Although Proclamation 1081 was dated September 21, 1972, conflicting accounts say it was signed either on September 17, 22, or 23. We are reprinting the diary entry of President Marcos on the days leading to the implementation of Martial Law on September 23, 1972, to look at the state of mind of the dictator.
September 21, 1972 (Thursday)
Delayed by the hurried visit of Joe Aspiras and Meling Barbero who came from the Northern bloc of congressmen and senators who want to know if there is going to be Martial Law in 48 hours as predicted by Ninoy Aquino.
Of course Imelda and I denied it.
But Johnny Ponce Enrile, Gen. Paz, Gen Nanadiego, Kits Tatad and I with Piciong Tagmani doing the typing finished all the papers, (the proclamation and the orders) today at 8.00PM.
Amb. Byroade came to see me at 11.15 AM and was apparently interested to know whether there would be Martial Law. He seemed to favor it when I explained it is intended to primarily reform our society and eliminate the communist threat. But he suggested a proclamation before the American elections may be used by MacGovern, the Democratic Presidetial candidate as proof of the failure of the foreign policy of the present president.
I told him I did not want it said that he was intervening in internal matters of the Philippine government. And that no decision has been arrived at but that I was under pressure and there seemed to be no other solution. He agreed that there seemed to be no other solution but he told Gen. Romualdez later this day when Kokoy went to see him that his impression was that Martial Law would be proclaimed after the elections. How he came to arrive at this conclusion I can only guess. But this man cannot make logical deductions. I must be wary.
He wanted Kokoy to go ahead and work in California for Nixon. There are 200,000 Filipino votes and California is crucial.
This morning I told him I was for:
1. The government adopting the position on party that the title of Americans over private land was final on private parties but not to the government so that Americans could dispose of their property.
2. On the Sisteneco (?) case, that Americans holding equity in corporations could become directors, executive managers only if the area of investment is highly technical and no qualified Filipinos are available.
3. On the retail trade of sales of oil in bulk to industrial consumers, amendatory and clarifactory legislation is necessary.
There seems to be a pipeline to Ninoy Aquino as he seems to know that the proclamation will be made this weekend.
We have to check this. It is dangerous. Even the Concon is agog with the speculation.
September 22, 1972 (Friday)
Sec. Juan Ponce Enrile was ambushed near Wack-Wack at about 8:00 pm tonight. It was a good thing he was riding in his security car as a protective measure. His first car which he usually uses was the one riddled by bullets from a car parked in ambush.
He is now at his DND office. I have advised him to stay there.
And I have doubled the security of Imelda in the Nayon Pilipino where she is giving dinner to the UPI and AP as well as other wire services.
This makes the martial law proclamation a necessity.
Imelda arrived at 11:35 PM in my Electra bullet proof car to be told that Johnny had been ambushed, it is all over the radio.
Congress is not adjourning tonight as the conference committee on the Tariff and Customs Code could not agree on a common version. They adjourn tomorrow.
I conferred with Speaker Villareal, Roces, Yñiguez and Barbero who are going to Moscow and they are ready to leave on Sunday. So they are decided to finish the session same.
Senate President Gil Puyat insists that the next special session be early January.
And they will not be able to pass the urgent bills like the rehabilitation bill.
September 23, 1972 (Saturday)
Things have moved according to plan although out of the total 200 target personalities in the plan only 52 have been arrested, including the three senators, Aquino, Diokno and Mitra and Chino Roces and Teddy Locsin.
At 7:15 PM I finally appeared on a nationwide TV and Radio broadcast to announce the proclamation of martial law, the general orders and instructions.
I place them in Envelope XXXV-C
I was supposed to broadcast at 12:00AM but technical difficulties prevented it. We had closed all TV stations. We had to clear KBS which broadcast it live. VOP and PBS broadcast it by radio nationwide.
The broadcast turned out rather well and Mons. Gaviola as well as the usual friends liked it. But my most exacting critic, Imelda, found it impressing. I watched the replay at 9:00 PM.
I have amended curfew from 8-6 to 12-4.
Arms bearing outside residence without permit punishable by death.
Kits Tatad read the proclamation, the orders and the instructions after my talk.
Have started checking on Zone Commanders. Gen. Encarnacion of the IV does not seem to have been systematic. He still talks of some people like Mayor Cabili criticizing the proclamation of martial law as premature although grudgingly extending cooperation under Gen. Order No. 3 for all offices to continue functioning.
Talk to Imee and Bongbong. London newspaper had it I arrested the opposition, no mention of communists.
And called up Sec. Romulo and Amb. Romualdez before them. New York Times at least was sure handed and spoke of martial law after the attempt of assassination of my Secretary of National Defense.
Ordered all wire services and embassies to be furnished the speech, proclamation, orders and instructions.