Essays, Law and Politics
The Enrile Memoir is his resume — it was a narrative addressed to his employer, the Filipino people begging them to look at him in most favored light and consider him as one of the stalwarts of Philippine politics, a statesman, if you may. Whether he has achieved this purpose is for the people and history to judge. The book was about seventy per cent ‘raw military intelligence data’ he had gathered in the course of his employment as Secretary of National Defense before and during martial law. I can say right away that Enrile’s view had been shaped by the bureaucracy he headed, and he looked at every voice of dissent on the streets as ‘Maoist’ or ‘communist’ inspired’ just like Marcos did and to save the Republic from communist takeover, he had crafted for Marcos this draconian measure of imposing martial law. I am half-way through his book, but I was intrigued by this controversial ambush made against his 3-car convoy inside Wack Wack Subdivision in Greenhills on the day martial law was proclaimed.
Newspapers reports, columnists and writers gave credence to his having admitted that his ambush was ‘staged’ in 1972 to spice up the claim that the country was in the throes of lawlessness and therefore, there was a need for the extra-ordinary power of the executive department to quell this lawlessness which was communist inspired.
In his memoir, however, Enrile denied the ambush as ‘staged.’ He wrote:
After the 1986 Edsa Revolution, my political enemies claimed that I faked my own ambush to justify the imposition of martial law. This is a lie that has gone around for far too long such that it has acquired acceptance as the “truth”.
This accusation is ridiculous and preposterous. What would I have faked my ambush for? When it happened, the military operation to impose martial law was already going on. I had already delivered Proclamation No. 1081 and all the General Orders and Letters of Instructions to the military leaders. I had already ordered them to proceed with the military operation that carried out the orders of President Marcos to place the country under martial law. In fact, when the ambush happened, I was already on my way home. Whether I was ambushed or not, martial law in the country was already an irreversible fact. So, what was the need for me to fake my own ambush?
But I surmise that, apart from the deliberate and continued attempts of my enemies to portray me as the darkest and most evil person, many people have found the yarn easy to believe out of sheer ignorance of the actual sequence of events and the circumstances prior to President Marcos’ public announcement that the country had been placed under martial rule.
I honestly did not know why Marcos suddenly decided to cite my ambush in justifying the declaration of martial law when he made his public statement on September 23. There was absolutely was no need for it.
Who among the people who wanted to see me dead, for there were many, or who could have wanted to use that incident to achieve whatever purpose they had, were actually behind that ambush? I do not know. But surely, God knows.
“After I finished my meeting with the military leaders, I left them and headed for home. In those days, I normally had a convoy of three cars: a security escort car in front of my car and another behind. That evening, I decided to ride in the security escort car behind my car.”
“My convoy drove out of Camp Aguinaldo through Gate 2 in front of Camp Crame. It turned left on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue and then right to Greenhills subdivision. When it reached Ortigas Avenue, it swerved to the left, then right, to Wack-Wack subdivision. While my convoy was driving through Wack-Wack subdivision, a speeding car rushed and passed the escort car where I was riding. Suddenly, it opened several bursts of gunfire toward my car and sped away. The attack was so sudden that it caught everyone by surprised.
A more authoritative source that the ambush had been staged and Secretary Enrile knew about it was provided by a Marcos insider and confidant, Primitivo Mijares in page 49 of his book Conjugal Dictatorship by Ferdinand and Imeda Marcos, (Union Square Publications, 1976):
“Marcos pressed a button in his intercom, and when an ever ready aide responded to say “yes, sir,” he commanded: “Get me Secretary Enrile.” And then with his line to the communications room aide still open, Marcos muttered to himself: “Masyadong mabagal ng mga taong ’yan Kung kailan pa naman kailangan magmadali. Within few minutes, he determined that his secretary of national defense, Juan Ponce Enrile, had left his office at Camp Emilio Aguinaldo rather early in the day. He was located by Sgt. Arturo Boquiren, agent on duty at the communications room near the President’s Study Room, in the house of a “friend.” Somewhat irritated, Marcos ordered Enrile in the following manner: “Secretary Enrile? Where are you? You have to do it now.. ya, ya, the one we discussed this noon. We cannot postpone it any longer. Another day of delay may be too late.” Continuing his orders obviously after being interrupted with some remarks by Enrile, Marcos went on: “Make it look good. Kailangan seguro ay may masaktan o kung mayroon mapatay ay mas mabuti. (May be it would be better if somebody got hurt or killed). … O hala, sigue, Johnny and be sure the story catches the ‘Big News’ and ‘Newswatch’… and call me as soon as it is over.”
