posted on June 8, 2013 by Floyd Gumpal Buenavente
My goal in posting this (and more to follow soon) is to inform and educate future filipinos on the atrocities of Martial Law and to address the seeming mis-education of the youth that is rampantly spreading in social media. It is also to demistify the person sorrounding the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos whom people nowadays think of as a hero which I vehemently am against.
This is not to demean other people’s beliefs, this is to inform people about facts that happened under martial law. As such that they may be able to reconsider their beliefs, and be aware of the kind of regime that they thought served our country well. It is also not my goal to change marcos loyalists as there will always be one (even in my family) that still thinks Marcos as a hero. I just don’t want them spreading myths and mis-information by presenting facts and evidence as a means to enlightenment.
I welcome any discussion whatsoever as long as they are respectful and constructive.
“For a foreign head of state to attempt to bribe a congressional witness is unprecedented. The amazing story began a few months ago when Mijares walked out of Malacanang, the presidential Palace, after three years as Marcos’ confidant and progagandist.” Thus read a key portion of the widely-syndicated “Washington Merry-Go-Round” column of July 2, 1975.
How true it is that Washington, D.C. has always been a situs for airing, and even violent settlement, of disputes between opposing factions of certain foreign governments. It is a favorite hunting ground for foreign governments in their recruitment of American senators and congressmen who might be willing to make trips to their countries where the special guests could be wooed with wine, women and whatever. The general idea is to improve the attitude of U.S. solons towards a beleaguered foreign government which might be having a bad image in official Washington or in the U.S. mass media.
One of those established by Washington, D.C. observes as notorious for his massive lobbying campaign in the U.S. Capital was Dominican Dictator Rafael Trujillo who had earned such a bad image of corruption and repression in his country at one time. However, it has been reported that Trujillo’s bribery and entertainment in the homeland, and the highly effective representation made by his ambassador have also succeeded in bringing about an improvement of the Trujillo image in Washington, D.C. in another area of counter-lobbying in the U.S. capital, agents of opposing foreign interests have resorted to assassinations in pursuit of their objections.
One victim of such assassinations was Colonel Yosef Alon, military attaché of the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. who was gunned down on July 1, 1973, by a group of assailants who escaped by car in the Maryland area. The Voice of Palestine Radio in Cairo subsequently claimed that Alon had been executed by their agents in reprisal for an assassination a few days earlier of an alleged Palestinian Black September representative in Paris. Philippine lobbying in Washington, D.C. as well as its Trujil-lo-like penchant for wooing visiting American officials has not received much denunciatory notices from the U.S. press. Obviously, much more attention has been concentrated on the authoritarian government which President Marcos imposed in Manila on the eve of the conclusion of his constitutionally-allowable eight-year hold on the Philippine presidency.
It is a fact that the conjugal dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda in the Philippines is one of the more notorious lobbyists in Washington, D.C. there was even a time when a Philippines ambassador, now Leyte Gov. Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, a brother of Mrs. Marcos, resorted to adobo diplomacy by regularly distributing once a week to selected American senators and congressmen, and state department officials adobo to-go. When Mrs. Marcos heard about her ambassador-brother’s yeo-man intestinal diplomacy in Washington, D.C., she even sent Kokoy a Filipino cook to enable him to pursue and expand his adobo diplomacy. The duumvirate wielding the powers of government in Manila have not spared anything in going all-out to woo visiting dignitaries, especially those of the U.S. brand. Expenditures running into millions of dollars were unnecessarily incurred to put up a so-called “spontaneous” one-million crowd welcome for visiting President and Mrs. Gerald Ford in Manila; the money presumably coming from the $100 million foreign aid the United States doles out to the Philippines yearly. On one occasion in 1973, the conjugal leaders in Manila broke precedent by tendering a state dinner, an honor usually reserved for visiting ranking officials of foreign governments, for Washington Post Publisher Katherine Graham and a team of staff writers. But the wining and dining did not influence the Graham team; it wrote objectively on the Philippines situation with the same seriousness that the Washington Post has chronicled the story of the Nixon Watergate saga. When clippings of the Post’s were telexed to Malacanang, Mrs. Marcos ruefully stated that she and President Marcos obviously wasted their time, money and effort on the Graham team.
