Archive for the ‘30 January 1970’ Category

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A Bucket for the Fire

February 19, 2010

By Monina A. Mercado

First published in her column, It’s a Long Story,  in Graphic, March 4, 1970, p. 18

When a conventful of nuns in Makati, listening over the radio to the progress of the January 30 street battle, concluded that their enclave would probably be besieged next, they reportedly filled buckets of water to put out whatever fires are set in their house and exclusive school. That done, they then barricaded themselves in fearful prayer inside the chapel.

Their experience, told by the nuns themselves in all naivete to their students, has leaped over the convent walls, to be told and retold in varying degrees of amusement — but how very typical of prissy old maids — and yet also of saddened realization. What have these nuns to fear — they of supposedly great faith — unless they harbor some knowledge of a part in the provocation of this unrest? (For it seems that this detonation of protest in the streets has begun to flush out into the light those every time a demonstration is announced in the papers.)

There is little escape nowadays from the social talk that often begins thusly, O rebolusyon na ba? The poor little old man who weeds my garden asks the question each time. The air conditioning maintenance man could not resist the query. My favorite glamour girl asks the same question in between stirring the mahjong pichas. And the children ask when the television set is turned on demonstrations if they are burning Malacañang again — it so looked that way when the bonfires flared last January 30.

In these times, we react with what we are and what we have. Passports are ready for those who have the wherewithal — “For the sake of the children,” they always say. Those who do not have to stay have left or are definitely leaving. Some Jews who are in business are reportedly selling out and evacuating Forbes Park homes for Brooklyn and the Bronx. A group of European nuns is in the process of relinquishing the administration and management of their girls’ school to make their departure date in the early summer.

A move to the province is contemplated by those who have roots far from Manila or Central Luzon. There is suddenly some solace in a bucolic town one tolerates on a visit, but never as a home.

Last summer, we spent two weeks in a tiny town in Misamis Oriental where all the big paths that are called streets end in the sea, where colts and mares graze on the plaza green, where meals are malunggay plucked from the bush and fish scooped up from the sea down the street, where nighttime illumination comes from gas lamps and sometimes the moon — and suddenly those 14 days, which seemed a drag then, now mean a probable future, a feasible alternative.

Yes, we meet friends in the grocery stores, buying more than the week’s supply of canned necessities. “I do this each time a demonstration is scheduled,” admitted an old school friend. “I feel silly, selfish, mad even, but if something happens I will never forgive myself.”

There are some families who have stockpiled medicine and some who keep extra supply of water. There are even families with a blueprint for evacuation — a designated place where to gather, a signified place of refuge, some means of communication should telephone wires be cut and streets barricaded.

What grim landscapes and fearful imagination paints, what even more grim humor the uneasy mind conjures. “Swim now,” said someone in a Sunday swimming party. “Who knows there may even be no water to drink tomorrow.”

Meanwhile the pockets of reasonable reaction, being undramatic, could slip by unnoticed and unappreciated. Some schools have suspended classes for teach-ins, some sort of one-two-three primer on issues of the day — “So that,” one professor said grimly, “if our students are clobbered on the head or hit by stray bullets, they’ll know why and what for.”

Other groups have taken up the teach-in — there are now teach-ins for parents, for neighborhood associations, even counter-teach-ins, I hear, for Central Luzon peasants to be conducted by college boys from Catholic schools. And then there are talkins — over the phone, across the fence, at dinner parties, in buses and beauty parlors. We are suddenly un-shy and voluble, the words and phrases springing at last with discovered meanings — “alternative for existing leadership,” “textbook for anarchy,” “the pressure of the silent majority,” “non-violence as a ploy for public sympathy,” “the Maoist line in Philippine context” and so on. We are reading, asking, watching. We are plucking the stranger’s sleeve to ask for his word, touching the young one’s hand to understand his pulse and hesitating here to restrain him.

Worrying and hoping, praising and criticizing, running away or staying put, we are at last involved. We are thinking and caring. And this could be, after all, our bucket of water to match whatever fires.#

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Subversion from Left and Right

February 19, 2010

To Topple the Government

By Ernesto M. Macatuno

First published in The Sunday Times Magazine, March 1, 1970, p. 18-19

Hours after the bloody January 30 demonstration, President Marcos was reported to ponder in his study in Malacañang the explosive situation in the schools and streets. One would presume that in assessing the situation, the President could have asked: “Who are our enemies?”

For it was quite obvious that whoever fomented the violence that turned the demonstration into a riot, was no friend of the President and the government. whatever the group, as it could only be presumed to be the working of not one, not a few but quite a number of inciting persons, the students into violence and later into frontal clash with the police and military, highlighted by an actual assault on Malacañang itself, was, call it by any name, a pure act subversion.

Viewing thus the damage wrought on Malacañang after it had been cleared of the student demonstrators, the President, had he said this to be an act of the enemy of the state, had ample reason to say so. So that President Marcos, going on TV the day after the January 30 demo, told the people that the demo was “a revolt by local Maoist communists whose immediate objective was the takeover or destruction of Malacañang.”

So there it was: The Maoists, as usual, caused it all.

But did they? Or were they alone?

Had this been the case, the problem of the government could have been greatly simplified. The cause or root of the problem—the so-called Maoists— having been pinpointed, it was but a matter of small recourse to have them isolated.

Tension mounts

But, as days went by and tension mounted, the government found out that the cause of the violence that attended the January demos was not, could not be, the sole handiwork of the homegrown Maoist communists.

As it was, everybody wanted to get into the act, so to speak. Not only the homegrown Maoists, but also other sectors, other groups used, exploited, rode on the wave of student unrest so that their aims which are noble and otherwise, could be heard and listened to and acted on by Malacañang.

On one side was a demand from the government that it take measures for a non-partisan (which eventually had to include a non-sectarian) Constitutional Convention. This product of exasperation over the excessive politicking in the government, by itself, could not have caused the conflagration that were the demos. But such a demand, using the student demonstrations as forum, had, taken at such a time when other groups, for reasons of their own, were also exploiting these student demonstrations, added fuel to the fire that almost gobbled up Malacañang.

On another side were the Americans and their vested interests in the country that have to be protected from the onslaughts of Philippine nationalism. By adding fuel to the student unrest with its resultant tension, anxiety and probable anarchy, these interests could weaken the position of the government and, among other things, parley concessions from it. Although this has not been officially confirmed and probably will never be officially confirmed by the government, such American participation in the student demos was alluded to by President Marcos himself when he said that, aside from the usual scapegoats — the Maoists— there also were “noncommunist” groups exploiting this explosive situation.

The student groups were quick to follow the President’s statement on this “non-communist threat” to the government. They even went further. As one student leader, Fernando T. Barican, president of the UP Student Council, said in effect, “the Americans want to use the student unrest to topple down Marcos and institute a military junta government similar to the juntas in Indonesia, Korea, Vietnam, Latin American and elsewhere.”

Military role

With the exposure of the Rightist involvement in the demos, the role of the military in the country became of great concern. Whatever it would do in this period was more worrisome than the threat from the Left.

The military was unhesitating on where its loyalty lay. The sentiment of the military was voiced out by Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Manual Yan who said, “We are sworn to uphold the constitution. We shall resist every move to subvert the government — whether that move would come from the Right or the Left.”

As far as the military is concerned, Gen. Yan said, “it is immaterial where the threat of subversion comes from—whether from Left or Right— the military will check it.”

Having been assured that he could count on this strong counterrevolutionary force to defend the government, President Marcos declared that things since the January 30 demo “had gone back to normal.” But again, rumors floated that the military itself is not that solid, that it is permeated with officers of dubious loyalty because of their reported attachment to foreign groups like the CIA. Again, it was Gen. Yan who, although professing no knowledge of this, made assurances that “any officer found to be working for any Rightist subversive group shall be severely dealt with.”

On the other front, reports continue to mount that the military arm of the Left has been gathering forces, and that the Huks in Tarlac and Pampanga were ready to go down to Manila and agitate the student demonstrators to commit widespread violence.

