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Monday, October 29, 2012

Chapter 8 - Prelude to Martial Law


Chapter 8
Prelude to Martial Law


         Maybe he was just dog tired that he almost failed celebrating 6:30 AM Mass. Good that he set his alarm clock one hour before mass time so he could still prepare.
              “Wow. How vivid those graphic dreams were in a row. . . !” he said as he rose up looking the time of his wristwatch. Listening the knock on his door from his sacristan.
              “Thirty more minutes Father to prepare. The church is already filled with people,” the sacristan said.
                 “Yap, hold on I’ll be there” he answered as he hurriedly took a bath in preparation for the mass.Thirty minutes to go is ample time yet for preparation. But he just slipped by reading the gospel for the day. “Anyway, reading the gospel during the mass would already be enough for as long as you get the message right.”
            “I think I dished out inspiring message than what they could bargain for during the necrological mass of my father,” his thought telling him. Instead he took Xerox copy of relevant Martial law materials and there learned how dictatorship  started it all.
. . . . . . . . . . .  .

                Prelude to Martial Law started right more than a year before its declaration on Sept.21, 1971. That means 1970 when then brilliant lawmaker from Mindanao Sen. Pelaez filed SB77 providing election of 320  Constitutional Convention or ConCon of  delegates nationwide.
                “It could be even surmised that two years after winning 1965 Presidential election over then Pres. Diosdado Macapagal, he had already his sight set on prolonging himself to power by lobbying Congress Joint Resolution No. 2 passed as early as March 16,1967. . . ,” Driarco said keeping his ace closer to his heart as if deciphering the baffling political plot when it is of common knowledge anyway that Ferdinand Marcos would rule for as long as he wishes – be that only on his term and or additional second term or more.
              “If so then it holds water that Martial Law declared later was merely an excuse for his 21 long year’s hold of power. That’s tough. But FM makes it so simple that Filipinos he thought look like morons and stupid,” he uttered.
 The event just happened so fast. Soon series of restlessness were felt all over on the fourth week of January in Manila from demonstrations in front of Malacañang Palace, Congress and Mendiola by students, laborers, urban poor, jeepney drivers ushering the First Quarter Storm. (RQS). Even Marcos Presidential Party was assaulted leaving the halls of Congress after delivering his first SONA. Students demanded that Marcos would sign a pledge not to run President 0n 1973.  In Mendiola, several students were injured and four were left dead.
             Student demonstration was back condemning Mendiola incident on the months that ensued and getting stronger onwards. Movement for Democratic Philippines followed by Kabataang Makabayan also released their respective Manifesto condemning this “Massacre in Mendiola” highlighting that “. . . there are no longer legal processes left in achieving peaceful transition . . . to a truly democratic society” and Marcos fascist puppet regime knows no boundary in suppressing people’s democratic right.”
              On the 10th of February 1970,  Sec. of Justice Juan Ponce Enrile was named Sec. of Defense by Marcos. To cool off hot heads among militant groups, he called and had five hours meeting with leaders of Movement for Democratic Philippines for possible peaceful agreement resolving burning issues of the day. But restiveness escalated that student demonstrations erupted attacking US Embassy Chancery no less. Philippine College of Commerce was raided “as a front of leftist activities”.  Slowly as earlier warned by  Fr. Victoriano  that FM will declare Martial Law such guess would soon vindicate one week later in Feb. 27 when Marcos first publicly acknowledge  before a speech in District 380 Rotary International that Martial Law is most likely an option to meet brewing crisis.
              “. . . When the President proclaims Martial Law, he proclaims that the military command has taken over all the functions of government, including that of the machinery of justice, that of the legislature, and that of the executive.  The military command therefore replaces entire civil government,” he said. He reiterated this message when he warns for possible head-on collision against the communist and that Martial Law or Writ of Habeas Corpus are two open options.
              “No one can question my authority, not even Supreme Court,” he emphasized at the same time as people’s march and students’ demonstrations were daily activity in Manila.
              Three hundred twenty delegates were then elected after passing RA 6132 implementing Congress Joint Resolution No. 2 passed on March 16,1967 calling for Constitutional Convention.
“It seems probable then that FM had already his sight focused on dictatorship after his victory of Presidential election against Macapagal on 1965” a theory developing again  from Driarco’s mind looming like sunrise in the horizon.