The lobbying by Marcos in Washington, D.C. and in Manila for his new Society among U.S. officials has not chalked up much success. Thus, he became more apprehensive when he learned that I, his former confidant, would “tell all” before a committee of the U.S. Congress. So, he tried on a new tack-a $100, 000-bribe offer. In a rare display of great interest and faith in the story of a foreign chief of state attempting to bribe a witness of the United States Congress, Jack Anderson agreed with his associate, Les Whitten, that a second column coming up on July 3, 1975, was in order. That follow-up “Washington Merry-Go-Round” column read thus:
“EX-AIDE REVEALS MARCOS’ CORRUPTION”
WASHINGTON- yesterday we reported that Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos offered a former confidant, Primitivo Mijares, a $50, 000 bribe not to tell the U.S. Congress what he knows about corruption in the Philippines. Today we can reveal the story that Marcos tried to cover up. It is another Watergate scandal, Philippine version-a story of high crimes and misdemeanors, ranging from abuse of power to misuse of government funds. The story is told in a 24-page memo, which Mijares submitted to the House International Organizations subcommittee. In the memo, he freely confesses his own dirty work for Marcos. the memo details how Marcos won reelection in 1969 using some of the same tactics that Richard Nixon picked up in 1972. Mijares describes the Marcos campaign as “the dirtiest election ever held in the Philippines.”
Marcos used “goons, guns and gold, ” his former confidant charges, to win the 1969 election. The strategy was to create an atmosphere of disturbance, which called for Marcos’ strong hand to control. The Philippine President, according to the memo, “had military personnel infiltrate the ranks of demonstrators to explode bombs in their midst and to instigate the demonstrators into committing acts of violence.”
Philippine air force infiltrators allegedly lobbed “heavy explosives in front of the (U.S.) consular offices, ” and “armed forces psychological warfare units’ conducted bombings on Manila’s water system, city hall and the bathroom of the Constitutional Convention.” The Violence was “Later blamed by Mr. Marcos on the Maoist People’s Army.”
The incidents that Marcos secretly encouraged, Mijares alleges, had their innocent victims. When a bomb exploded inside a department store, for example, “a family man who was buying a gift for a child observing its birthday was blown to bits.” A conscience-stricken police sergeant later confessed he had planted the bomb on superior orders, claims Mijares. To improve his press notices, Marcos allowed “heavy borrowings from the philippine Bank, ” according to the memo, so a toady could buy up a “media empire.” Allegedly the pro-Marcos media even collected “part of their salaries… from the President’s contingent fund.” These tactics worked so well, charges Mijares, that the reelected Marcos continued using them to take over dictatorial power. Under the Philippine constitution. Marcos was limited to two terms, but he had no intention of retiring. He continued to whip up a crisis fever. He staged “a supposed landing of combat weapons, ” for example, “along the coast of Digoyo.” Mijares claims the weapons were planted by “a special operations groups of trusted military men, ” but Marcos loudly blamed “a foreign power” and “Maoist guerrillas.” There was also a faked ambush, Mijares charges, involving a Philippine official’s car. By exploiting these incidents, Marcos had the country psychologically ready for his proclamation of martial law on September 21, 1972.
With a great show of benevolence, he proclaimed a so-called “smiling martial law.” He quickly restored order and gave the citizenry respite from turmoil. But he also closed down opposition newspaper and jailed recalcitrant editors and rivals. Marcos asked a Constitutional Convention to put a stamp of legitimacy upon his dictatorship. But when the delegates showed a little independence, the memo states, he “ caused the arrest and detention in military stockades of delegates” and “ bribed floor leaders of the convention with money and favors.” To make doubly sure the convention gave Marcos the powers he wanted, alleges Mijares, the results “were manufactured by a group headed by the President’s favorite brother-in-law, Gov. Benjamin Romualdez.”
Mijares had personal knowledge that the convention vote was rigged, he writes, because “ I was a member of that group.” Just as John Dean later confessed his role in the Nixon scandals, Mijares describes how he ordered the takeover of a newspaper, investigated an Associated Press reporter, prepared phony stories on revolutionaries and committed other outrages on Marcos’ orders. The Mijares memo then tells how Marcos’ military regime has gone absolutely corrupt.” The dictator parceled out to his cronies the licenses to smuggle in luxury goods and to smuggle out sugar, copra, lumber and cement, charges Mijares. Military supporters have been given fabulously lucrative rackets in Manila to run as they please, he adds.
Through front men, according to Mijares Marcos has taken over agricultural lands in Northern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. He also allegedly controls oil concessions, a huge export business, a free trade zone in Mariveles and even a claim on some buried World War II Japanese treasure in the Sierra Madre. Mijares also claims that Marcos has misused some of the $100 million in U.S. aid he gets each year. The greatest part of U.S. medical aid, for example, “goes to the United Drug Company, the biggest pharmaceutical firm in the country which is owned by a front man of the President, ” alleges the memo.
Yet the U.S. State Department, swears Mijares, has thwarted Marcos’ democratic opponents by supporting “the Philippine martial regime.” Alerted by the one-two punch delivered by the hard-hitting syndicated columnists Anderson and Whitten, major newspapers and news agencies in the United States and all over the world sought follow up stories on the expose from whatever quarters or sources they could. News agencies, notably the “Associated Press” and the “United Press International, ” flashed their follow up stories world-wide. Great interest in the follow up stories which anybody could supply was evinced particularly by the newspapers which carry the Anderson column.
