The First Exiles
The First Exiles
Escaping from the Homeland
On September 22, 1972, a nationwide dragnet swept up hundreds of Filipinos deemed hostile to the sudden imposition of martial law that day. They included politicians, journalists, civil rights activists, lawyers, and suspected members of the Communist-leaning insurgent New People's Army. In the days to come, more people would be apprehended and moved to detention centers. President Marcos declared that this drastic action was necessary because these sectors had all threatened to overthrow the government. Marcos had been impelled to act, it was reported, because of an assassination attempt on Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile while he was reportedly riding in his car in the late evening of September 22. Senator Raul Manglapus was in a Tokyo hotel on September 23, on his way to California for a series of speaking engagements, when he read about the assassination attempt in the Japan Times. He had left Manila the previous afternoon. This chapter presents a slightly edited account of that day, which Manglapus wrote on October 15, 1983, in Washington, D.C. This account appears in A Pen for Democracy, a compilation of published articles, letters, and U.S. congressional testimonies compiled by the Movement for a Free Philippines. It omits details about how those who managed to escape the dragnet made it out of the country, because when it was written, Marcos was still in full control, rounding up more suspects.
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