Why the Martial Law Plan of President Ferdinand E. Marcos is called the “Oplan Sagittarius”?

            Oplan Sagittarius is the Master Plan of a multi-faceted operation for the declaration of martial law: the apparatus, the scheme, the mechanism of martial law itself. Sagittarius also provided the legal basis for Proclamation 1081 by enumerating the conditions and situations that made martial law necessary. It contained the detailed account of the places targeted for a military take-over (such as airports, shipping ports, communication networks, transportation networks, the mass media, the guns and ammunition, the loose firearms of the citizenry…) [and it] also named special units that were to implement the initial takeover, with the backing of the entire armed forces in the Philippines, if ever the need arose.1

           In the Senate, using information leaked to him by friends of friends in the military, Senator Benigno S. Aquino revealed the existence of “Oplan Sagittarius.” During a September 13, 1972 privilege speech in the Senate floor, thus exposed what was known as “Operation Sagittarius”. The Senator said he had received a top-secret military plan given by Marcos himself to place Metro Manila and outlying areas under the control of the Philippine Constabulary as a prelude to Martial Law. Marcos was going to use the bombings, which includes the Plaza Miranda Bombing, in Metro Manila as a justification for his takeover and subsequent authoritarian rule.2

            It was alleged that a plan of action had existed as early as 1965. Even with Aquino’s revelation, no one opposed the plan because no one was certain that the plan would be carried out. As for identifying the person who leaked the plan, Primitivo Mijares gave a hint. He said that when the plan for imposing martial law was finalized, he distributed copies to various high-ranking officials in the military and the intelligence network. The names of the recipients of the distributed copies were zodiac signs corresponding to the first letter or initial of the surname of the person who received the plan. The copy code “Sagittarius” went to General Marcos Soliman; thus, when the plan did not know of the existence of “Oplan Sagittarius.” They knew of a plan with a different zodiac name.Marcos had carefully planned the project so that if someone turned on him, he would be able to take immediate action.3

Excerpts from the book “The Conjugal Dictatorship” by Primitivo Mijares4

            “One of the best kept secrets of the martial law planning of Marcos was that, when he had finalized the plan and he had come to a decision to impose it, he distributed the copies of the plan in sealed envelopes to the military officials and leaders of the intelligence community. He took great care and caution to assign different Zodiac code-names to the copies he handed out to the would-be martial law enforcers. The first letter of each code-name corresponded to the first letter of the surname of the recipient. The copy that code-named “Sagittarius” went to Gen. Marcos Soliman, a Pampango who was the chief of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA). It was so easy and convenient then to pinpoint Soliman as the source of Aquino. Thus, ranking officers of the armed forces did not have to commit mental dishonesty when they denied the existence of “Oplan Sagittarius.” They were not aware of any game plan by that code-name. However, they did acknowledge to newsmen that the contingency plan was the martial law plan itself.

            There was a tragic postscript to the leakage of Soliman’s copy to Aquino. A few days after the declaration of martial law, Soliman, a relative of Mayor Villegas, was reported in the press to have died of a heart attack. The truth is that he was shot dead by Metrocom troopers personally dispatched by President Marcos to arrest and detain him at Camp Crame for “tactical interrogation” for the leakage of “Oplan Sagittarius.” The general public noted, however, that the President did not issue a message of condolence to the general’s family. Last honors due a departed general denied Soliman by the armed forces; the Manila police department, which Soliman headed for some time during the incumbency of President Macapagal, was not allowed to render him honors.”

 

This was how Oplan Sagittarius came known to be as the Master Plan for the implementation of Martial Law (Proclamation 1081) in the Republic of the Philippines under the Marcos Regime.

 

References:

1Ferdinand Marcos and the Philippines: The Political Economy of Authoritarianism by Albert F. Celoza page 31-32 – http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=Sp3U1oCNKlgC&pg=PA31&lpg=PA31&dq=oplan+sagittarius&source=bl&ots=wNV-IlHEL7&sig=OxC_owirQXDo4KAqMQeiV1Jecfk&hl=tl&sa=X&ei=CwquT4TKHuiHmQXiq-mKCQ&sqi=2&ved=0CHQQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=oplan%20sagittarius&f=false

2 Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines – http://www.gov.ph/featured/declaration-of-martial-law/

3 Ferdinand Marcos and the Philippines: The Political Economy of Authoritarianism by Albert F. Celoza page 31-32 – http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=Sp3U1oCNKlgC&pg=PA31&lpg=PA31&dq=oplan+sagittarius&source=bl&ots=wNV-IlHEL7&sig=OxC_owirQXDo4KAqMQeiV1Jecfk&hl=tl&sa=X&ei=CwquT4TKHuiHmQXiq-mKCQ&sqi=2&ved=0CHQQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=oplan%20sagittarius&f=false

4 The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos by Primitivo Mijares – page 143

5 Autobiography of Gen. Marcos Soliman – http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~camiling/bio/solimanm.htm

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5 thoughts on “Why the Martial Law Plan of President Ferdinand E. Marcos is called the “Oplan Sagittarius”?