Among the articles that came to our attention were those written by newsman Dan Gordon and newsperson Molly Burrell. Gordon’s front-page article in the Nevada State Journal is typical of the press coverage of the bribery expose. However interesting the story on Marcos’ reprehensible attempt to bribe a congressional witness turned out to be, there just wasn’t enough space in the columns of Anderson or in the news stories to cram the intimate and lurid details of the bribery episode, or the gory reasons for the dastardly attempt of a foreign chief of state to commit a federal crime on American soil.
I myself didn’t have enough time to tell the U.S. Congress earlier what I really had to tell about the dark night of totalitarianism that has engulfed my hapless country. I could do it in only eight pages of prepared testimony which I had to read hurriedly before the Fraser subcommittee, reserving the rest of my materials in a memorandum of 24 pages which I appended to my prepared statement. My opening statement read: I have come to call the attention of the United States Congress to what appears right now as just another Southeast Asia sore spot. This seemingly inconsequential trouble spot could, however, develop into the proportion of a Portugal gone Communist in the context of American’s global defense system. Before I go any further, I would like to express my appreciation to the members of this honorable committee for this rare privilege of being able to bare certain hitherto unknown facets of this Southeast Asian sore spot. It is about a dictatorial martial regime that has supplanted by paramount force the republican government of what once was pridefully known as the show window of American democracy in Asia.
I fancy myself here right now as speaking in behalf of my 45 million countrymen now groaning under the yoke of a ruthless dictator. The tyrant has clamped down a harsh authoritarian rule with the guns of martial law in a country that has enjoyed for 72 years the blessings of freedom under a democracy. Let me trace the origin and pattern of this new tyranny in Asia. On September 21, 1935, as established ‘beyond reasonable doubt” by a Philippine court, a young man-an expert rifle marksman by his own account-felled dead with a single rifle shot a reelected congressman. This happened less than two days after the reelected solon had defeated for the second time the father of this young man. Of course, the Supreme Court later acquitted this young man on a “technicality.” Thirty seven years to the day after that celebrated murder of a congressman, or on September 21, 1972, this same man, nearing the end of his second and last term as President of his country, having wisened to the ways of dictators Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Peron, and anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, with evident premeditation and long, methodical preparation, wielded a more powerful weapon-this time the entire armed forces of his country-and snuffed out, not just the life of one man, but the light of freedom from an entire nation by placing the Philippines under martial law. The martial regime, now turned corrupt, ruthless and tyrannical, is showing all the signs that have inexorably driven free nations to the communist tentacles.
The man who was condemned to life imprisonment by a trial court for the murder of his father’s political conqueror on Sept.21, 1935, and the man who must face a terrible verdict of history for killing democracy in the Philippines on Sept. 21, 1972, are one and the same man: Ferdinand E. Marcos.
How Mr. Marcos methodically plotted to kill democracy in the Philippines just because he did not want to be an ex-President at an early age (55), how he wielded the terrible guns of martial law to instill and maintain a pervasive climate of fear and repression, and how he continues to entrench himself in the presidential palace in a bid to reign for life and establish an imperial dynasty in the Philippines shall be the thrust of my testimony today. I was an unwitting tool in some of the plans of Mr. Marcos for the imposition of martial law. As a matter of fact, I was the first newspaperman to write the full story of the imposition of martial law 12 hours before its official announcement. I have access in advance to the original copies of the martial law proclamation and the first six General Orders issued by President Marcos. I subsequently became a willing tool in the execution of measures designed to stabilize the martial regime. I became a close confidant of President Marcos, at times performing the role of a Joseph Goebbels and wielding greater powers in the propaganda field than his own official Information Secretary. And I performed my duties faithfully until it dawned on me that what I was helping to get entrenched was not a regime of constitutional authoritarianism dedicated to the establish of law and order, and of a new society. I began to realize that it was nothing but an infamous design dedicated shamelessly to the establishment by the gun of an imperial dynasty in the Philippines. If I now take a strong position against the martial regime of Mr. Marcos, I do sense with the sense of outrage of one who has been so thoroughly betrayed. I was hoodwinked into supporting the imposition of martial law. It should not take any longer for the armed forces generals and other influential civil officials still supporting mr. Marcos to realize that they, too, are being hoodwinked.