“The military is taking a close look at the Huk activities,” Gen Yan said. “The subversive elements have been identified…” but will not be publicly known for reasons of security.

Assuring further the populace that all is under control and that the rumors on subversion probably result from merely a bad case of jitters, Gen. Yan said: “Rest assured that (as of this writing) the government is prepared to cope with these sorts of crises and national emergencies like the student unrest and Red infiltration, all cropping up at the same time…”

So be it. #

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The Student in the Rally

February 19, 2010

By Gloria G. Goloy

Published in The Sunday Times Magazine, March 1, 1970

Try standing under a blistering 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. sun until two or three hours later and then walk all the way from Congress to Malacañang feeling hungry, thirsty, and tired, and you will realize that the student who takes part in demonstrations isn’t having fun playing hookey.

Physical discomfort is what he gets from being involved. The rally, whether it takes place in the morning or in the afternoon is all heat and dust and fatigue, the sum total of which reduces to negligible proportions whatever levity or fun there is for him in this “adventure” outside the school. Against that, even the prospect of escaping classroom boredom and recitation jitters is a weak alternative. Only the incorrigibly indifferent student would resort to the rally merely to evade these traditional student hazards.

Certainly, therefore, not heat, nor thirst, nor fatigue — not to mention the knowledge that his participation is lost to anonymity in the rally crowd — can deter the student from the strategy of the streets. For if at all, the ordeal he goes through one rally should be sufficient to discourage him from joining another, and another, and still another. But developments indicate that, the combination of deterrents notwithstanding, the rallyists have grown in numbers.

A most unusual phenomenon, no doubt. For youth is impatient, youth is impertinent, and the rally, however impressive, does not guarantee immediate repercussions. Each individual student who takes part in this collective activity contributes to the incredible proof that the young can stretch his patience beyond more than just one rally. A kind of hopeful patience, it must be stressed now, so unlike the apathetic patience of their elders.

The incredible is all the more to be wondered at because the student’s participation in today’s rally accrues to him benefits and gains which he does not immediately reap. The triumphs of a rally are of long-range effect spread out over the years. Very often, their significance and import can begin to assume real and tangible proportions only long after the last hurrah shall have echoed away from the contemporary scene.

So, why then does the student join the rally? The manifestoes he and his fellow rallyists brandish say so in so many words.

To protest against base killings. To call down congressmen for their excessive allowances. To argue about bases agreements. To dispute the country’s involvement in the Vietnam war. To press for speedy and efficacious measures for land reform. To agitate for a non-partisan constitutional convention. And lately, as an aftermath of the bloody demonstrations, to denounce police brutality.

Big issues all. Issues the average adult may not be conversant with but about which the young is familiar as a result of frequent discussions in school. Issues that lend themselves easily to the idealism of the young, to their restless hankering for change, to their call for action. Here and Now.

All of which boil down to one thing: love of country.

The sentiment rode the wave of feeling during that Friday rally in front of Congress. Vaguely yet vastly, it settled on that gathering of young men boldly keeping pace with one another, holding aloft angry-worded placards. One sensed it on the anxious faces of those who looked up in the direction of the building, watchful for cues to respond to. One felt it in the intensity with which each speaker launched into his harangue and the equal intensity with which he was lustily cheered and applauded.

The sentiment was most particularly felt each time the crowd sang the National Anthem, for once, meaningful and relevant as a battle cry. The last two lines rang loudest and clearest with the bravado of the Friday rallyists who vowed:

“Aming ligaya,

na pag may mang-appi,

ANG MA-MA-TAY NANG DA-HIL SA I-YO!”

Within twelve hours, four of the students in that rally were beyond the physical encumbrances of heat and hunger and thirst and fatigue. #

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Parallels

February 19, 2010

By Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil

First published in her column, Consensus of One, in The Sunday Times Magazine,  March 8, 1970, p. 23

President Marcos’ use of the word insurrection in his TV talk after the riot of 30 January has set me building up parallels. It is a word that was probably last used — by the government that suppressed them—on the Sakdalistas of the Thirties, the peasants and farmers who decided to use bullets to give impact to their social accusations (sakdal). Before that it was used to designate the Philippine-American War of 1898 by those who won it and to this day, Filipino scholars still call the records of that war, the Insurrecto Papers, although they are careful to make the quotation marks audible in their voices.

Insurrection is a tricky word, to say the least. While editing historical calendars, articles and monographs, I wear out lots of blue pencil and elbow grease crossing it out and replacing it with revolutionaries or the Filipino forces.

Much of Philippine history was written during the American regime, or rather while we were still under the influence of that pupilage and the cliches of thought and word continue with an inertia of their own to inflict themselves on us today. The most pedestrian historical researcher or writer should know that, perhaps to be polite, we put up with that word insurrecto, but now that the Americans are gone (theoretically?) we should do it our way and call every Filipino revolutionary or soldier by his right name. One of the results of political change is, inevitably the rewriting of history or, at least, the adoption of a new vocabulary.

The point I am trying to make is: when the history of the youth movement of 1970 is written, what will it be called? What we call it now — the demonstrations? Or Marcos’ Insurrection? Or perhaps, the Democratic Revolution? Even more important — for history is written by the victors or by those who endure and overcome— who will be writing that history?

Already a friend has asked me, “Do you think this is the second Philippine Revolution? If so, which one is Bonifacio?”

“Dante or Amado Guerrero?” I said, playing the game. “I don’t know. Perhaps General Yan or General Garcia? Or some obscure boy in the slums who reads Lenin by lamplight and whose name we don’t even know?”

But it is not just a wry historical game. The parallels between that time and this include many items that are in dead earnest: the confrontation with social reality, for instance, the fine rage against injustice and the hidden personal struggles. Even from this vantage point Bonifacio and Commander Dante or General Yan do share a certain vulnerability and a suspicion of corruption that has been brought about by an initial success.

Then who is the modern Rizal—the pride of his people, the innocent, moral man whose vision fails in the end? Magsaysay? Recto? Or Manglapus? It depends what the outcome will be, as I said, and who will be writing history.

Is Emilio Jacinto to be Chito Sta. Romana of De La Salle, the Manila mestizo all over again, brilliant, articulate and far out? Or Edgar Jopson the Ateneo moderate, the logical and calculating organization man?

Is Apolinario Mabini, Pastelero or Barican of the University of the Philippines with their sedition charges and their carefully reasoned political-sciences stance?

Is today’s del Pilar the boy who rammed the fire truck into the Malacañang gate? Or some Metrocom hero? Are the young men who died at Mendiola going to be called Ang Anim na Martir and will future generations lay wreaths on the spot where they fell? Or will they be exorcised and forgotten as completely as the Sakdalistas?

One thing is certain, the modern “propaganda movement” will be represented by Jose Lansang, J. V. Cruz, Renato Constantino and other writers of the Left— or —Messrs. Mata, Jurado, Querol, Lachica and Melchor Aquino. But which side is still an open question.

And who will be Aguinaldo? And —how could one forget to ask — what is the role reserved for Marcos?

But enough is enough. Playing to history is like playing to the grandstands or picking the winning horse. An easy and vulgar triumph if we guess the outcome and choose the winning side. A pox on those historians who, in any case, are good only till they are superseded by the next batch.

The wisdom of historians cannot be our own since we do not have their advantages. We can have only the courage to continue to propel ourselves towards the unknown.#

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The Visages of Violence

February 19, 2010

By Mercedes A.B. Tira

First published in the Graphic, February 11, 1970, p. 4-9, 52-53

IN FIVE DAYS, students, workers and peasants were able to tear off from the face of government the deceptive mask that has made it sufferably respectable in more than five decades. By a series of mass demonstrations which saw a representative populace grown tired of false hopes and promises pitted against the ill-tempered guardians of the status quo, the Marcos government as a perpetuation of iniquitous politics was shown up as no more than a timocratic combine gorged in privilege and awash in pomp.

