Category Diary of Salvador H. Laurel

February 27, 1986

I met with Cory to decide the choice of Cabinet members per our agreement. At this time Cory and I were in close consultation. We were meeting everyday, sometimes twice a day –mainly on the choice of Cabinet members and urgent priority items to act on. I submitted names on the basis of our agreement that there would be close consultation of the composition of the Cabinet. At this point I noticed that she was not following our agreement. She rejected my recommendations except for one (H. Perez). (She cannot decide).

February 26, 1986

I met with Cesar Virata to agree on a smooth turnover of the Office of the Prime Minister. He agreed but asked for time to meet with Batasan MP’s (KBL). My takeover was delayed because Virata said the Constitution requires that the Batasan must elect the PM. However with sympathetic KBL MP’s (Yñiguez/Virata/JPE plus UNIDO stalwarts, I am assured of a clear majority.

I asked (Ambassador Jose) Ingles to arrange my takeover of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

February 25, 1986

I arrived punctually before 9 A.M. –everybody –the political and local leaders, the local and foreign media– were all there. But Cory was nowhere. I inquired her whereabouts. Tessie Oreta, Butz Aquino did not know. We waited two hours. Finally at 11 A.M. I was able to talk to her on a two-way radio. “Cory –where are you? Is there a problem? You should be here now. Everybody’s waiting!” She could not talk on the radio phone, she said, “There is a problem. Could you please come?” “Where are you?” I asked. “Same place as yesterday.”

I rushed to Josephine’s house in WW. I was there in 3 minutes. When I arrived everybody was so quiet, as if someone had died. I was met by her son, Noynoy at the entrance. I was led to her room. When I opened the door Cory was seated on a chair looking out the window.

“What’s wrong, why are you still here? Everybody is waiting. And at high noon, which is 55 minutes from now, FM is taking his oath. We must beat him to it!”

“But Enrile told me not to go. He says we will all be killed there. He says I should take my oath in his office at Camp Aguinaldo. I’ll be safe there, he said. You have to talk to Enrile.”

“It’s too late to change the venue. I’ll talk to Enrile. Can someone dial him for me? I don’t know his phone number.” Ballsy dialed and in a moment Enrile was on the phone.

“Johnny, this is Doy, I’m here with Cory. She says you don’t want her to take her oath at Club. But everybody’s there now. All media is there, about 2000 leaders and news people are there. They’ve been waiting for more than two hours.

“Johnny, there is no problem about security there. I’ve taken care of that. I have about 300 Batangueños, ready to protect us. We cannot show any fear at this time. FM will take his oath in an hour. Why don’t you and Eddie Ramos take a chopper and land like commandos. That will be dramatic.” Enrile agreed, “OK Eddie and I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”

February 24, 1986

CCA arrived at 10 A.M. We met in her sister’s house at Wack Wack (near my house). I told her we must take our oath today. She agreed and asked me to make all the arrangements. I decided on Club Filipino. I invited opposition leaders and local and foreign media.

CCA came again at 5 P.M. at home. Somebody must have scared her. She said Club Filipino was too fragile and vulnerable to attack from FM men. She asked to see my father’s house (beside my house). It was already dark at 6 P.M. when we walked to the house. When she saw the concrete walls, she was impressed. “I prefer it here. Dito na.” She said “Besides, I don’t think Marcos will attack the Old Man’s house.” She remembered FM’s public admission that he owed his life to the Old Man. “OK with me.” I said “But if FM will really attack us, he will attack us wherever we are. Besides it may not be able to accomodate 2000 political leaders and media people we expect. Likewise we have already announced the plan to the press. Ituloy na natin baka akalain pa ng tao naduduwagan na tayo. We are the leaders, Cory, and we must never show fear. Courage is contagious but so is cowardice.”

Cory was quiet. Then she said, “Kabado pa rin ako. And I don’t do things at night, call it superstition. But I’d rather take our oath in the morning, in the sunlight.”

“Well your instincts have always been good so far. OK we’ll reset it for tomorrow at 9 A.M. –Club Filipino.” Then she went back to Josephine’s house.

February 23, 1986

I arrived in Calatagan private airfield of EZ after 2 hrs. and 45 min. flight on single engine private plane hired by Tony Escaño Garcia. Met by Governor Joey Laurel –helicopter to Manila– landed on helipad of Intercon. Met there by JSL. Proceeded to Camp Aguinaldo.

