U.S. Secret Service Agent in the Jan 26 rally?

February 2, 2010

Part of the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the public hearing conducted by the Joint Senate-House Special Committee to Investigate Demonstrations on March 3, 1970, at 2:50 p.m., Senate Session Hall, Manila.

Members of the UP faculty, led by Pres. Salvador P. Lopez, were in attendance. An interesting part of the hearing was the comment made by Prof. Hernando Abaya on “the presence of some US Secret Service agents in the January 26 rally.”  This was the exchange between Sen. Lorenzo Tañada (chairman), Prof. Abaya, and Sen. Helena Benitez (committee member).

Mr. Abaya: In this connection, may I say something?

Chairman Tañada: Professor Abaya.

Mr. Abaya: I made a notation of this particular event. The date it happened.

Chairman Tañada: What are you reading?

Mr. Abaya: This is a reference to my book, The Actual Philippine Story.

Chairman Tañada: That is right.

Mr. Abaya: And, this is based on an actual experience on that night. One of the students, who is my student in the university, showed me a copy, you know the copy from the AP, Associated Press, the raw copy before it is… You know the ones you take from the tele-type. You know the tele-type?

Chairman Tañada: Yes.

Mr. Abaya:  …this was a tele-type copy. The tele-type copy was a story by a staff member of the Associated Press Peter Olafin, who reported, I have the quote here, I have my book here, it is based on that…

Chairman Tañada: Page?

Mr. Abaya: Page 320. An AP Correspondent Peter Clafin, reported that US Secret Service agents, in barong, gave orders to the Manila Police riot squads, to go get them. And, they charged the two thousand chanting demonstrators, unleasing tensions, shooting at 45-degree angle, pushing the crowd back with guns, menacingly pointed at eye-level at the students. Now, I read that one-page tele-type report. But surprisingly, that was by an AP correspondent. It was never published in any newspaper in Manila. Although, every newspaper in Manila is a subscriber of the AP.

Chairman Tañada: That is fine. But, just as a reaction, don’t you think that that incident, that you report in your book, is more evidence of subservience, than being part of a pattern?

Mr. Abaya: Well, I think in the course of the…

Chairman Tañada:  …subservience and interference?

Mr. Abaya: That is covered in those items…

Chairman Tañada: No, I am only reacting, now…

Sen. Benitez: In that connection, can I just ask Professor Abaya: Was this AP report published or accepted in the United States? Do you kow of…

Mr. Abaya: ..whether it was published in the States?

Sen. Benitez: Yes.

Mr. Abaya: I would assume, Madam Senator.

Sen. Benitez: But you have no proof?

Mr. Abaya: I don’t know if this was published but I would assume that this was published…

Sen. Benitez: It is of interest to us to know…

Mr. Abaya:  Because this correspondent Peter Olafin is well-known as a correspondent.

Sen. Benitez: But you have not received a return for it?

Mr. Abaya: Well, I do not follow these things.

Sen. Benitez: Because it will also give us a clue on whether…

Mr. Abaya: But we can check it up with the AP.

Sen. Benitez: Yes, I for one will appreciate that. You could just…

Mr. Abaya: I think, if the committee can ask, can send a letter to the AP manager in Manila, I think you can get these things traced.

Sen. Benitez: Alright, thank you. #

The presence of Americans in the demo, with one of them shown on left, leaves many wondering if the CIA or say other American agency is involved in the riot. STM, Feb 15 1970, p 20.


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