For the Marcos government to be condemned as the immediate author of so gigantic a fraud, perhaps because of its oftenly grandiloquent claim to an ability to make this nation great again, is dictated by the march of events of which it happens to be the latest step. The axe has fallen on the Administration because it continues to represent mass oppression of the sort that has sadistically relished an otherwise unconscionable concentration of wealth in the hands of the few and of power in the hands of the unjust.

This year in Philippine politics would have been launched in traditional fashion; that is, a joint session of Congress lorded over by a somnorific rehash of the Marcos saga in the last four years — were it not for the massive turnout in front of the legislative building of the discontented and dissenters on January 26.

President Marcos, the first time he faced the nation as top leader, saw his people in the grip of a terrible crisis. He vowed not only to scuttle the siege but from there to lift his people and “make this nation great again.”

Four years later, President Marcos would face his people again, the first man to occupy the Presidency for the second time. His bombast and baritone would miserably fail to din out the fact of the very same crisis still abuilding. It has in fact grown more serious and has sickened society so much that the cities, towns and barrios vomited wave after wave of indignant humanity on the streets.

The spectacle that followed was one of invectives hurled from the very guts of the poor and oppressed, of curses that can be uttered only by those suddenly divested of their political innocence by the unmitigated excesses of those expected to lead. The January 26 people were evidently tired of false hopes and promises but they would manage to muster enough patience to hope that a violent tongue, being of the masses, could move the government out of its slothful arrogance.

Official reaction to the demonstrations staged by the students, workers and peasants during the last week of January was one marked with unprecedented hostility. Government club and hose ripped the air in Fascist abandon, exacting a minimum toll of broken arms and skulls but an extremely provocative maximum destruction of intelligent rapport between the government and the governed.

Death to uphold the ideals of the Parliament of the Streets has found an altar in the midst of the student activists. The waterfront murder of laborers at the picket line, on the other hand, has left an ineffaceable mark on the union movement here. Which is not to mention the bloodletting that has been going on in the fields of Central Luzon. Revolution, here and now, appears to have finally harnessed the troika that had carried it to heights of glory upon the gory, elsewhere.

The Storm Gathers

JANUARY 30, 1970. The National Union of Students of the Philippines and the National Student League appealed for a totally non-partisan Constitutional Convention and for the mass concern for the real state of the nation; they denounced fascism and militarism, particularly righteous dissent.

There were 30,000 students before the steps of Congress but no violence erupted. There were no cops in crash helmets and with truncheons around. Except for the traffic men in white and blue uniforms and for some mobile patrol cars the only policemen inside the ranks of the demonstrators were the student marshals themselves — some were helmeted, but the rest wore white armbands and headbands.

The students hurled invectives at absent city officials — Mayor Villegas, Chief Gerardo Tamayo, Colonel James Barbers and Major Alfredo Yson — and asked for the disbandment of the Special Forces and Home Defense Forces of the Marcos government. At some instances, before the Malacañang gates, they demanded “Buksan ang pinto, buksan ang pinto;” cordoned their crowd with ropes to avoid “uninvited demonstrators;” carried upon their shoulders a black coffin complete with flowers symbolizing the death of democracy; and chanted “Marcos, puppet, Marcos puppet!” vigorously while brandishing frameless placards screaming blunt truths about the Administration, its military establishment and American imperialism.

Some placards were worded thus: MPD-PC — kalaban ng bayan, Marcos-Fascist: Bayaning Huwad; Tamayo — nagwala ang iyong mga kabayo; “Politicians — keep out of the Constitutional Convention;” “Anti-Riot Squad—RP’s Gestapo.” The daylight rally lasted up to six in the evening with no skull cracked, no limb broken, no public property destroyed. There were no policemen in sight. The previous day’s rallied held by the University of the Philippines and University of the East faculty-student groups were also relatively peaceful.

Violence threatened to mar the twin-rallies, however, when several student members of an allegedly extreme-leftist group began to boo Rep. John Osmeña of Cebu, one of the congressmen who spoke their minds to the students. The sober majority were quick to ward off the violence tactics. Unable to stir up a mob, these students walked out in the middle of the speech of a student leader.

Preface to Insurrection

AT SIX o’clock in the evening the leaders, together with the rest of the students, of the January 30 demo marched to the Palace for confrontation with the President. These leaders — NUSP and NSL heads; including those of La Salle, UP, Lyceum, UE, PCC, MLQU, and FEU — previously declined a presidential invitation. They stressed that talks at the Palace could only take place after the January 30 indignation rally.

Thus, while the student leaders conferred with the President on a non-partisan Constitutional Convention and his ineligibility for a third term, as well as the resignation of MPD top brass and disbandment of para-military units in Central Luzon — the whole mass of 30,000 students waited tensely outside the gates. They milled there and were later joined by thousands of other students who came from the provinces, and who poured through JP Laurel st., like an inevitable flood.

The Palace — prepared to the teeth for the last battle of Armageddon, as a daily columnist put it — was excessively guarded by anti-riot squads of the Metrocom, the PC and the Philippine Marines. Very few MPD anti-riot men were around but several fire trucks of the Manila Fire Department were in sight. Ten minutes after the student leaders concluded their conference with President Marcos, angry demonstrators began the siege of Malacañang — a continuous nine-hour war with the anti-riot squads of the government. The first in the history of the country.

Shouting “Kunin natin si Marcos! Ibagsak si Marcos! Patayin si Marcos! Patayin!” and hoisting aloft the national flag with the red side up indicating they were on the war-path, students, midway in their ’20s and late teens, in massive hordes stoned the Palace, destroyed all the mercury lamps lining the Palace fence and managed to force open Gate 4 with a fire truck they commandeered from some MFD men. They poured gasoline at the gates, partially burning a waiting shed and the Palace guardhouse. They threw molotov bombs and bottles and stones at the Palace Guards who ran for cover inside the inner parts of the Palace premises.

With the gates opened, the demonstrators surged in, burned a truck, a parked car and the Malacañang clinic. They dumped their placards in the Palace lawn and set them on fire. They were all set to burn the Palace. Alarmed by the unusual ferocity of the student-demonstrators, the President immediately ordered Metrocom Chief Mariano Ordoñez to disperse the students by force. Open skirmish ensued, and in an hour later, the situation deteriorated into a virtual insurrection. The demonstrators lost themselves into the dark alleys of Arlegui, Mendiola and Aguado.

The Metrocom, having rid JP Laurel St., of demonstrators, proceeded to seal off all the streets leading to the Palace.

At nine o’clock a massive reinforcement from the Army and the PC came with Gen. Manuel Yan, AFP chief of Staff, Gen. Rafael Ileto, Philippine Army chief and Gen. Vicente Raval, PC chief. Somehow the students were able to beleaguer Col. Ordoñez’s men and the Palace guards. The demo rampage continued, an atras-avante situation set in among the demonstrators, who incredibly seemed to have mastered the brutal art of rioting overnight.

The demonstrators — in more ways than one were no longer students — but were older men, bigger people who seemed to be experts in spreading violence, arson and hijacking. The anti-riot squads from the MPD, PA, PC, Malacañang and the Marines used hammer and tongs in restoring the waning peace and order of the old streets of Azcarraga, Legarda, Mendiola and C. M. Recto Avenue. They fired high-powered Garand rifled in the air, they clubbed, they machinegunned — but the students still managed to hijack passenger buses, army vehicles and more fire trucks and set them on torch. A Yujuico bus was hijacked and hurled at the troopers. They burned lampposts, so that Meralco had to put off the power in the trouble areas.

A brownout occurred while the demonstrators assaulted the troopers. Eyewitnesses claimed they saw a red Mercury car cruising several times near the demonstrators’ areas — firearms were seen inside the car which carried six well-dressed men. Scores of students and troopers sustained serious injuries — to date, five were announced dead on arrival at various hospitals near the battle area.