The truth will soon come out, and history will vindicate me, that the reasons used by President Marcos in imposing martial law were deliberately manufactured by Mr. Marcos himself in a manner that makes Hitler a piker in his burning of the Reichstag. Initially, the Filipino people dutifully supported Mr. Marcos. we had no other choice. With a series of deliberately contrived crises that created a fearsome atmosphere of anarchy, Mr. Marcos made the people lapse into a state of paralysis; he made the terror stricken populace lose respect for duly-constituted authorities and confidence in the ability of democratic processes to maintain law and order. Then he wove a labored tale of national horror which he eventually enshrined as gospel truth in the martial law proclaimation (No. 1081).
We all went along with Mr. Marcos. we convinced ourselves that in a developing country, like the Philippines, with limited resources and great demands by the population on such resources, a firm authoritarian regime would be best equipped to bring about and maintain a program of development with an allocation of resources on the basis of priorities. While I went along with a martial regime, I never shook off my training of 22 years as a cynical newspaperman. As I walked the corridors of the constricted center of power in Malacanang, I utilized my cynically observant qualities. I began to discover after the first year of martial rule that the so-called program of building a New Society was nothing but an ill-disguised plan of Mr. Marcos to perpetuate himself, his wife and/or son, Ferdinand Jr., in power, by consolidating the political, military and economic resources of the country under his firm control. What is now being forced down the throats of Filipinos by the guns of martial law is a long studied, methodically prepared oriental Design to take over an entire country politically, militarily and economically for Mr. Marcos, his family and cronies, preparatory to setting up an empire in Southeast Asia. Originally, the empire was programmed to include a portion of the former British Crown Colony of North Borneo, now known as Sabah under the Federation of Malaysia. And to achieve his ends, President Marcos plotted to place his country under martial law as early as 1966, having decided then that he would win a reelection in 1969 “at all cost.”
Upon his imposition of martial law, he jailed all his political enemies and media critics, along with youth activists whose only crime was to ask the custodians of power to give them a better government, the professionals who dared support the militant youth, business tycoons who resisted attempts to gobble them up, on fabricated charges ranging from alleged subversion, economic opportunism to plotting the President’s assassination. Let me go into some specific areas of the martial rule:
Upon his assumption of the Presidency on Dec. 30, 1965, Mr. Marcos positioned himself for a long rule beyond the constitutionally allowable two-term tenure which should have ended on Dec.30, 1973. his master plan called for wining reelection in 1969 “at all cost, ” declaration of martial law “at least one year” before the expiration of his second and last term on Dec. 30, 1973, packing the Supreme Court and the defense establishment with his handpicked followers, capture of the local governments, and contriving crises after crises to justify a Marcos-led military putsch.
Having imposed martial law, Mr. Marcos ordered the arrest and detention without charges of his political opponents, business rivals, militant student and labor leaders, and media men; closed down the newspapers, radio and television stations; confiscated properties of political opponents and business rivals, proceeded to reallocate the entire resources of the country to just a few favored families. And sought to clothe his regime with a semblance of legality by extorting a new Constitution from a Convention then in session.
The martial regime is an authoritarian government gone absolutely corrupt.
The corruption of the martial regime is not confined to the insatiable acquisition of the country’s material resources, but extends to the exercise of power itself. Having proclaimed martial law, he proceeded to bribe, coerce and/or intimidate the Constitutional Convention members into drafting a new charter dictated by him. For lack of time, of as an after-thought, he then ordered the falsification of the journal of the Convention to insert “explanatory notes” by delegates for the hastily-prepared provisions considered vital to his constitutional dictatorship.
Realizing after testing the waters that the new Constitution would not be ratified in a regular plebiscite, Mr. Marcos cancelled the scheduled plebiscite and went the regular ways of dictators by submitting the charter to a so-called referendum.
The New Constitution, on which Mr. Marcos relies for the constitutionality of his regime and the legality of all its acts under martial law, was not validly ratified by the Filipino people. There was no referendum at all; the results cited by Mr. Marcos in declaring the ratification of the New Constitution were manufactured by a group that included your humble witness.
As the media confidant of Mr. Marcos, I orchestrated the reporting of stories on the referendum and other undertakings of the regime that were designed to stabilize the new government.
A dictatorial regime as it is, the martial government of Mr. Marcos has become all the more oppressive and corrupt in view of the meddling of his wife who has turned the martial regime into a conjugal dictatorship.
Aside from plundering an entire nation, the conjugal dictatorship is likewise misappropriating the various items of United States assistance (military, economic, cultural, etc.) to the Philippines to entrench itself in power and for personal glorification. Towards the end of my testimony, I will request the honorable chairman of the committee to allow me to submit a lengthy memorandum, complete with exhibits, containing detailed elucidations on the points I have raised in this opening statement. The committee will most probably be besieged by coached witnesses refuting my allegations and assailing my credibility. If anyone of them can make an honest claim that he has entered the presidential study room inside Malacanang without going through security and the appointments office, then he can speak with some competence. There are only six persons who may succed in calling me a liar by coming before this committee and testifying personally under oath. They are President Marcos, the First Lady, Gov. Romualdez, Secretary of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile, Presidential Executive Assistant Jacobo C. Clave and Presidential Assistant Guillermo C. de Vega.
