FORMER senator and 1971 Constitutional Convention delegate Heherson Alvarez wrote to the PCIJ to correct what he said was the “mistake” made in the first of a three-part series on the Arroyo government’s campaign to change the 1987 Constitution that he signed the Marcos constitution.
In his letter, the full text of which can be read below, Alvarez denied having affixed his signature to the Marcos-sponsored constitution, claiming that “even to the very last days, I did not compromise but continually remained underground to help topple the Marcos dictatorship.”
Marked for arrest by Marcos, he said he went underground and even rejected offers for his liberty made by fellow ConCon delegate Venancio Yaneza of Masbate in exchange for his participation in the deliberations of the convention and an assured seat in the proposed interim national assembly.
Below is the text of Alvarez’s letter:
May 2, 2006
MS. SHEILA S. CORONEL
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
I NEVER SIGNED THE MARCOS CONSTITUTION
BUT FOUGHT TO TOPPLE THAT DICTATORSHIP — ALVAREZ
Dear Ms. Coronel:
The special feature article entitled “Arroyo’s Charter Campaign Copies FM’s” written by Ms. Raissa Espinosa-Robles of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) claimed that I was “among the many who voted yes” to the Marcos-dictated Constitution of 1972.
To set the record straight, I did not sign the Marcos-sponsored Constitution. I was a delegate of the Constitutional Convention (ConCon) when Martial Law was declared.
I was marked for arrest and went underground, together with other ConCon delegates, including Bonifacio Gillego, who was part of our underground network.
At that time, I was contacted by Delegate Venancio Yaneza of Masbate who belonged to the Marcos administration party.
Venacio offered me freedom if I participated in the deliberations of the on-going ConCon, and that I would be a member of the proposed interim national assembly.
Two other delegates, who were also marked for arrest and were with us in hiding underground, took this option.
I rejected the offer to participate and continued to remain underground. Later, a shoot-to-kill order was issued against me if we did not surrender.
I then escaped and left for exile in the United States where I organized the overseas opposition. Together with the late Raul Manglapus, we founded the Movement for a Free Philippines (MFP).
Later, I founded the Ninoy Aquino Movement (NAM) for freedom, justice and democracy which worked to cut US military and economic aid to the Marcos regime.
I hope this helped rectify an error of Ms. Robles that I signed the Marcos Constitution. Precisely, even to the very last days, I did not compromise but continually remained underground to help topple the Marcos dictatorship.
HEHERSON T. ALVAREZ
Delegate, 1971 Constitutional Convention