The Wages of Violence

RICARDO Alcantara, an AB student at UP was the first to fall. He was seen to have been shot pointblank by a man in khaki wielding a wicker shield. Students bringing him DOA to the Far Eastern University Hospital at Morayta st., cried out passionately: Babalik tayo, walang uurong. Incredibly, all demonstrators were bound together with this pledge: ang uurong, bibirahin — apparently a Zengakuren principle.

The others to fall were Felicisimo Roldan, a 21-year-old FEU student who was shot in the chest when the lights went off, Bernardo Tausa a 17-year-old senior of the Mapa High School and Fernando Catabay of the Manuel Luis Quezon University who was shot in the heart by a mysterious man. Witnesses said that Catabay, already downed by clubbinggs, was shot three times by a man in fatigue who hid himself in the darkness of Centro Escolar University.

During all these hours gunshots were sporadically heard as the demonstrators were chased by the squads. Looters and vanda’s began to take over at the unguarded Quezon Bridge and Lacson Underpass. At Carriedo and as far as the Central Market, belligerent persons stoned stones and residential houses. Police outposts were burned and street islands were stripped off their sprouting palms and greens.

Iron rails were mangled and used as beating clubs by the demonstrators, some women including an eight-year-old tot were gory victims of stones hurled toward the advancing hounding troopers.

Mass arrests were made, and many students were temporarily junked like garbage inside the notorious City jail and later whisked off to Camp Crame even as the pitch skirmishes raged. Expectations of martial law were high but up to the last fires, President Marcos declared nothing about it. (During all the time the pitch battles raged the Marcoses were ready to leave the Palace through a reserved helicopter.)

At three o’clock of January 31st morning, gunshots faded out of hearing a relative peace and quiet enveloped the whole battle area which overnight became a ghost town. No more shouts of “Patayin si Marcos, Ibagsak ang Pasismo!” were heard, no more cries of pain and vendetta rang in the air — the early dawn was bleak like a silent grieving over the violence that spent the night and the young blood that colored the streets.

The streets were a pathetic sight — it must have been all a nightmare, a boy of 12 said.

Root of Student Mutiny

FOUR days before the storming of the Palace, about 20,000 students from all Greater Manila schools, together with some of their priests and faculty members, gathered at the foot of the Congress building to appeal to the legislators for a clean and honest Constitutional Convention. Other corollary activities ran the gamut of condemnations — from the First Couple as “Bonnie and Clyde” to the Special Forces and the PC as tools of a fascist nation and as running dogs of American imperialism. The massive rally was announced long before the opening of the Seventh Congress on January 26. It was started noontime of Monday and was supposed to wind up before six in the evening. A battery of speakers, representing a fair cross-section of Manila’s protesting society took turns in haranguing the administration and its excesses. The most applauded speaker (because she was eloquent and sensible) was Portia Ilagan, head of the NSL, a petite, dark beauty from Baguio and the Philippine Normal College. Luis Taruc spoke; he got booed. Chito Sta. Romana, head of the La Salle Student Government claimed that he was a “miseducated” Filipino having been under the tutelage of foreigners since his primary grades; he was greeted with “Revolution! Revolution!”. A priest spoke about the necessity for a non-partisan Constitutional Convention — the crows resented his speech. Roger Arrienda of radio and tv fame with his most libelous tirade — “si Marcos and pinakasinungaling sa lahat ng president natin” got the longest applause.

Demonstrators continuously trooped in small delegations to join the demo, as far as late afternoon. The last group to come before the infamous January 26 riot erupted was that of the NATU laborers. The President was through with his address and was almost ready for his car when boos and anti-Marcos chants filled the air. There was an attempt on the President’s part to greet the audience but already violence has begun: the black coffin with the hideous crocodile symbolizing Marcos as a dollar-eater was hurled toward his group. Before he was hurt though, he was already sped away to safety.

His departure marked the first bloodshed — the hundreds of MPD anti-riot rookies gushed into the crows with their truncheons and tried, with all force they could muster — to disperse the students. Many were hurt — men and women in the crowd were indiscriminately clubbed down; policemen without nameplates went berserk as they chased students right and left while some students braved with several megaphones the stampede as they pointed at rookies without the proper identifications ruled by Mayor Villegas. For the first 15 minutes of the riot, the demonstrators were able to control the police who, mostly greenhorns, and thus unprepared with the herculean task of pacifying a mob turned for shelter to the walls of Congress. And then the rocks and flying sticks of fire began to rain — a pine tree caught fire in the process, hundreds of placards were ripped and burned, while chants of “wala kang budhi” were hurled at Police Chief Tamayo and Major Yson who were there but did nothing to stop the sadism of their men.

The chasing of the demonstrators advanced around the vicinity of Congress — civilians were caught in the clubbing spree, while several vehicles of politicians received serious damages. Senator Pelaez, concerned over human safety and not material property tried to intervene but it was of no use; the students and the police were already engaged in a running war that ceased only after 10 o’clock in the evening. The remarks of civilians were various reactions. One said — “Sapak manood — pero nakakatakot;” a student shouted at a police rookie “Putangina mo araw-araw at sampung taon pa!;” a coed asked a rookie — “Bakit kayo ganito, kasama rin kayo sa aming mga ipinagtatanggol,” the rookie answered with a growl “Marami ka pang ngalngal diyan” and then gave her a sound beating at the rear. It was an orgy of brute force torn out from the scenes of Goethe’s “Walpurgis Nacht” or from William Golding’s Lord of the Flies where violence is shown as a delicious force.

After the Tempest, An Augury

THE PHYSICAL tempest calmed down, the streets deserted yet littered with the debris of protest and the troopers all accounted for — a group of concerned students pleaded to the law enforcers to aid them search for those missing and wounded and have thus remained suffering alone in the dark outside of Intramuros’s walls. The policemen seemed selfish having their own brothers-in-arms wounded and suffering from minor injuries — but the students persisted in their appeal. A few tried to held the helpless demonstrators while the rest vacillated and cursed. The bulk of the students, protesting the inhumanity of the law enforcers, vowed to come back in full force. Warned one:

“Makikita ng mga hayup na pulis na ito, malapit na ang araw nila”#

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The Mourning of Protest

February 19, 2010

By Mercedes A.B. Tira

First published in the Graphic, February 18, 1970, p. 10-11, 54-55

Fear no more the frown o’ the great,
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke.
Care no more to clothe and eat

To thee the reed is as the oak:

The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

— William Shakespeare

THE CACOPHONIES of January 30, for a while, died down to make way for the tacit tones of mourning and loss. Grief that cannot be gauged with tears intermingled with expressions of protest even as thousands of students and sympathizers led to the graveyard the mute remains of their fallen comrades: Ricardo Alcantara, Fernando Catabay, Felicisimo Roldan and Bernardo Tausa. They were the victims of the incensed tumult that battered the old cobbled streets of Legarda and Mendiola on the Friday night of January 30th.

The massive crowd of rallyists that previously sat before the portals of Congress and later raged before the Malacañang fortress remained undiminished in the funeral corteges of the slain youths. The processions of mourners were unlike the brisk protest marches that welled from the academe to the streets; the florid wreaths, a far cry from the angry placards; the immovable tombs a contrast to the loci of protest. The final rites for each of the four street parliamentarians were simple and brief. No post-mortem panegyrics, no manifestoes of protest. Only the orisons of the priests for the “eternal repose” of their souls were said amidst the unsaid parting words of parents and friends. If the students bore any symbols reminiscent of their January 30 ordeal in the hands of the armed guardians of the law, these were the red and black cloth of mourning they wore as armbands, headbands and ribbons pinned near the heart.

Somewhere in the parting notes attached to the wreaths were consoling words. From a militant student group a wreath bore this inscription:

“Saan man may pakikibaka ay may pagpapakasakit, at ang kamatayan ay isa lamang karaniwang pangyayari. Ngunit taglay natin ang kapakanan ng mga mamamayan at ang paghihirap ng higit na nakararami ay nasa ating mga puso. At kung tayo ay mamamatay para sa mga mamamayan ito ay isang marangal na kamatayan.” And from the Samahang Demokratikong Kabataan this:

“The January 30 mass action will I’ve as the beginning of the real revolutionary experience and spirit of the students. It shall not be forgotten and the courageous memory of our fellow comrades for our brother students who were killed will forever inspire us to the long and arduous struggle ahead.”