Suffice it to say, at this point, that the faces of martial law I have pictured to the committee bring to mind a sharp repartee made by the leader of our independence movement, Don Manuel Luis Quezon, to a spokesman of the proposition to make the Philippines a state of the United States: “Better a government run like hell by Filipinos than a government run like heaven by Americans.” The United States could not, even if it wanted to, have given us a government Heaven but certainly a Filipino is now giving the Filipinos a government like hell. In the light of the foregoing, I respectfully suggest that, in aid of legislation, the committee take into account the following points:
Mr. Marcos is not a “de jure” President of the Philippines. He is a usurper, at best a “de facto” ruler, who holds power in a classic demonstration of a motto of China’s Mao Tse- Tung (whom Mr. Marcos had just visited) that “power flows from the barrel of a gun.”
Tha lack of a designed successor, or a provision in the New Constitution for orderly succession, in case of Mr. Marcos’ demise or removal from office, for whatever cause, gives investors in the Philippines, especially foreigners, no guarantee of stability.
The Marcos regime, having gone corrupt and betrayed the rising expectations of a weary people, may soon become easy prey to a real Communist conspiracy, which is allowed to flourish underground, while legitimate dissenting groups are mercilessly repressed.
The U.S. government cannot just fold its arms on the Philippines with which it has had a long tradition of friendship and history of tutelage in democracy. In the light of the traditional American policy of fighting its defensive wars outside the American continent, the Philippines becomes American’s special concern because it is a vital link in the U.S. world-wide defense network designed to keep wars away from American shores.
A Philippines gone Communist could present the U.S. with a problem on its defense arrangements similar to what is now the so-called Portugal Trojan horse.
Freedom-loving Filipinos desirous of overthrowing the dictatorial yoke of Mr. Marcos are stymied by the posture of support the state department has shown for the martial regime; various organized groups waiting for a clarion call to shed blood for the restoration of democracy in the Philippines are even more fearful that they might face American troops and arms from Clark Field, if they should take up arms to overthrow the Marcos regime. We are not even asking the United States to come to the aid of the freedom-yearning Filipinos and actively assist them in overthrowing a dictatorial regime. We want to restore democracy to our ravished country by our own resources, animated only by our unquenchable thirst for freedom. We only ask that the United States aside, state categorically that it does not, and will not, support a dictatorial regime that has by now all the hallmarks of an incipient Vietnam gone Communist.
The opening statement I read before the committee was, of course, only a capsule of the story of the terrible dark night of dictatorship that has devoured the republic of the Philippines, it was this story, so damaging to his claim of legitimacy as chief of state of the Republic of the Philippines, that president Marcos tried to prevent me from telling the American Congress and people
However, the bizarre bribery attempt made by President Marcos to silence me did not end with the first offer he made to me in Washington, D.C. on June 16, 1975. the bribe offer followed me all the way back to San Francisco, thereby establishing a second stage, or perhaps, a second criminal act, in the attempt of Dictator-President Marcos to stop me from talking about his martial regime. The first attempt involved an offer made to me by Marcos of a bribe amounting to $100, 000.00 as quid pro quo in the following manner:
1) $50, 000.00, if would withhold my scheduled testimony, or in the alternative, to tone down my said testimony, on the events leading up to the imposition, and during the first three years, of martial law in the Philippines, before the subcommittee on International Organizations; and
2) Another $50, 000.00, if l, upon compliance with the first condition, would leave the United States and reside in another country. Australia was suggested because I have a sister who reside in Perth, W. Australia. I rejected the offer and testified as scheduled at 2 pm on June 17, 1975, before the subcommittee on International Organizations, denouncing the one-man military dictatorship of Marcos in the strongest and most authoritative language yet used against Marcos in a forum where it really counted so much. I confided the bribe offer at about 8:30 a.m. on June 17, 1975, to San Francisco lawyer Gerald N. Hill; to John Salzberg, staff consultant of the subcommittee on International Organizations at about 11 a.m. on June 18, 1975; to Les Whitten, an associate of columnist Jack Anderson, at about 5 p.m. on June 18, 1975; and to Abelardo “Al”Valencia in Washington, D.C. at about midnight of June 16, 1975. the second stage, or perhaps the second criminal act involved in this bizarre case, developed when columnists Anderson and Whitten, the meticulous and exhaustive investigative reporters that they are, started looking into the bribe offer themselves on June 26, 1975. the columnists’ investigations, which included telephone calls to the Philippine consulate General in San Francisco must have somehow alerted Ambassador Alconcel to a forthcoming column of Anderson. Evidently in panic, Alconcel obtained clearance from President Marcso to offer me the lump of $100, 000 on the following conditions:
1) That I would Immediately leave for Australia;
2) That I would desist from publishing my book on martial law; and
3) that I would repudiate the testimony I have given before the House committee, disown the Jack Anderson columns and all other press statements or public pronouncements I may have made after my defection on Feb. 20, 1975. An affidavit embodying the conditions sought to be imposed on me in exchange for the $100, 000.00 was drafted and prepared by Ambassador Alconcel, presumably at the Philippine Consulate General on Sutter Street in San Francisco, on a consulate typewriter, and delivered to me on June 26, 1975, by an employe of the Consulate, Crispin Padagas. Pieced together, the activities into which Alconcel dedicated himself upon direct instructions from President Marcos constituted a brazen attempt by a tinhorn Asian dictator to tamper with sacred and hallowed American institutions, i.e. seeking to prevent or pervert the testimony of a congressional witness. This incident came at a time when the policy-making branch of the United States government had decided to initiate an inquiry into the wisdom of the U.S. government’s continuing pouring of millions of U.S. taxpayer money in the form of foreign aid to unstable dictatorial regimes in Southeast Asia.
