Tag Corazon C. Aquino

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.

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 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 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.

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 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 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.

June 12, 1985

Today was a whole day affair. More than 25,000 delegates and leaders of UNIDO attended the Nominating Convention at the Araneta Coliseum. They came at their own expense. All we gave them was a hamburger, two hard boiled eggs and a banana for lunch. All political leaders identified with the opposition were present. Even Cory came despite attempts of her “advisers” to dissuade her.* I am told by old-timers that it was the biggest and fightingest political convention on record –and I was unanimously nominated presidential standard bearer of the opposition. I expect Marcos to call a snap election soon –before Christmas.

This will be an all-out fight.

I immediately set the tone of the presidential campaign in my acceptance speech which I entitled “The Final Battle”:

The UNIDO is committed to non-violent change. Bloody revolution is not the only path to freedom: Democracy cannot take root amidst violence. All confrontation must end in reconciliation.

But those who would oppose us know that we will never give up this fight.

We will never give up the fight against repressive rule, against deception, against hypocrisy, against the twisting and shrouding of truth. We will never give up the right to live as human beings in a society where human rights are not denied at the will or whim of one man. Democracy is non-negotiable.

*I am confident we will have only one candidate in the opposition. The only other possible candidate is Cory but she has repeatedly told me she is not interested and that she will never run for the presidency. She has said this privately and publicly. She appears to be sincere. She attended today’s convention and even delivered a speech supporting my candidacy. I was told her advisers (Tañada, Diokno, Arroyo) were trying to stop her and she was in tears because she wanted to –and she did. Her advisers obviously have their own agenda. I hope Cory will not become a tool in their hands.