REPLYING to Sen. Heherson Alvarez’s letter, Raissa Espinosa-Robles, who wrote the PCIJ three-part report on current charter change initiatives of the Arrroyo government, clarified that the mention of the former senator’s name was not in connection with the approval of the entire 1973 Constitution.
“You were mentioned as among those who had voted “yes” to approve Marcos’s awesome powers that were inserted in the Transitory Provisions on October 20, 1972,” said Robles.
Robles used as reference the minutes of the ConCon’s session on October 20, 1972 which recorded the voting results.
Page 20 of the minutes listed Alvarez as being absent during the voting on the draft Transitory Provisions. But marginal notes made by the secretariat showed that he cast his “Yes” vote in writing before the Special Committee of Three on October 25, 1972. (Pages 19 to 26 of the ConCon session minutes can be viewed here.)
An amended motion introduced by delegate and floor leader Edmundo Cea allowed delegates who were officially absent that day until October 25, 1972 to personally submit their votes on the issue before the plenary session or to the chairmen of the Committees on Credentials and Electoral Protests, on Transitory Provisions, and on Legal Affairs jointly.
Below is the full text of Robles’s reply:
May 2, 2006
Dear Senator Alvarez,
I fully agree with you and the records do show that you “never” signed the Marcos Constitution.
But your name was mentioned in the article, not in connection with the approval of the entire 1973 Constitution. You were mentioned as among those who had voted “yes” to approve Marcos’ awesome powers that were inserted in the Transitory Provisions on October 20, 1972.
To quote from Part 1 of the article published by PCIJ:
“Marcos was soon promising the convention delegates automatic membership in the Interim National Assembly if they approved the transitory provisions. He made the same promise to all congressmen and senators who expressed their desire, in writing, to serve in the assembly. One of those congressmen — a man from the opposition Liberal Party named Jose de Venecia Jr. — immediately signed a statement praising the “sweeping Marcos reforms, which coincided with the reformist goals of the opposition.”
“(Now Speaker of the House, de Venecia is among the major proponents of charter change and has made no secret of his wish to have an interim parliament by July.)
“Working with unprecedented speed, the ConCon decided on Oct. 20, 1972 to suspend the rules requiring second and third readings and immediately put Marcos’s awesome powers to a vote: 264 said “yes,” while only 14 had the courage to vote “no” — among them, Marcelo Fernan, the late Supreme Court
chief justice, Margarito Teves, now finance secretary, and Macapagal’s provincemate, Jose Suarez.
“Several other ConCon delegates had been hauled to prison when martial law was declared and they refused to endorse the new charter; among them, businessman Jose Concepcion Jr., economist Alejandro Lichauco, Antonio Araneta, former vice president Teofisto Guingona Jr., and Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr.
“Among the many who voted yes were former Supreme Court chief justice Hilario Davide Jr., Supreme Court associate justice Adolfo Azcuna, Senators Edgardo Angara and Richard Gordon, lawyer Romeo Capulong, the late senator Raul Roco and former senator Heherson Alvarez.
So that readers may judge for themselves the evidence on the matter, I have asked PCIJ to upload pages 19 to 26 of the Constitutional Convention’s “minutes of the session” of Friday, October 20, 1972. The pages record the voting results.