This was necessitated by the debacle in South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos which required the sacrifices of 56, 000 Americans killed and 500, 000 others wounded, not to mention the $200 billion in money and war material into that lengthy war.
President Marcos realized perhaps belatedly that the Fraser committee hearing would learn for the first time the gory details of his dastardly act of betrayal of democracy in the Philippines when he placed my country under martial law on September 21, 1972. he tried bribery to stop me. Lately, he has come out with a denial of the bribery attempts.
Res ipsa loquitor. This is a Latin principle of law which states that the “thing speaks for itself.” A check for $50, 000.00, drawn by the Philippine National BankAgency in San Francisco in favor of Alconcel, on June 17, 1975, and deposited jointly in a savings account in Alconcel’s name and mine with the Lloyds Bank California main branch in San Francisco, also on the same day, which was the day I was to testify on the Philippine Watergate. The day after I testified, or on June 18, Alconcel returned to the bank and cancelled my name from the joint account. These undeniable events constitute the “res” or the “thing.” I call it the “smoking gun.” Just how the “smoking gun” was discovered is a matter that one may say was a providential happening. I reported it to the Fraser committee in this manner in articles 12, 13, 14, and 21, of my July 10 affidavit:
that, upon my return to San Francisco, I immediately inquired about the “bribe money” from my sources, particularly, with the Philippine National Bank which would be the logical instruments for such a transaction from the Philippines. Luckily, I discovered that during the first banking hour of June 17, 1975, on the day I was to testify, the Philippine National Bank had feverish activity relating to the rush issuance of a Fifty thousand Dollar ($50, 000.00) check in favor of Ambassador Trinidad Q. Alconcel, the consul General of the Philippines in San Francisco. My sources, however, could not tell me what Ambassador Alconcel did with the check. However, I was also informed that all transactions with the Philippine National Bank are being facilitated by three correspondent banks in San Francisco, namely, Wells Fargo Bank, First Western Bank and Lloyds Bank of California.
That, on the basis of the information I had gathered, I started checking by telephone with Wells Fargo Bank, and then with the First Western Bank if any transaction of $50, 000.00 involving myself was recorded by them. I was given by both banks a negative answer.
That, when I checked with the Lloyds Bank of California, the person who answered my telephone inquiry was a certain Mr. Roger Pahl, who, luckily for me, was the very same person who handled the transaction of Ambassador Alconcel. Mr. Pahl informed me that at an early banking hour on June 17, 1975, a person who identified himself as Ambassador Trinidad Q. Alconcel opened a savings account jointly in his name and my name for the sum of FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($50,000.00). the number of the Savings account was 0660-46062. the corresponding deposit slip was made in both our names for the full amount. When asked where I was so that I could sign the signature card of the bank, Ambassador Alconcel reportedly told Mr. Pahl that I was out of the country. Mr. Pahl then informed me that the following day, June 18, 1975 the same person, Ambassador Alconcel, went to the bank again, and changed the name of our joint account to his own name alone. The account number of the savings Deposit was changed to no. 0662-46063.