  1. Rosario P. Garcia-Torotoro says:

    I was surprised with ur highly informative article! I din’t know about this until I have read what u’ve written. Good Luck…Choi.

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  2. There’s no doubt nagkatotoo nga ang sinabi ni President Ferdinand E. Marcos sa ating bansa tungkol sa mga proyektong kanyang nasimulan na at maipagpatuloy pa sana ng Administrasyong Aquino…ngunit ito’y tinanggihan ni Cory..kaya sinabi ni President Marcos “20 YEARS FROM NOW BAGSAK NA ANG PILIPINAS” 1986-2013 more than 27 yrs. past sino-sino’ng mga successor niya ang hinigitan o pinantayan siya sa pag-papaunlad ng Pilipinas??? more than 2.3 million lang na mga Manileño ang nag-sama-sama sa tinatawag nilang “PAG-BABAGO” (OLIGARCHY) it is only 2% from 55 million+ na Filipino sa bansa, kaya nga di ramdam ng mga taga Probinsiya ang Martial Law noon dahil sa Maynila lang nag-kagulo. People Power???? Divine Revolution??? Democracy??? nasaan???. President Marcos declared Martial Law…hindi upang pahirapan ang taumbayan to “CONTROL THE RISK” and “PROTECT US FROM COMMUNIST”. Yes, it is true na marami ang nakaranas ng kaharasan sa panahong Marcos pero mali ang sasabihing “KAHARASAN NI MARCOS” hindi ganito’ng Pinuno si Marcos ginamit niya ang buong makakaya niya para makontrol ang “KILUSANG-KUMUNISTA” sa ating bansa…but siya pa ang naging masama..tama ba??? binulag ng taumbayan ang kanilang sariling mga mata sa “KASINUNGALINGAN”….kung talagang masama si President Marcos sa kapanahunang iyon ng nagkasakit si Ninoy..ba’t pa tinulungan pa niya itong umalis at maipagamot sa Amerika????…Marcos facilitated Ninoy’s trip to U.S for a heart surgery along with entire Aquino family dahil sa di nakakaalam..si Marcos at Aquino ay tunay na mag-kaibigan they were in one brotherhood. Why would Ninoy having knowledge of the plot against his life, risk going home…And talk to the man who supposedly wanted him dead??? Ninoy was never treat to Marcos..Ninoy was Marcos’ choice as his successor. Marcos had plenty of time to kill Ninoy from 1972-1980. Why was he lenient with the death penalty and let Ninoy get a heart operation in U.S??? Only to have him killed infront of the watching world, in broad daylight??? On U.S magazine interview by Mother Jones in January 1983 to Ninoy Aquino he said: “Marcos will keep me alive, because the moment I die, I am a Martyr, like Martin Luther King, and he wouldn’t want that”. The Revolution…Marcos was sick and dying the chess piece was in their places…Marcos cronies, allegation of corruption, Grave illness-Lupus, foreign-induced economic crisis, death of Ninoy. Marcos losing power..military conspirators Enrile and Honasan planned to attack Malacañang and run the country under “Military Junta”. President Marcos won the 1986 snap election vs. Cory a reluctant housewife with no experience in politics massive election cheating on both sides reported Enrile and Honasan took advantage of situation began attack to Malacañang, President Marcos was informed about attack “GARISSON THE PALACE” PC Chief Fidel Ramos defected to the rebels..the Armed Forces split in half..soldiers told: “If you don’t want to joine rebellion, don’t do anything. Stay where you are” The battle-hardened, but still Marines were “LOYAL TO THEIR CHIEF OF COMMANDER MARCOS”..descended upon EDSA to arrest “REBEL OFFICERS”. On order of rebels, Cardinal Jaime Sin called upon innocent Manileños Hakot Crowds, Communists, Curious Civillians, and the Yellow-Army to flock to EDSA civillians unaware of events-were thrown in a harm’s way “People Power was BORN”. An interview to Sister Terry Burias she said: “To me Sin’s voice is like the voice of God” the voice of God nga ba????. The EDSA Revolution 1986 was peacefully and non-violent struggle by combined forces of ARCHBISHOP, OPPOSITION, OLIGARCHS, COMMUNIST, and MILITARY OFFICERS..ending the 20 yrs ruled of President Marcos and his cronies EDSA Revolution was only “PEACEFUL AND NON-VIOLENT” because of one completely ignored and silenced FACT….”My ORDER is NOT to ATTACK” President Ferdinand Marcos ordered to Marines on EDSA. President Marcos called as the iron-man, but still he is a GOD FEARING leader, a LOVING father to her wife EMELDA MARCOS and to his son’s and daughters’. PRESIDENT FERDINAND EDRALIN MARCOS IS THE TRUE “HERO”. Peace be with you be blessed to MARCOS FAMILY. IN GOD WE AND I TRUST.

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