In February 1986 when Juan Ponce Enrile thought he might die, he made a public ‘Act of Contrition’ where he revealed that the the 1972 ambush of himself that had been used as a pretext for declaring Martial Law had been faked.
As a result, people’s distrust of Enrile melted and they came by the thousands to protect him from the wrath of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who planned to have him arrested and imprisoned in Corregidor, if not shot.
I personally heard Enrile say his Act of Contrition on nationwide radio.
Beyond this, I had no other proof – at least until this weekend when I found in my personal archives a copy of March 9, 1986 of the weekly Asiaweek magazine. This edition hit the newsstands the week after the 1986 Edsa People Power.
Reporting for Asiaweek then, journalists Antonio Lopez (now owner-publisher of BizNewsAsia), Lisa Beyer and Lunigning Salazar jointly filed a story entitled Four Days that Ended an Era, which chronicled in detail what had happened from February 22 to 26, 1986. On page 32 of this particular Asiaweek edition, they wrote of Enrile’s stunning public declaration that the ambush on him, which Marcos had cited as one of the immediate reasons for justifying the imposition of Martial Law in 1972 was FAKE.
Not only that, Enrile also publicly said that his February 22, 1986 defection from Marcos was his ATONEMENT for that lie of an ambush. It was his way of saying ‘sorry’ to the nation.
Here is a portion of the Asiaweek article that contains this:
Last month, however, Enrile TOOK IT ALL BACK in his newly published memoir and said reports quoting him as calling his ambush “fake” were all idiotic and malicious. In his memoir, Enrile said of that February 22, 1986 press conference with foreign correspondents:
Another question to me was: Did I stage and fake my ambush to justify the declaration of martial law? I said, “No! I did not!”
This canard has been spread around for so long such that it has gained acceptance as the “truth”, no matter how much I tried to correct this patent falsehood.
As I have earlier said, there was no need for me to do that to justify the declaration of martial law. There was no need for other facts to justify the imposition of martial law. Proclamation No. 1081 of 21 September, 1972 recited fully and faithfully all the facts that President Marcos needed and used to justify the declaration of martial law in the country.
I drafted and prepared the documents that President Marcos used to declare martial law. I checked the facts contained in those documents. I had no doubt of their authenticity, veracity, and sufficiency to support and justify the declaration of martial law. Those facts were more than enough to justify the declaration of martial law.
The incessant claim that I staged and faked my ambush to justify the declaration of martial law was simply and obviously a malicious and idiotic effort to attack and defame me.
Besides, when my ambush happened, the order of President Marcos to place the country under martial law was already delivered by me to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the military operations to implement the order were already on-going. In other words, ambush or no ambush martial law was already an irreversible fact.
What could have prompted Enrile to retract
I read Enrile’s memoir with an eye to looking at what he thought was important to what was not. And how he described certain events.
It’s a fascinating read.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.