Drizzle for the Grave

RICARDO Alcantara, Dick to his loved ones and friends, found his little acre at the Loyola Memorial Park, four days after his demise. The interdenomination necrological service for him at the UP Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice and the long march that bore his casket through Katipunan Road to the Marikina valley saw how some friends and professors of his openly wept while thousands of students endured the heat of the three o’clock sun. A little drizzle poured, perhaps to wash away the dust of the road that leads to his final resting place.

At the chapel, the UP faculty issued a moving statement of sympathy to the Jesus Alcanta family and the grieving UP studentry “in this moment of grief and loss over our own Ricardo Alcantara.”

“We take this occasion to express our sympathy with the support for legitimate student demands in their sincere efforts to remake our society and help chart a better future for our people. As the peace of the graveyard claims our comrade may it also sober our minds and heart for the coming tasks which his death and of those who have sacrificed as much, has claimed for all of us.”

Waiting at the gate of Loyola Park were some Marikina policemen. They were there to “maintain peace and order” because according to them they have received “intelligence reports” that the students would convert the funeral into another paroxysm of protest. Nothing of the sort happened, however.

As the heavy casket passed before the uniformed men, they took off their crash helmets and stood in awed attention: death touches all.

Softly, like a lullabye for the babe in the cradle, the tune of “We Shall Overcome,” a universally accepted protest song, was hummed. The streets of the valley that used to be indifferent were lined with little kids who with unwashed faces and hungry eyes reverently whispered around the word of the day, estudyante.

Dick, according to his mother, came home from his class in Diliman before he joined the violent demonstration. His family thought he would attend a party at the St. Theresa’s College. Witnesses of the last rally claimed Dick was a demonstrator. Before he was fatally shot he was seen defending a fellow demonstrator from the blows of a gun-wielding anti-riot man.

The Only Hope

AS DICK’s casket touched the ground, so did Bernardo Tausa’s, an hour later, in another graveyard, the manila North Cemetery. Seventeen-year-old Bernardo’s ash-gray coffin was carried from his parent’s house at Robina st., in Project 7 to the Christ the King Chapel, also in the same district. There a weeping thousand, most of them his classmates and teachers at the Mapa High, joined his family to hear the final promise of the Gospel:

I am Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me though he were dead will live on. And whoever has life and has faith in Me to all eternity cannot die.”

Bernie’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Juan Tausa, were inconsolable in their sorrow; and as the comforting lines were read, they embraced with their tears the fragile casket that bore their son. From the altar to the grave, Bernie was borne on the shoulders of his male classmates. Closely following the cortege were his female classmates who carried the wreaths sent by family friends, the First Family, Mayor and Mrs. Villegas and several politicians.

Through the busy Andres Bonifacio Avenue, the procession silently passed while traffic paused for sometime. A good distance ahead of the mourners was a band of policemen and Metrocom troopers who radioed to their respective headquarters the scenes of the funeral. They have constantly shadowed, these men in uniform, the post-mortem activities of the students. They were detailed at the funerals to keep security intact. Earlier they received reports that Bernie’s body would be seized and taken to the UP chapel where Dick Alcantara’s body remained in state.

Again, no such incident occurred.

Mute Rally Leads Home

THE DAY after, Fernando “Ong” Catabay also went to his earthly home. MLQU students, more than a thousand of them, and fellow cursillistas joined the young student’s grieving relatives in the last trek from the Holy Family Church at San Andres Bukid through Rizal Avenue to the northside of the La Loma Cemetery.

A mute rally before Congress and Malacañang was earlier planned for the four slain students by the student leaders but the idea was dropped when the parents expressed their desire to make their sons’ interments as private as possible. “We do not want to fan the fires of hatred,” they unanimously declared.

Before he was finally interred, Ong’s fellow ROTC cadets at MLQU gave a brief salute over his white bier which was draped with the banner of his alma mater. As he went into the darkness of the grave the National Anthem was sung. The last words said for him were from a brother cursillista: Dust thou art, to dust thou shalt return. Ong a 19-year-old engineering finished his cursillo December 16 of last year at the St. Eymard Laymen’s Apostolate.

“He was not keen on demonstrations, as far as I know,” Mrs. Neny Catabay tearfully said. “Before he went to join the Malacañang demo on the invitation of some friends, he was singing to me a current ballad. I saw him go to the gate when his friends came — that was the last glimpse I had of him — he was in a checkered polo, brown pants and white shoes. About nine in the evening, I heard over the radio some gun shots. We knew there was a riot going on but we never expected Ong to be there. Several hours later some cursillistas called on us. I heard Mr. Catabay taking with them and leaving finally.” May nangyari raw sa anak namin. After some waiting, I finally saw my son at a morgue — a pair of his shoes missing. His fellow cursillistas gave me his cursillo guide book. I just could not believe he died.”

The Catabays, who now have six children left strongly met the misfortune of their son, with profound sorrow, yes but not with any hint of bitterness.

“We are not blaming anyone for this unfortunate accident. We leave everything to the will of God. We hope no motivated person or group of persons would use the death of our son as an excuse to foment further disorder or discontent.”

The Long Wait

THE LAST to go was Felicisimo Singh Roldan, a tall, handsome student from FEU whose remains waited for the arrival of his father, Mr. Napoleon Roldan, a technical employee of a construction firm based in Saigon.

Lying in state at the Roldan residence at Galas, Quezon City, the remains of Simong as he used to be called, were surrounded with tokens from almost all quarters: from fellow students, government officials, labor unions, athletes and a fifth grade girlfriend.

In between tears that would not flow, Mrs. Roldan, an Indian mestiza related to us how Felicisimo a commerce sophomore her eldest son bade his final goodbye.

“He left the house shortly before nine o’clock of January 30 for the basketball practice at FEU. Nagmamadali pa nga siya at mahuhuli raw sa laro. He went with his brother Mario. That was the last time I saw him. Several hours later may dumating na mga ahente ng punerarya. I couldn’t talk as they broke the bad news. I wanted to cry, and shout but no words would come through my lips.”

Mario, a seventeen-year-old high school student related how he saw his brother fall. “His last words were, Bimbo, tulungan mo ako. I thought he was kidding me as he slumped down the dirty sidewalks. In fact I answered huwag kang magbiro ng ganyan — ang laki-laki mong tao, mamamatay ka? But he was already dying, I saw it, although he was not drenched with blood. As I picked him up, a uniformed man rained bullets on us, almost pointblank yes, that’s why I caught a bullet in my left arm. I heard the sound of bullets pass my ears. And then there were shouts of people intervening — if not for them, I too were a dead man.

“Together with some students and a neighbor I brought my brother to the JRRMH hospital. I thought he was not dying because I even asked if he brought some money with him — you see we have to pay the cab — he was heavily gasping so we rushed him inside. I saw the taxi cab sped away — Naawa siguro. Inside, some doctors massaged his chest and face. I prayed. Nagdasal ako.” At this point, young Mario paused for some minutes.

Recollection was unbearable it seemed, for the young boy fought the threat of tears; but he continued — “Tapos iniwan na siya ng doctor. I didn’t know what to do. Akala ko may kinuha lang silang gamot — but I noticed nobody seemed to attend to him anymore. I went to the doctor and asked but he just moved his head so I went to a nurse and asked her what happened. Sabi niya patay na raw. I didn’t cry. I only cried when my uncles came.”

The experience was indeed deeply pathetic and shattering, for Mario. “Umiiyak ako kasi he was not only my brother — he was also my friend.” He used to bring me to his games — Inaalagaan siya ng FEU para sa Varsity team at saka he wanted to become a policeman.” Simong had a good build — he was considered a promising potential of the cage ball team of FEU’s Institute of Accounts, Banking and Finance.

