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Thursday, August 31, 2017

WHAT REALLY TRANSPIRED

By Jose Alejandrino

I'm not pro-Marcos but I like to be objective. Our history is full of historical distortions. Much has been said about Ferdinand Marcos. I think it's time we corrected some distortions.

1. Marcos like all our leaders was not perfect. He had his flaws. But not all his reign was bad. There were many good things he did like there were bad mistakes he committed.

2a. Marcos, the CIA chief told me, had no hand in the Ninoy Aquino assassination. It was a Cojuangco family feud between Ninoy and Danding. I told Cory what I knew from the Americans but she already knew. "Let things be," she said. "Let sleeping dogs lie." That is why she did not pursue the investigation of Ninoy's murder. It would have opened a can of worms. To make amends, Danding took care of Kris Aquino's career to make sure Ninoy's youngest daughter would be well taken care of financially.

2b. Marcos really won the Snap Election by 700,000 votes. I saw the final tally, but the Americans made it seem he cheated to trigger Edsa. Marcos was sick. The Americans knew the exact state of his health, thanks to a Cabinet minister who was feeding them periodic reports about his deteriorating health. I won't name him because he is a good friend of my father. The CIA kept President Ronald Reagan informed and he finally decided to let go of Marcos in order not to destabilize the Philippines where the two largest American bases (Clark and Subic) were located outside the United States. Ambassador Philip Habib was sent here as his personal emissary to work out the transition with the Opposition. As Habib said to US Ambassador to Manila Stephen Bosworth before he left, "We'll give him (Marcos) asylum in the United States."

3. Habib chose Cory to run against Marcos in the Snap Election. He argued that only the widow of a martyr would stand a chance of winning. But he knew she was inexperienced. So the deal reached to have a united Opposition was Cory would be president as a figurehead but Doy Laurel would be prime-minister to run the government. After the Snap Elections when Marcos had departed, Cory issued an executive order appointing Doy as PM but Joker Arroyo who wanted to be the "little" president had it rescinded. Doy was downgraded to foreign minister. The Americans saw this as a breach of their agreement and were furious at Cory. Bosworth defended Cory infuriating US Secretary of State George Schultz and was sent to the deep freezer. He was replaced by Nicholas Platt. US Senator Ted Kennedy, the brother of JFK, called Cory "a stupid woman." Later, I advised Cory to dump Joker Arroyo. She followed my advice but the damage had already been done.

4. The December 1, 1989 was the most serious of the coups against Cory. Doy and JPE had resigned beforehand. A July CIA report said the Insurgency had grown to 30,000 armed men. The military was dissatisfied. The Americans blamed Joker and his human rights friends for this state of affairs. Butz Aquino suggested I act as the backchannel to the Americans to try to save Cory's government. During my discussions over a secure telephone line to Washington, I was told they were open to a civilian-military junta headed by JPE. I told them I didn't think it was a viable option. It could lead to civil war, I said. How would that serve their interests on the US bases? They asked me for a guarantor. Without checking with FVR because time was short, I offered him as the guarantor. I told the Americans, you can trust him, can't you? They asked me to stand by while they discussed it in Washington. Over an hour later, they called me to say they were sending their jets from Clark to buzz the rebels on the ground. I announced the coming of the jets before US Ambassador Nicholas Platt did. PDI columnist Larry Henares wrote about in his articles dated December 3 and 8.

5. Butz Aquino handed Cory a transcript of my discussions with the Americans. After reading it, she realized I had made a deal to save her government. The deal was FVR would succeed her as president. She honored her word to me and endorsed FVR. When FVR was running for the presidency, I told him he would win but by not more than 25 percent of the votes. The finally tally was 23.58 percent. Until today, FVR doesn't know how he won. It is a secret between me and God.

All this I wrote in my memoirs which was published in the US in 2009. My American friends read it. FVR read it. They had no comments to make because it was carefully documented.

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