that’s senate president juan ponce enrile in a howie severino interview two days ago. here’s his version of the september 22, 1972 ambush according to inquirer:
… his three-vehicle convoy was driving through Wack Wack subdivision on his way home to Dasmariñas Village from Camp Aguinaldo where he had just briefed top military officers on the implementation of martial law.
“A speeding car rushed and passed the escort car where I was riding. Suddenly, it opened several bursts of gunfire toward my car and sped away. The attack was so sudden that it caught everyone by surprise. No one in the convoy was able to fire back,” Enrile said in the book.
Oscar Lopez, who lived in Wack Wack where the ambush supposedly took place, narrated his memory of that fateful night in the 2000 book, “Phoenix: The Saga of the Lopez Family.”
“After the shooting died down, I went out. I took a peek at what was happening outside my fence, and I saw this car riddled with bullets. Nobody was hurt; there was no blood. The car was empty,” Lopez said in the book.
The car was Enrile’s. At the time, Lopez did not know who owned the car, but he did know “it had been no ambush.”
“Our driver happened to be bringing our car into our driveway at around that time, so he saw the whole thing. He told me that there was this car that came by and stopped beside a Meralco post. Some people started riddling it with bullets to make it look like it was ambushed. But nobody got killed or anything like that. My driver saw this. He was describing it to me,” Lopez said.
we need to know what enrile really said. maybe enrile remembers it correctly, he only said that the ambush was “staged,” and since media didn’t ask, staged by whom, it is now open to interpretation; had the question been asked, then enrile might have answered, by the dissidents (as it seems he is alleging, correct me if i’m wrong), and we would not be arguing about this now.
and then, again, if it had been a real ambush by the communists, and he had had a chance to say that it was staged by the communists, that would have sounded oh-so-like marcos, di ba, and it would have worked against him. why even bring it up at such a time when he was appealing for our sympathy and support? why would he, master of spin, even risk being likened to marcos who blamed everything on the communists?
the consensus of countless people, filipinos and foreigners, who heard that presscon is that he said, in effect, that it was faked. and it makes sense, considering that at the time, he was out to convince us that he had turned his back on marcos, and what better way than to confirm what we had suspected all along about that ambush, and also about cheating in cagayan. of course we lapped it all up, it was all so deliciously anti-marcos.
so now he’s saying he said nothing of the kind. it was a true ambush. which means what, we all misheard him in feb 22,
1972 1986 and it’s taken him this long to straighten us out?
how about, let’s hear those radio veritas tapes of that presscon. i’ve tried “Listen to History: The Veritas/Radyo Bandido Broadcasts – February 22-25, 1986.” Interaksyon Online. February 2012 but i can’t find the ambush quote in the replays that are putol-putol. maybe i just missed it. how about uploading the 7 pm presscon in one go? are there competent transcripts of the proceedings?
but the real question is, why is enrile suddenly so keen now, after 26 long years, to make the point that it was a real ambush. is he playing with us? are lawyers betting, he’s so galing, he can convince the people that it was for real, even if he has said it was fake? siguro naman hindi, but that would be wild.
the only other explanation that occurs to me is that it could be in defense of marcos. perhaps he thinks it would make marcos smell less foul if we deleted from our memory banks the fake ambush; after all, marcos did not need such a pretext to declare martial law that night?
we believed him then, but he’s saying we heard wrong then. so why should we believe him now, we may be hearing him wrong yet again. once burned, twice shy.