21. That, at about 3 p.m.on July 1, after preliminary contact with the Lloyds Bank of California, I was accompanied by my lawyer, Attorney Gerald N. Hill, and Alex A. Esclamado, Publisher and editor-in-chief of the Philippine news, to the Lloyds Bank of California office at 201 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, in order to personally inquire about the circumstances surrounding Alconcel’s $50,000.00 transaction. Then and there, we were able to discuss the matter with the bank’s Operations officer, Mr. Jerry R. Stanton, from whom we got the following information:
a) That early in the morning of June 17, 1975, Ambassador Trinidad Q. Alconcel brought a Philippine National Bank, San Francisco Agency Check No. 4905 dated June 17, 1975, for the sum of FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($50,000.00) payable to “Ambassador Trinidad Q. Alconcel”. A xerox copy of its face is attached hereto as Annex “E” the check was deposited to a Savings Account which was opened in the name of Trinidad Q. Alconcel and Primitivo Mijares. The number of the Savings Account was 0662-4606. a xerox copy of the original deposit slip, bank form No. S-150 (09-74) is attached hereto and marked as Annex “F”.
B) That, the Philippine National Bank check was endorsed on the back as follows: “PAY TO THE LLOYDS BANK CALIFORNIA FOR DEPOSIT TO SAVINGS ACCOUNT NO. 0660-46063 IN THE NAME OF PRIMITIVO MIJARES” (SIGNED) TRINIDAD Q. ALCONCEL. A Xerox copy of the signed endorsement is attached hereto and marked as Annex “G”.
C) That, the following day, June 18 1975, Ambassador Alconcel went to the samebank and at the time the account name was changed to the sole name of “ALCONCEL, TRINIDAD Q.” A Universal Credit slip stamped “Substitute, ” was executed for the sum of $50, 000.00 A Xerox copy of the form is hereto attached as Annex “H”.
D) That, Mr. Stanton could not find in the records any other signature card with the joint account name of “Trinidad Q. Alconcel and Primitivo Mijares”. Stanton indicated that if there was any signature card bearing the joint name aforementioned, that he has no knowledge as to what happened to it. Mr. Stanton further started that the reason for the two account numbers was a mistake of the clerk who handled the transaction.
e) That, the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($50,000.00)
is still in deposit with the Lloyds Bank of California 201 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, in the personal name of Trinidad Q. Alconcel. However, Mr. Stanton informed me that I have no right to stop any transactions on the account because my signature does not appear on the corresponding signature card and that, based on the nature of the endorsement on the back of the check, the amount can be withdrawn by Ambassador Alconcel at any time.
The attempt of President Marcos, through his most trusted presidential assistant and his consul general in San Francisco, to bribe me out of the congressional committee witness stand and then out of the United States of America was more than just a case of obstruction of the American system of justice by a foreign chief of state beyond the territory of his dictatorship. It is in truth and in fact a dastardly attempt by a tinhorn Asian dictator to extend the dirty and ugly hands of Marcos’ dictatorial martial regime into the heartland of freedom-loving America. Obviously, Marcos, heady over the relative ease by which he had seized power in Manila, wanted to test a new political theory, the nomenclature by which he describes all steps he undertakes against the grain of democracy. He wanted to test a new political theory that he could tamper with sacred and hallowed American institutions from the seat of his military regime in Manila by obstructing the proceedings of an investigation by a proper committee of the United States Congress.
In Malacanang, he rules with an iron-hand, secured in the thought that he had already successfully tampered anyway with an institution of democracy which the United States had painstakingly set up for almost half a century in Asia by his imposition of martial law in the Philippines in 1972. the other apparent objective of Marcos in offering me a handsome bribe was to silence the opposition set up by overseas Filipinos to the despotic military rule that has engulfed the Philippines. Marcos’ objectives are quite understandable considering the stakes involved, his crime in trying to buy me out of the house committee hearing not having been his first any way against democracy. The most merciful thing that might be said about the bribe attempts is that Marcos simply wanted to stop me from giving the damaging testimony that I gave to the Fraser committee.
Marcos has never failed before; he figured neither the risk that I just might reject his bribe nor the dire consequences that would ensue from his failure to make me shy away from the committee hearing. After all, Marcos and other past Philippine Presidents have always had their way with mother America; US Aid in terms of millions of dollars squeezed out of the hard-working American taxpayers regularly come almost as a matter of course. Thus, when Marcos proclaimed martial law in the Philippines, he took it for granted that his military dictatorship, nicknamed the New Society, could undertake, as had his pre-martial law administration as well as others before him, activities that earn Washington’s condemnation, if committed by governments other than that of America’s former ward in Asia. It seems that Marcos hasn’t realized that the rules of the game have already been changed. He himself changed the rules by which he should by handled in the United States when he proclaimed martial law in the Philippines; Marcos discarded the institution of democratic fair play and humane conduct by which the delicate art of government should be pursued. His very move was one of the underlying reasons for the decision of the United State Congress to conduct an inquiry into the U.S. foreign assistant program, including the dole out of millions of dollars to the Philippines; the US Congress wanted to determine the wisdom of pumping millions of American taxpayer money into authoritarian regimes that go against the very objective of foreign assistance, which is the expansion of the frontiers of freedom and democracy all over the world. It was Marcos’ own conduct of an oppressive and rapacious authoritarian government that made renounce a rule of doggish, loyal service to him. He had the gall nevertheless to assume that I was still his man whom he could keep away from a congressional witness stand with a bribe offer. Now, other rules are changing for Marcos. the United States government has decided to investigate the bribe.