“No, I never noticed him joining demonstrations. He was a plain student, besides how could he go to those gatherings when he had to look after us? His father is away, you know,” Mrs. Roldan said.

“There is a possibility that he sympathized with the cause of the students though,” asserted an aunt.

As we left their unpretentious home, Mrs. Roldan said — “We do not ask for help from any government official — much more from the President. If he really wants to help, buhayin niya ang anak ko.”

Fatal Bullets

WHETHER ricocheting or directly fired it is now clear that bullets killed the four youths. According to autopsy reports from Dr. Angel Singian of the MPD, Catabay was directly shot, while the three others were felled by ricocheting bullets. Alcantara sustained a fatal wound in his cheek from a .22 caliber high-powered firearm while the rest were killed by firearms of the caliber not any lower than .38.

(High-caliber firearms from caliber .38 include caliber .45, .30 carbine and .30 Garand rifles. Organic military firearms used at the January 30 affray were Armalite M.14 and M.16 caliber .225; 32 caliber carbines, .30 Garand rifles, .38 and .45 pistols and revolvers. A Garand rifle’s bullet is armor-piercing and is still deadly up to 750 yards.)

Not a Useless Uproar

IT IS superfluous to say that these four students, not quite budding, were martyred by the armed powers. But it is not difficult to consider them as tangible heroes of the activists. The activists did not in any way ask for their death but somehow their dying followed an innate human trend: the need for a sacrifice, one that would consummate the greatest cause that is being pursued.

Whether demonstrators or not, the four youths were inevitably members of the impatient generation, the conscience of the nation, the credible Opposition and the proletariat — they who continually protest and question the injustices and the violence of social exploitation in conditions that seek redress. These four who have never enjoyed the comfort and prestige bestowed by the academy nor the singular excitement of the soapbox have passed their little torches to them who by all means challenge the truth of the status quo. Their death have sealed the inchoate commitment of their fellow students to the cause of the masses. Those who remain now must indeed be responsible in giving significant substance and relevant expression to the ineffable experience of January 30, in proving that dying in the streets was not a useless uproar.#

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U.S. Ambassador’s telegrams to the Sec. of State, Jan 1970

February 2, 2010

Some telegrams of U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, Henry A. Byroade, to the Secretary of State, William P. Rogers in Washing D.C. concerning the January 26 and January 30 demonstrations in Manila. These have been declassified and are made available in photocopies at a library in Metro Manila.

R 280953Z JAN 70

FM AMEMBASSY MANILA

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3286

SUBJECT:  STUDENT  DEMONSTRATIONS

REF: MANILA’S 789

1. IN AFTERMATH OF UNPRECEDENTEDLY LARGE AND VIOLENT DEMONSTRATION BEFORE CONGRESS, MEDIA HAVE CLUCKED, MARCOS HAS REMONSTRATED AND STUDENTS HAVE PROMISED NEW PROTEST RALLY FRIDAY 30 JANUARY.

2. PRESS HAS TAKEN CONFLICTING STAND ON DEMONSTRATION AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR VIOLENCE. WHILE DEBATING PROS AND CONS, IT HAS PREDICTABLY GIVEN ONLY MODERATE COVERAGE TO STATE OF NATION MESSAGE – HIGHLIGHTING PRESIDENT’S CALL FOR DISCIPLINE.

3. BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS HAVE CASTIGATED POLICE VIOLENCE AND PROPOSED JOINT INVESTIGATION.

4. IN CONCILIATORY EFFORT, MARCOS REQUESTED POLICE TO DROP CHARGE VS STUDENTS, TO CONTINUE INVESTIGATION OF NON-STUDENT  ‘PROVOCATEURS’ AND TO ADOPT MEASURES TO AVOID UNNECESSARY USE OF FORCE.

5. NATIONAL UNION STUDENTS GROUP HELD MEETING OF STUDENT LEADERS OF 23 COLLEGES AND ORGANIZATIONS. WHILE ADMITTING OUTSIDE ELEMENTS HAD CONTRIBUTED TO TROUBLE, THEY LAMBASTED POLICE VIOLENCE AND PROMISED  A) TO PARTICIPATE IN MASS RALLY 30 JANUARY AND B) TO DEMONSTRATE AT MALACANANG AND CONGRESS UNTIL MARCOS SUSPENDS HEADS OF POLICE AGENCIES AND ISSUES HANDWRITTEN PLEDGE NOT TO INTERVENE IN ELECTION OF CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION DELEGATES. IN ADDITION NUSP MEETING, UP STUDENTS CHASTISED FASCISTIC TACTICS OF GOVERNMENT AND PROMPTED UP PRESIDENT LOHTZ [LOPEZ?] TO OFFER LEAD DEMONSTRATION AT CONGRESS. OTHER MODDJATE [MODERATE?] AND LEFTIST GROUPS CONDEMNED VIOLENCE AND PROMISED TO JOIN DRIDAY’S RALLY.

6. ACCORDING TO SUBSEQUENT REPORTS ON 26 JANUARY DEMONSTRATION, NUSP HAS SUCCESSFULLY RESTRICTED ITS FOLLOWERS – THE BULK OF THE NUSP DEMONSTRATORS – TO NONVIOLENT PROTEST IN BEHALF NONPARTISAN CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION. VERY SMALL CONTINGENT OF KM, HOWEVER, HAD DIVINED NUSP ORGANIZATION TACTICS AND HAD MOVED IN RAPIDLY AS NUSP  WAS WITHDRAWING TO TURN DEMONSTRATION INTO VIOLENT PROTEST, AND ULTIMATELY EXPOSE ALL PARTICIPANTS TO “POLICE VIOLENCE.” LEFTWING ELEMENTS WILL UNDOUBTEDLY ATTEMPT TO EXPLOIT 30 JANUARY RALLY SIMILARLY ALTHOUGH BOTH GOVERNMENT AND NUSP WILL SEEK HEAD OFF FURTHER VIOLENCE. BYROADE

P 311034Z JAN 70

FM AMEMBASSY MANILA

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3336

UNCLAS MANILA 898

SUBJ: PRESIDENT ADDRESSES NATION ON DEMONSTRATION

1. IN DELIBERATELY CALM VOICE, PRESIDENT TOLD NATION AT 1730, 31 JANUARY THAT DEMONSTRATION IN FRONT OF MALACANANG PREVIOUS EVENING CONSTITUTED PREMEDITATED, INSURRECTIONARY ATTACK, REPRESENTING ACT OF REBELLION AND SUBVERSION WITH PURPOSE OF EITHER DESTROYING OR SEIZING SEAT OF GOVERNMENT. HE DESCRIBED DEMONSTRATORS AS MOB, THOUSANDS IN NUMBER LED BY SEVERAL HUNDRED, TO WHOM ALL OTHER ISSUES SUCH AS CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION WERE IRRELEVANT. THEY WERE, HE SAID, INFLUENCED AND GUIDED BY FOREIGN IDEOLOGY, THE IDEOLOGY OF MAO TSE TUNG. HE THEN REFERRED TO TWO CONSPIRACIES WHICH MALACANANG INTELLIGENCE  HAD UNCOVERED SEVEAL MONTHS AGO, ONE COMMUNIST-INSPIRED AND ONE INSPIRED BY ANOTHER GROUP, AND NOTED THAT MALACANANG HAD BEEN AWARE OF IMPORTS OF ARMS BY THOSE TWO GROUPS.

2.  PRESIDENT ASSURED NATION THAT MILITARY HAD SHOWN HIM PLANS FOR ACTION IN EVENT ANY FURTHER ATTACKS . COUNTRY WELL GUARDED. HE WARNED INSURRECTIONARY ELEMENTS THAT ANY ATTEMPT TO OVERTHROW GOVERNMENT FORCIBLY WOULD BE PUT DOWN. TROOPS HAVE BEEN MOVED INTO MANILA AND SURROUNDING AREA TO BACK UP LOCAL POLICE AND WOULD BE AVAILABLE IF NEEDED.

