“Where there is doubt, faith, Where there is despair, hope, Where there darkness, light, And where there is sadness, joy.” – St. Francis of Assisi
Last of two parts
(Part 1 appeared on Thursday March 10)
SO I rushed to the La Salle University Gymnasium at Greenhills where Namfrel
was holding the canvassing of the election results. I told Joecon that at the rate they were going, they would end up proclaiming Marcos as the duly elected President, in the same manner the Parliament would proclaim FM as the duly elected President. Then I told Joecon to suspend the Namfrel canvassing with Cory having a dwindling majority of 75,000 votes, otherwise he would make a fool out of the Opposition, particularly me because of my performance on the floor of the Parliament. Joecon asked me who would suspend the Namfrel canvassing. Of course, I replied who else but you since you are the Namfrel chairman.
Joecon suspended the canvassing with the Cory majority standing at 75,000 votes. Joecon saved the day for the Opposition and me, otherwise if he failed or refused to do it, the sail of our argument that Cory won the elections would have been blasted into smithereens and the argument of the people would have lost ground, since people would be willing to die for justice, not for JPE and FVR.
With the suspension of the Namfrel count and its propaganda effects, FM should have arrested Joecon and told him to continue with the Namfrel canvassing which would have confirmed the results of the canvassing in the Parliament – that FM had won the elections.
Fifth, he should have allowed the original plan of the Marcos boys to proclaim FM as the duly elected President and Salvador “Doy” Laurel (DHL) as the elected Vice-President.
That way the election results would not have been contested by the Opposition. For how can anyone claim that the elections were not clean and honest when its Vice-Presidential candidate won the elections? This was the formula that the late Enrile Zobel (EZ) had in mind before the snap elections were held. EZ was preparing a peaceful formula of transition from the martial law regime to democratic restoration considering that DHL and the top UNIDO leaders would have paved the way for the establishment of real and meaningful democracy in the Philippines.
Many knowledgeable people credited First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos (Imelda for brevity) of having torpedoed the plan because it would have been difficult to get rid of DHL considering he was younger than Imelda. It would have been very easy to push aside MP Arturo Tolentino, the running mate of FM in the snap elections, because of his age. Imelda was determined to succeed Marcos as President, in the perception of people in the know, and considering her ambition, it was almost impossible for FM to intervene and frustrate Imelda’s plans.
Sixth, A group associated with FM had raised from 50 million to 100 million US dollars, in the words of then MP Edelmiro Amante (Edel for short), who was also a member of Congress and later Executive Secretary of FVR, and was used by the group to convince me and my family to leave for the United States of America, and for me to check in at the Walter Reed Hospital, the US Navy medical facility in Maryland, until the snap elections were over.
The offer appeared valid because FM was trying to persuade me to join him, praising me to high heavens in the process. I refused, of course. Then, my friend Edel requested me to see Imelda at the MacArthur Suite of the Manila Hotel, on Imelda’s request. As I believe in what Vice-President Emmanuel “Maning” Pelaez had told me a long time ago — that civility does not make you any less valiant–I showed up for the appointment. We talked and Imelda told me that since I could not join them, she and the President were requesting me to leave for the United States of America with me checking in at the Walter Reed Hospital in Maryland until the snap elections were over and I had the option to come back to the Philippines after the elections.
I told Imelda that I could not accede to their request because the people would not believe that I was sick and their conclusion the moment I do it would be that FM had bought me.
Imelda countered that since they were in control of media they would see to it that nothing of that kind would happen. I told her that my final decision is to preserve my integrity and my honor and that of my family. That decision strengthened the judgment of FM of me that I was an imponderable factor and it was senseless of them to bribe me, as he repeatedly told Secretary Antonio Raquiza that anyone who thought that I could be bought had an erroneous reading of my character. To be fair with FM and Imelda, they never mentioned money in their request for me to leave the country.
As Imelda told me, FM spent quite some time to study his opponents and me in particular.
I knew because FM was also a Sun Tzu student. Considering that I was irrepressible in the debates in Parliament, he must have arrived at the same conclusion that I could play a strategic role in the canvassing, in the same manner that he ordered Vice-President Pelaez not to have me proclaimed in the 1978 elections because he knew that I could debate anyone effectively in Parliament and win.
FM’s mistake is not to have me arrested when I refused to leave for the USA before the snap elections, for with me under arrest no one could have performed my role during the canvassing since everybody, except me, did not dispute the Opposition decision to boycott the canvassing from the very beginning. With me out of the way, how could the people have known the Opposition was cheated in the elections?
Sixth, FM’s biggest error was not to order the total demolition of JPE, FVR and their boys.
With JPE and FVR done in, everybody would not have converged in EDSA or would have scampered away for the hundreds who were there at the beginning, and the uprising would have been aborted. When you fight for the establishment of a new order, you cannot stay in a half way house. You have to damn all the torpedoes and totally ignore the possibility of collateral damage, in the same manner that Chairman Deng Xiaoping demolished the demonstrators at Tien An Men square.
FINAL STORY OF EDSA: I will write my conclusions on EDSA with specific reference to lessons learned and the personalities who betrayed agreements in my column next Thursday.