.5 million tons quota and reduction of the tariff on coconut oil and veneer.
So I intend to issue the three decrees -Retail Trade, Anti-Dummy amendment and length of leases as well as the press statement on the one year period of adjustment of real estate titles.
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.
The referendum vote is overwhelmingly Yes. And a great percentage of those qualified registered and voted -about 80% to 95% registered and voted. A 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.
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.
…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…
…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.
….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.
…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…
…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
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.
…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…
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.”
…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.