3. PRESIDENT CLEARED STUDENTS OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR VANDALISM, EXPRESSING REGRET FOR DEATHS BUT REASSERTING HIS BASIC RESPONSIBILITY AS PRESIDENT TO PROTECT LIVES AND PROPERTIES OF NATION AS WHOLE. HE WOULD PROTECT STUDENT’S RIGHT TO DEMONSTRATE,  THEIR RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH AND ASSEMBLY, FOR THEY WOULD SUCCEED TO MOLD THE WORLD. AND HE WOULD ADOPT WHATERVER PROPOSALS THEY MADE THAT WERE REASONABLE, BUT WHENEVER A FOREIGN IDEOLOGY THREATENED TO TAKE OVER HE WOULD ACT.

4. HE CONCLUDED BY APPEALING TO NATION TO REMAIN UNITED AND REQUESTED PARENTS TO RESTRAIN THEIR CHILDREN FROM PARTICIPATING IN DEMONSTRATIONS WHILE CONSPIRACY CONTINUED AND UNTIL COMPLETE PEACE HAD BEEN RE-ESTABLISHED. BYROADE

R 021055Z FEB 70

FM AMEMBASSY MANILA

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3359

CONFIDENTIAL MANILA 932

SUBJECT: STUDENT DEMONSTRATIONS

REF: MANILA 896 AND 899

1. MANILA CONTINUES IN A STATE OF SHOCK AT THE VIOLENCE OF THE JANUARY 30 DEMONSTRATIONS AND THE FOUR STUDENT DEAD. THE SHOCK APPEARS TO BE MOST ACUTE AT THE FOCUS OF THE STUDENT ATTACK, MALACANANG.  THIS IS THE MOST PLAUSIBLE EXPLANATION FOR THE PRESIDENT’S 31 JANUARY CHARGE THAT THE DEMONSTRATION WAS AN ACTIVE REBELLION TO EITHER DESTROY OR SEIZE THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT.

2. MARCOS WAS APPARENTLY PERSUADED BY A CORE ELEMENT OF DELIBERATE VIOLENCE TO INTERPRET THE ATTACK ON MALACANANG AS A MAOIST PLOT. AS HERALD COLUMNIST EDDIE LACHICA, POINT OUT THIS MORNING, “THE CURRENT LANGUAGE OF STUDENT ACTIVISM IS PROMOUNCEDLY MAOIST—AS MUCH OF A YOUTH FAD AS BEATLE HAIRDOS AND BELL BOTTOM PANTS.” MARCOS HAS DIGNIFIED AND IN A SENSE GLORIFIED THE RIOTOUS VANDALISM BY CALLING IT A MAOIST INSURRECTION.

3. MARCOS APPEARS INCLINED TO THE CONSPIRACY THEORY ALSO BECAUSE IT IS HARD FOR HIM TO BELIEVE THAT FILIPINO STUDENTS DISLIKE HIM OR WOULD ATTACK THE HOME OF THEIR PRESIDENT. PHILIPPINE YOUTH IS TRADITIONALLY DEFERENTIAL TO AUTHORITY AND THE OLDER GENERATION DEMONSTRATIONS IN THE PAST HAVE BEE ALMOST ALL DIRECTED AGAINST GENERALIZED AND UNTIL THE LAST YEAR OR TWO, NON-PHILIPPINE TARGETS. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT MARCOS AS A PERSONALITY AND IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDENT HAS BEEN DIRECTLY CHALLENGED.

4. THE DEGREE OF SHOCK IS ALSO REFLECTED IN THE THEORY BEGINNING TO CIRCULATE AROUND TOWN THAT THE UNITED STATES IS IN BACK OF THE RIOTS. PREDICTABLY J.V. CRUZ IN THE FEBRUARY 2ND MANILA TIMES IS THE FIRST TO GIVE IT PRESS CIRCULATION. HE SUGGESTS THAT IT WOULD BE IN THE US INTEREST TO PROVOKE REPRESSION OF THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN MOST EFFECTIVE IN UNMASKING OUR IMPERIALIST OPERATIONS AND GOALS AND ISOLATE PRESIDENT MARCOS FROM THE PEOPLE. THAT SUCH A THEORY COULD BE GIVEN CREDENCE FOR A MOMENT DEMONSTRATES THE PERSISTENCE OF  COLONIAL ATTITUDE  (CRUZ WOULD BE THE FIRST TO DENOUNCE IT IN OTHERS) THAT NOTHING HAPPENS OF IMPORTANCE IN THE PHILIPPINES UNLESS THE UNITED STATES WILLS IT.

5. PRESIDENT HAS APPARENTLY MADE EXTENSIVE EXTENSIVE EFFORT TO CONVEY TO LEADERS OF ESTABLISHMENT SUCH AS CONGRESSMEN, MAYORS, PUBLISHERS, CRITICAL NATURE OF SITUATION (ALTHOUGH PRESUMABLY NOT REFERRING TO ALLEGED US ROLE). ON BASIS INITIAL IMPRESSION, HE HAS MADE POINT SO WELL THAT ALL KIND OF ALARMIST RUMORS HAVE BEEN CIRCULATING OVER THE WEEKEND.  MONEYED MEMBERS OF THE ESTABLISHMENT IN PARTICULAR CLEARLY HAVE WIND UP. ON MONDAY, HOWEVER, PRESS HAS BEGUN TO INTRODUCE LEAVENING ELEMENT OF SKEPTICISM WHICH SHOULD LOWER MOOD OF TENSION.

6. BASIC PROBLEM WITH STUDENTS, HOWEVER, REMAINS. IN ANTICIPATING FURTHER TROUBLE, PRESIDENT SUSPENDED CLASSES FOR ONE WEEK. O.D. CORPUZ SAID AT LUNCH TODAY THAT THIS WAS INTENDED TO DISCOURAGE STUDENTS FROM ORGANIZING FURTHER DEMONSTRATIONS ON OCCASION OF FUNERAL FOR “VICTIMS’ OF JAN 30 SHOOTING AND CLASSES MIGHT NE RENEWED ON WEDNESDAY. AT SAME TIME (SEE SEPTEL) PRESIDENT ANNOUNCED INTENTION TO CREATE SPECIAL TRUST FUND OUT OF OF WAR DAMAGE PAYMENTS TO SUBSIDIZE STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS AND INVOLVE STUDENTS IN APPROVED CIVIC ACTION. INTENT HERE IS APPARENTLY TO USE UP REMAINING SPECIAL FUND FOR EDUCATION, NO OTHER MONEY BEING READILY ON HAND FOR EDUCATION PURPOSES.

7. THESE ARE SHORT TERM PALLIATIVES ONLY, FOR ONE WEEK’S VACATION WILL HARDLY SUFFICE TO MAKE STUDENTS FORGET THEIR CAUSE AND TRUST FUND IS TOO SMALL TO IMPRESS. STUDENT MOOD IS IN FACT STILL REBELIOUS. THEY ARE SMARTING UNDER PRESIDENT’S APPELATION OF MAOIST INSURRECTIONARIES AND ARE NOT LIKELY TO BEGIN TO SIMMER DOWN AT LEAST UNTIL AFTER BURIAL OF THEIR “MARTYRS” THIS WEEK. BYROADE

P 3105545Z JAN 70

FM AMEMBASSY MANILA

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3334

CONFIDENTIAL MANILA 896

REF: MANILA 817

1. LEFT WING ELEMENTS SUCCEEDED IN TURNING JANUARY 30 RALLY INTO CHAOTIC AND VIOLENT FRACAS INITIALLY CENTERING ON MALACANANG AND ULTIMATELY EXTENDING TO OTHER DOWNTOWN AREAS. AT CONCLUSION, 4 STUDENTS HAD BEEN KILLED, 100 OTHERS INCLUDING POLICE WOUNDED, AND EXTENSIVE DAMAGE TO VEHICLES AND BUIDLINGS EFFECTED IN MOST VIOLENT RALLY RECENT TIMES.