Mijares wrote his narrative in 1976, a little over 3 years after martial law was declared while Enrile wrote his’ in 2012. Time can becloud one’s narrative.
And what makes Mijares more credible is the fact that the government took extra interest in him and his family after he wrote his book. His son was tortured and killed while the author himself was lured to go back home and was also killed.
Wrote Sterling Seagrave, (Marcos Dynasty ):
“The publication of Mijares’s book Conjugal Dictatorship on April 27, 1976 arouse a firestorm of outrage at Malacanang – Mijares raked up just enough of the Dovie Beams affair, torture by Ver’s thugs, and the faking of Marcos war record to cause acute embarrassment. But Conjugal Dictatorship was systematically plundered from every book store and public institution in the United States, including the Library of Congress. Eight months after his book vanished Mijares himself disappeared.”
“The last anyone heard of him was a cryptic letter, postmarked Honolulu. He wrote to columnists Jack Anderson and Les Whitten that he was about to take off on “a daring sortie to the Philippines… For security reasons,” he cautioned, “I would request you to breathe word of this daring trip to anyone until I can call you by phone. Or I’ll send you proof from Manila, a letter with this.” He drew a star with a circle around it. “Wish me luck,” he added.”
“Mijares phoned his wife, Manila Judge Priscilla Mijares, saying he was taking a Pan American flight to Guam. According to subsequent investigations, Mijares left in the company of Querube Makalintal, a Marcos intelligence officer posing as a revenue attaché at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco. Fabian Ver also was in San Francisco, had been in touch with Mijares, and was seen boarding the same Pan Am flight to Guam.”
“When her husband vanished, Judge Mijares began her own investigation. She determined that Ver and her husband flew to Guam, and then boarded a Philippine Air Lines flight to Manila. Mijares and Makalintal joined Ver in the first-class section of the plane, she said. It was only after the flight landed at Manila International Airport that her husband disappeared. She said that NISA agents took Mijares to Ver’s headquarters at Fort Bonifacio, where he was put in a dungeon where political detainees were kept for long periods. A jailer she knew told her that he saw her husband there.”
“On May 1977, their sixteen-year-old son Luis ‘Boyet’ Mijares told his mother that he had received a phone call saying his father was alive and inviting the boy to come to see him. He insisted on going. The boy’s body was later found dumped outside Manila, his eyeballs protruding, his chest perforated with multiple stab wounds, his head bashed in, and his hands, feet and genitals mangled. The mutilation of the body was typical of incidents where, to extract information from an uncooperative prisoner, one member of a family was grotesquely tortured in front of another.” ( p. 273, 74).
In 1980, Steve Psinakis arranged to have a conversation with Imelda Marcos in New York and brought up the Mijares case.
“And speaking of killings,” said Psinakis, “tell me, Mrs. Marcos, has Mijares been killed?”
“How should I know?” said Imelda “Mijares had more enemies than you can possibly imagine. He was the lowest kind of snake that ever lived.” She used the past tense throughout. “Tibo was a thief, a compulsive gambler and loser, and worst of all, a cheap extortionist. He was not a newspaperman: he was a blackmailer.”
“If you knew all this about Mijares,” Psinakis said, “why did your husband make him his top media man as well as the official censor of the martial law regime?” Imelda changes the subject. (p. 275).