              Without any let-up, more demonstrations occurred because of soaring increase in oil products leading to citywide strike led by Pasang Masda. Similarly, students from UP established Diliman Commune lasting nine days. Came inauguration day, Marcos gave his speech less twenty delegates, 17 delegates staging boycotts and 3 intentionally absent themselves protesting FM interference and influencing the conduct of Concon. Former Pres. Diosdado Macapagal elected Concon President replacing the void left by Carlos Garcia’s untimely death.
                As if scripted, the rest of the events followed calculated plot leading to the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus through issuance of Proclamation 889, an infamous development yet upheld later by Supreme Court in its promulgation of Lansang vs. Garcia later.
                “What a coincidence, Plaza Miranda bombing wiping out almost entire leadership of Liberal Party happened in August 21, 1971  and relate that to Ninoy Aquino’s assassination on similar month and two days after, that is, August 23,  there seems to be a pattern under a direction of power broker. Who that might be?” Driarco can’t figure out.  But as power crafted in secrecy, you can stretch further your imagination that conspiracy is well entrenched here. “No wonder that assassination, ambush of public figure remain unclosed cases,” he thought.
                       If at all the Liberal Party victims of Plaza Miranda were vindicated, it is when they almost sweep the entire Liberal Senatorial slate getting six posts out of eight. Only two slate were taken by Marcos’ Nacionalista party.
                     Surprisingly, the first month of 1972 ushered good signals for the country when FM lifted the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus on the 7th of January. But it was not for long as he set in the flavor of dictatorship by bribing Concon delegate to this favor.  This was exposed by Quintero in which Marcos readily denied.
                     Two disturbing incidents however that ensued paved the way for the declaration of Martial Law on 21st of September.  These are the capture of two sensitive documents in Zambales confirming NPA/CPP expansion at grassroots level and Palanan incident on July involving shipment of 3,200 high powered firearms and other hardware and top secret highly classified documents. The rest is history.
              Nearing the homestretch of the declaration, political development gets feverish that he divulged in TV and media that he would soon invoke Martial Law confirming that there exist July-August terror plan by the CPP/NPA featuring planned assassination of government officials including himself. First on the list was Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy as corroborated by Ninoy Aquino who brought the matter to Sec. Juan Ponce Enrile’s attention. This development prompted FM organized defense forces in provincial areas. As the declaration was imminent, Ninoy finally spilled the beans of OPLAN Sagittarius at the Senate Floor as plan for RP-wide Philippine Constabulary control as precondition for Martial Law is coming anytime soon. Since then, Marcos meeting with twelve Martial Law apostles were held nightly until after September 21, when he signed PD 1081 which soon went to the pages of history as the birth of dictatorship and militarization of the country whose far reaching effect was felt all over by people in the country.
. . . . . . . . . . .

                Driarco dropped back to his seat after reading the Chronological Reconstruction of the Events and Decisions that Led to the Imposition of Martial Law in 1972.
              “Hmm so this was it. That fast and systematic obviously well planned conspiracy theory with no less the President of the country calling the shot, the thought playing on his mind connecting the pieces together from the maze.
                  Closing the important reference, he folded and put it back in Manila Envelope leaving it on the table.
                The story now comes into full circle recalling rhetoric of Martial Law  from classmates back then. And as if on cue ready for rewind, his thought immersed back whatever happened on the debates on the issue of the past. The anecdote just rolled down slipping away from his palm like globules the story replaying back brightly catching his imagination on fire. This developed as he braced himself giving final blessings to the parishioners attending  the mass. How fast time really flies! Kneeling  down before the Holy Tabernacle after the mass  this time just in silence after praying, he just allowed where holy spirit would led him to. This as his focus shoots back the pages of his past bringing back the hands of time  when he exactly learned first hand the story of Martial Law revealed by his Dean of Student Affair.
                “How was it back then?” he thought his eyes focused on Mr. Paler, Dean of Students’ Affair who is about to divulge this important political development of the day.

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