The attempt to silence me, and the later attempt to make me recant my congressional testimony, were not the first of acts of similar nature committed by the martial government of Marcos by way of exportation of martial law to the United States. The exportation of Marcos’ martial law has an altogether different objective from the exportation made by Fidel Castro of his Cuban revolution. Marcos’ main desire is to silence criticisms and opposition abroad by both Filipinos and friends of the Filipino people in order to minimize possible alarm that might be raised by foreign governments, particularly the United States, over the repression and plunder that the military regime has launched in the Philippines.
The Manila government has prepared a “blacklist” of Filipinos residing in the United States who cannot return to the Philippines without being subjected to reprisals for their anti-martial law activities. Pictures of these “blacklisted” persons ae posted at every point of entry in the Philippines, including Clark Air Force base, so that they can be seized and detained anytime they land in the Philippines. The list includes American citizens of Filipino descent. Even the so-called “balikbayan” program, which was launched by the martial regime to induce Filipinos abroad to visit their homeland, is part of the over-all program of the regime to conceal the Philippine Watergate; it has not really boosted the Philippines’ dollar reserves as claimed by Tourism Secretary Jose D. Aspiras.
Marcos also exports his martial law to the United States through the vehicle of a well-oiled propaganda apparatus. Wherever possible, Marcos or his minions summon relatives of “blacklisted” Filipinos to Manila and order them to write their kins in the United States to stop their activities against, or their criticisms of, martial law in the Philippines. The Manila regime has not hesitated to crack down on news organs of Filipinos which have been critical of the dictatorship. The glaring example is the pressure applied by President Marcos on the Filipino-owned travel agencies, which are raking in on the “balikbayan” project, to withdraw their advertising from the Philippine news and shift them to the Propaganda organs operated by Gov. Benjamen “Kokoy” Romualdez in the United States.
The shenanigans that President Marcos would still resort to in order to insure the stability and long duration of his authoritarian regime in the Philippines are still inconceivable, but, considering his satanic record and infinite capacity for diabolical cunning, I expect him to go to great lengths. The stakes are so high and are still escalating for Marcos to leave anything to the normal behavior of a man. The stakes in his New society could even involve his own neck and those of the persons collaborating with him, including the diamond-studded neck of Imelda whose wrinkles have been stretched a la “Ash Wednesday.”
Marcos already made a dastardly attempt to shield from the American government and people the Machiavellian design for his infamous power-grab in the Philippines when he sought to offer me a bribe to keep me out of a House committee hearing. His bribe offer appears so reprehensible when one takes note of the fact that Marcos did it to conceal the gory ways by which he went about dismantling the apparatus of a democratic government set up by the United States in Asia; it becomes specially condemnable considering that the bribe offer constitutes an attempt by a tinhorn Asian dictator to tamper with sacred and hallowed American institutions; it sounds so alarming when the fact emerges that it was done on the eve of the celebration by the United States of America of the bicentennial of the launching of the first great American experiment in democracy. To my mind, it betrayed Marcos’ utter contempt for the principles of democracy, which he dismantled in the Philippines, whether they be established in the Philippines, in the United States of America or anywhere else.
The attempt to tamper with a congressional hearing in the U.S. was Marcos’ contemptuous way of saying, “Happy Birthday, America!’’ it was his assail to to Mother America.
In my own case, Marcos has not spared any lie to hit back at me because I told the truth about his authoritarian regime before the U.S. Congress. Only Lucifer knows what other schemes Marcos would come up with next to denigrate my efforts at contributing to the cause of restoration of democracy in the Philippines.
However, Marcos cannot stop my irreversible course. I made an appointment with history when I defected from Marcos’ regime, and I kept my date with an important chapter of Philippine history when I testified before the Fraser committee. I will continue to honor my commitment to history, and specifically to the journalistic profession in that, having fortunately or unfortunately walked the corridors of power during a dark hour in the life of my country and having been privy to the sinister manipulations of a scheming man and his more ambitious wife, I would perpetuate my knowledge and observations on this abominable chapter in the history of my country
5. This is Spanish word adapted into the Filipino language to mean a party given as a surprise to a person on the eve of his birthday.
6. it was a matter of common knowledge in Manila before September 21, 1972, that Congressman Carmelo Z. Barbero used to swear upon a stack of Bibles (Douay version) that Marcos operates by the “book of Satan.”