2. RALLY DEVELOPED IN ESSENTIALLY THREE PHASES. FIRST PHASE WAS COMPLETELY PEACEFUL RALLY AT  CONGRESS FROM 9:00 A.M. TO 2:00 P.M. AGAINST POLICE VIOLENCE AND FOR NONPARTISAN CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION BY ELEMENTS SUPPORTING NUSP AND NSL BUT NOTICEABLY EXCLUDING UP MEMBERS. 10,000 REPORTEDLY PRESENT. GROUP DISPERSED ABOUT 2:00 P.M. AND WAS SHORTLY SUCCEEDED, IN SECOND PHASE OF DEMONSTRATION, BY UP, UE STUDENTS, KM AND OTHER LEFT WING GROUPS WITH FAIR MIXTURE OF TOUGHER ELEMENT, TOTALLING 3 TO 4,000 ACCORDING TO EMBASSY OBSERVERS. EMPHASIS MUCH HEAVIER ON POLICE VIOLENCE. NO POLICE PRESENT AT ANY TIME DURING RALLY IN ACCORDANCE MAYOR VILLEGAS DECISION KEEP HIS POLICE FROM BEING USED AGAIN AS SCAPEGOATS. AFTER LOUDER BUT INCIDNT-FREE RALLY AT CONGRESS, GROUP PROCEEDED  TO CITY HALL FOR PEACEFUL DISCUSSION WITH MAYOR VILLEGAS. GROUP THEN DEPARTED FOR MALACANANG, MUCH OF UP ELEMENT APPARENTLY HEADING FOR QUEZON CITY. THIRD AND VIOLENT PHASE BEGAN AT MALACANANG.

3. STUDENTS FROM PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF COMMERCE AND PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF CRIMINOLOGY, FREQUENT PARTICIPANTS IN DEMONSTRATIONS, HAD ASSEMBLED EARLIER IN AFTERNOON AT MALACANANG AND HAD DEMONSTRATED WITHOUT SERIOUS INCIDENT BEFORE WELL-DISCIPLINED METROCOM ELEMENTS. PCC CROWD TOTALLED PERHAPS 1-2,000 VS. 1,000 METROCOM IN DEFENSIVE, UNEXPOSED POSITIONS. AT 7:00 P.M., KM AND OTHER ELEMENTS, NOW ESTIMATED AT 2,000 ARRIVED AT MALACANANG AND ATTACK ON PALACE BEGAN. MALACANANG STREET LIGHTS SMASHED, WINDOWS BROKEN BY SLING SHOT,  SEVERAL FIRES STARTED AND PALACE ACTUALLY ENTERED THROUGH GATE 4 WHEN DEMONSTRATORS COMMANDEERED FIRE TRUCK, RAMMED AND BROKE GATE. SEVERAL BUILDINGS AND VEHICLES DAMAGED BEFORE METROCOM REPELLED STUDENTS WITH TEAR GAS, FIRING IN AIR AND RUSHING. FROM 7:00 TO 8:00 PM FREE-FOR-ALL  PREVAILED BUT APPARENTLY ONLY FEW PEOPLE HURT. AT 9:00 P.M. DEMONSTRATORS PERSUADED TO LEAVE MALACANANG GATES, SOME DEPARTED FOR HOME AND ABOUT 2,000 MOVED SEVERAL HUNDRED YARDS DOWN MENDIOLA STREET. LATTER GROUP  EXHIBITED INTERNAL DISSENSION BUT MORE VIOLENT ELEMENT CONTINUED HURLING STONES, MOLOTOV COCKTAILS. MALACANANG FORCES MEANTIME REMAINED AT PALACE AND NO POLICE OR ANY OTHER SECURITY ELEMENT ON SPOT TO CONTROL REMAINING DEMONSTRATORS. AT 9:50 MALACANANG APPARENTLY DECIDED DEMONSTRATORS HAD TO BE DISPERSED. METROCOM ANNOUNCED PERMIT CANCELLED AND 400 RIOT POLICE JUST ARRIVING ON SCENE CHARGED. POLICE CHARGE DEGENERATED INTO VIOLENT BEATING AND ARREST OF DEMONSTRATORS . WHICH FURTHER INFLAMED DEMONSTRATORS AND SUCCEEDED IN MOVING THEM ONLY SLIGHT DISTANCE AWAY. MILITARY UNITS THEN TOOK OVER AND EVENTUALLY SUCCEEDED IN ROOTING OUT DEMONSTRATORS BY EARLY MORNING. MILITARY UNITS REPEATEDLY FIRED IN AIR TO DISPERSE DEMONSTRATORS: ALLEGEDLY SOME DEMONSTRATORS RETURNED FIRE. IN PROCESS BULK OF INJURIES AND FATALITIES INFLICTED. BEFORE CLEAN UP ACCOMPLISHED, DEMONSTRATORS HAD RETREATED FAR INTO CITY, INDULGING IN VANDALISM, ARSON AND BEATINGS.

4. CITY TODAY IS SUBDUED BUT UNEASY. OTHER PROVINCES REPORT CONSIDERABLE APPREHENSION.

5. SO FAR, PRESIDENT HAS MOVED  DELIBERATELY AND SOBERLY. HE HAS AVOIDED GENERALIZED CONDEMNATION OF DEMONSTRATORS AND HA CONFIEND CHARGES OF VIOLENCE TO SUBVERSIVE ELEMENTS. COUNCIL OF STATE HAS BEEN MEETING SINCE 9:00 A.M. TO ASSESS SITUATION AND RECOMMEND ACTION. PRESIDENT EXPECTED TO ADDRESS NATION THIS AFTERNOON ABOUT 4:00 P.M.

6. FROM INITIAL REPORTS IT WOULD APPEAR THAT IT WAS THE KM AND NOT THE CAUTIOUS NUSP OR MORE OUTSPOKEN UP WHICH PRECIPITATED AND PARTICIPATED IN VIOLENCE. ALTHOUGH ALL ELEMENTS JOINED IN CONDEMNING POLICE VIOLENCE 30 JANUARY, NUSP MADE STRENOUS EFFORTS NOT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH KM AND UP LEADERS APPARENTLY FOLLOWED SAME COURSE. SUBSEQUENT DEATH OF STUDENTS AND REPORTED DECISION TO HOLD COMMEMORATIVE RALLY MAY REJOIN ALL STUDENT ELEMENTS. BUT SEPARATE TENDENCIES ARE PRONOUNCED. MPKP, FOR EXAMPLE YESTERDAY, REPUDIATED CONSTITUTIOAL CONVENTION GOALS OF NUSP AND CALLED FOR “PEOPLE’S POWER.” NUSP, ON OTHER HAND, WAS ACTUALLY NEGOTIATING WITH PRESIDENT IN PALACE ON CONVENTION AND ALLEGEDLY RECEIVED HIS ASSURANCE AGAINST THIRD TERM WHEN KM ARRIVED OUTSIDE.

7. SUCCESS OF PRESIDENT IN PREVENTING UNITED STUDENT MOVEMENT AGAINST HIM ON ISSUE OF POLICE VIOLENCE WILL DEPEND ON  A) RESTRAINT IN DEALING WITH STUDENTS, B) PUBLIC RECOGNITION THAT STEPS MUST BE TAKEN TO CURB POLICE BRUTALITY, C) RESPONSE TO STUDENT AND PUBLIC CONCERN OVER CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION. ABOVE ALL HE MUST TAKE SOME ACTION TO PROVE SERIOUSNESS OF HIS INTENT. IT IS IRONIC THAT AS A RESULT 26 JANUARY RALLY, COMELEC AND BOTH PARTIES HAD GONE ON RECORD AGAINST OFFICIAL PARTY PARTICIPATION IN CONVENTION AND PRESIDENT HAD REPORTEDLY PLEDGED AGAINST THIRD TERM AT MOMENT WHEN KM PRECIPITATED MOST VIOLENT RALLY IN PHILIPPINE HISTORY.

8. WILL REPORT ANY FURTHER SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT. BYROADE