February 22, 1986

We were in Cebu when Enrile and Ramos staged their mutiny in Camp Aguinaldo. I addressed the “Doctors for Democracy” and CA talked to the Cebu lawyers. Then the rally at 4 PM. After the rally after having dinner at a restaurant, a foreign correspondent told me JPE and Ramos had barricaded themselves in Camp Aguinaldo. I Told CCA to go to the Good Shepherds for security. I cancelled Davao and arranged to take a private plane to Manila via Calatagan.

February 13-17, 1986

We met with State Department people (Claude Buss and Guy Pauker). Then came Reagan’s special envoy, Philip Habib, on February 17. Speaking for CCA and myself, I told him, “We will never give up the fight to dismantle the dictatorship. We will go on and on until FM steps down and obeys the true mandate of the people.” He said he would talk to FM –that same afternoon.

We concentrate on the foreign press for coverage.

December 11, 1985

Cory and I met at the house of my son, David in our Mandaluyong compound. She announced that she had changed her mind. She was now willing to run under UNIDO! She reiterated her previous offer that I would be her Prime Minister, that she would step down in two years, that I would name 30 percent of the Cabinet, that she would appoint the remaining 70 percent after close consultations with me. I said I would have to think it over and decide before the deadline that night.

At eight o’clock that evening I made up my mind. I called Cory to meet me at the house of Maur Aquino-Lichauco. My two brothers, former Speaker Jose B. Laurel Jr. and former Ambassador Jose S. Laurel III, came with me. I wanted them and Doña Aurora to witness what I would tell Cory. At about ten o’clock, I told her I was giving way to her. She was overwhelmed. When I extended my hand to congratulate her, she held it in both her hands and said, “Thank you, Doy. I’ll never forget this.”

Cory turned to my two brothers and said “I-formalize na ninyo ang ating pinagkasunduan.” But Kuya Pito said, “Hindi na kailangan I-formalize pa iyan. Lalong masakit lamang kung hindi tinupad.”

“Let’s go,” I said, “We have to beat the COMELEC deadline!”

December 8, 1985

I called a press conference to announce the filing of my candidacy as official UNIDO candidate for the presidency.

In my statement I said: “I can sacrifice myself. I can sacrifice the presidency. But I cannot sacrifice my party and principles. I cannot sacrifice my party and principles. I cannot sacrifice the people who have suffered so much and worked so hard all these years, risking life, liberty and even honor, to put up the political machine that is now capable of toppling the Marcos dictatorship.”

That same afternoon I filed my certificate of candidacy with COMELEC.

Telegrams and long distance calls from all over the country poured in expressing support for my candidacy.

December 7, 1985

Early the next morning, I had made up my mind. I went back to Manila and met Cory at my house. I told her I had decided to give way to her. My only condition was that she should run under UNIDO after all, it was the largest and most organized party in the country at that time. It was accredited as the dominant opposition party. Its capacity to wage and win a nationwide campaign had been convincingly demonstrated in the 1984 elections when we won one third of the seats at stake.

But Cory could not see the point. She would not run under UNIDO.

November 23, 1985

Per advice of Soc, I had a one-on-one with Cory this afternoon. We met at 5 pm at her house in Times St.

November 21, 1985

Soc Rodrigo came at 8 pm this evening to suggest (1) That I pay a call on Celing Muñoz-Palma on her birthday –to smooth out whatever ripples might have resulted during our confrontasi ten days ago. Even if I know I did nothing wrong. Because I am a candidate, I agreed to see her. I also agreed to see (2) Cory at her residence to resolve once and for all who will be the single common candidate of the opposition.

I will visit Celing Palma tomorrow, it’s her birthday. There is really nothing to patch up as far as I’m concerned. I am the aggrieved person. But I’ll have to go anyway –only because I’m a candidate!

 

November 12, 1985

I was invited to attend the NUC which I had created as President of UNIDO and I was therefore anxious to find out the truth of the two documents I had just read. We met at the Cojuangco Bldg. Cory, obviously aware of what Celing Palma was going to do, begged off and left after a few minutes. She said she could no longer be a “unifier” because she was already a potential candidate.

Then I heard Celing Palma suddenly insisting on everyone agreeing on the NUC becoming the DOP. I expressed surprise at this because the NUC is a creation of the UNIDO and it is not right that the creature should displace the creator as DOP.

Then I questioned Celing Palma’s pretension at being neutral, and I mentioned the plot described in the “Gathering of Davids”. At first Celing Palma was denying her role but I said I had the documents to prove it. Because I had questioned her neutrality, she resigned as Chairman of the NUC. Soc Rodrigo, Vice-Chairman, took over.

As part of the planned media blitz to discredit and destroy me and UNIDO, the NUC-CG went on the rampage the next day falsely reporting that I had “shouted” at an “old, venerable lady”. They even distorted it further by saying I had “pointed an angry finger” at her.

