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Looking Back

New Year ’70 a happy one for Marcos

/ 05:28 AM January 03, 2018

I start a daily written record of my second term in office as President,” wrote Ferdinand Marcos on Malacañang stationery on Jan. 1, 1970. As a maker of history, he wanted to ensure he would be remembered in the best possible light.

“This [diary] will be kept in loose-leaf so that all kinds of materials may be attached to the binder,”  he wrote. What have come down to us, unfortunately, are only the handwritten entries without the supporting papers. It is hoped that these are still with the Presidential Commission on Good Government, the archive of which should be kept intact if and when the agency is dissolved.

New Year 1970 was a happy one for Marcos, who had survived a contentious election to win an unprecedented second term as president. As he began his second term he contemplated writing “a treatise on the elections of 1969 [to] be composed of my critique as well as the commentaries on the technique of victory.” So confident was he at this point that on Dec. 31, 1969, he “finally transferred all of my worldly possessions to the Filipino people through the Ferdinand E. Marcos Foundation.”

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“I have been planning this for many years but I felt that the beginning of my second term was the most propitious time,” he wrote. “This was a decision arrived at after a long deliberation and was not the result of pique, anger, despair or emotion—nor is it just a political stunt. I have no further political plans. And it seems a burden has been lifted from my shoulders.”

Marcos expected skepticism arising from his act: “The surprising thing is that the reaction of people seem to be of no consequence to me. It was a noble act waiting to be done. I feel I am above all the pettiness of men and I look down on them with some contempt but with a counterbalance of understanding.” Surely his patience wore thin as the negative press comment on his “donation” dragged on throughout the first quarter of 1970.

New Year 1970 was a happy one for Marcos, the icing on the cake being US Vice President Spiro Agnew and wife attending his inaugural and being house guests at the Palace. So the countdown to 1970 was spent with his children “trying out the Bocaue sparklers at the garden and fountain in front of the main [Palace] gate.” They were joined by Agnew who “tried a few sparkles himself before he went to bed.”

New Year 1971 was spent in Baguio and the tone in his diary was not as cheerful: “We are all preoccupied with plans for the new year—the venality and viciousness of the media and the arrogance and cupidity of the Senate; a tax-free shopping center in the International Airport; the rich in our society investing their money abroad or buying insurance by contributing to the radical societies.

“As I listen to the remarks about the infiltration of media and the need for a strong leadership I cannot but wonder inside me if the crucial hour of decision is not fast approaching when I must determine whether the irremediable step of martial law is the only course of action if we were to save our republic. But I am decided that there must be massive sabotage or an overt attempt to overthrow the government before I declare martial law. Thus the decision will be better understood and supported by the people and by foreign governments.

“I have been going through OPLAN Bukang Liwayway and I conclude it has to be refined. There must be the least rupture of government function but our orientation and philosophy must be completely altered. So instead of civil officials being commissioned in the Armed Forces, a Military Administration should be established under which the civil official could function with military overseas. But all judicial decisions and legislative acts should be subject to review by the Commander in Chief or his office.

“However, I am establishing immediately an Internal Security Agency and a Psy-war Office in the [Department of National Defense] to attend to the problems like officers and men in the [Armed Forces of the Philippines] with leftist leanings. This is one of the lessons we learn from the [Victor] Corpus incident. I am thankful for this in a way. Now we can clean up the AFP as I have always wanted to do without causing too much alarm.”

The only New Year diary entries are from 1970 to 1974 and a surly one in 1983 that mirror both the troubled times and its effect on Marcos.

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TAGS: Amberth R. Ocampo, Ferdinand Marcos, Looking Back, New Yeark 1970
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