I was emphatic but I never shouted at Muñoz-Palma. I never pointed an “angry finger” at her. Soc Rodrigo, who was beside me, can attest to this. But that was all to be twisted and played up by media as planned by Cory’s secret advisers who are very ruthless and bitter people, full of hate and vengefulness.

November 11, 1985

Arrived from Tokyo this morning.

Spoke before the Manila Rotary Club. During the open forum that followed my speech, a die-hard supporter gave me 17-page document entitled “A Gathering of Davids”, dated October 30, 1985. Attached to it was another document consisting of 9 pages entitled “Declaration of Unity, dated Dec. 26, 1984.

the first document was a carefully conceived plot to destroy and discredit UNIDO and me as presidential standard bearer. The objective was to grab the leadership of the opposition from UNIDO and place it in the hands of left-leaning elements, using Cory as their tool. Obviously, this was hatched while I was in US.

The plot had a time-table. They were supposed to the COMELEC accreditation as Dominant Opposition Party (DOP) by Nov. 5. But they were delayed because of my absence. The NUC was to be used as the instrument to get the DOP from UNIDO and Ex-Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma was the anointed implementor. All along she had pretended to be “neutral”, but the document clearly showed that she was already part of the plot to replace UNIDO as DOP and replace me as presidential candidate. Their plan was to make Cory the presidential candidate and NUC as the DOP.

The plotters were:

Lorenzo Tañada — Convenor Group

Jose W. Diokno

Jaime V. Ongpin — Convenor Group

Cory Aquino — Convenor Group

Jovito Salonga ?

Butz Aquino

Aquilino Pimentel

Sonny Osmeña

Tito Guingona

 

They were the signatories also to the “Declaration of Unity” which had agreed to legalize the Communist Party and swore to immediately remove the US Bases — which Eva Kalaw and I had refused to sign.

It was specifically stated that the UNIDO was to be “forced” “as quickly as possible” to yield to NUC-CG demands “or else” be “isolated” and “viewed as the villain” by the people. A well-planned concerted media blitz to discredit and destroy UNIDO and me “at all cost” was already planned. “Coordinated press releases, interviews” were ready.

The so-called “Command Structure of the Coalition” excluded UNIDO. A convention within 48-hours also excluded UNIDO.

A letter addressed to the NUC, attention MP Cecilia Muñoz Palma, “reminding” her to seek the DOP status for NUC bu November 7, was already drafted.

October 31, 1985

Leaving for Hongkong, L.A., Washington and NY. Will contact close friends to raise campaign funds. Will also maximize US support for opposition cause.

October 18, 1985

National Unification Committee representatives (NUC) came to the house this morning to suggest process of selection of common opposition candidate. I told them I am already the official candidate of the only accredited opposition party, UNIDO. I suspect they are eyeing Cory as a candidate. It is possible Cory has intimated to Cecilia Muñoz Palma that she may change her mind about running if she is the common candidate. But Cory had continued to deny this in public. I am, however, proceeding with my campaign schedule. Tomorrow I will leave for Surigao and Cebu. Then to Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Iloilo next week.

October 7, 1985

Met with Nanding Campos, Atty. Maranan, Edong Jimenez, Paragua and Loni Bocalan. We are solid in Cavite. Also met Hector Espenilla, Jolly Fernandez and Pablo Bautista of Masbate, and Governor Felicing San Luis of Laguna. Boy Herrera of TUCP & Cebu also assured me of full support. Campaign is picking up!

September 17, 1985

Lito Banayo, Roger Davis, Raul Contreras and Banz Arrieta are coordinating my PR. Tony Cantero is also helping. Our problem is, as expected, funding. Nap Rama and Titong Roces are doing their bit with Malaya. So also Jun Campillo. Marilou Abaya is directing production of my video tape for TV showing.

August 28, 1985

Met today with the Cebu MPs led by Celing Fernan, Sonny Osmeña, Tony Cuenco, Inday Nita Daluz, Junie Martinez and Rene Espina. We have solid support in Cebu. I will proceed to Ilocos region on Friday, the 30th. Pablito Sanidad is in charge. We will cover Ilocos Sur and La Union and Baguio. In keeping with an old unwritten tradition, I will skip Ilocos Norte in this campaign. Then to Zambales c/o Raul Gonzales and Pampanga c/o Tony Angeles. Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro next week. Side trip to Butuan. Bicol next.

August 26, 1985

I presented to Cardinal Sin for his viewing the videotapes and photos taken by Orly Mercado of the Marcos properties in US. We are showing these to various business groups .