In 1971, a Constitutional Convention was called to draft a new basic charter to replace the 1935 Constitution. President Marcos was then nearing the end of his second term in office, and the law expressly prohibited him to run for reelection. He saw an opportunity to perpetuate himself in power if the new Constitution allowed him to do so. He tried to ensure that as many of the delegates elected to the Convention would support him.
But there was also strong opposition to Marcos’ continuing monopolization of power. Many delegates were prepared to block Marcos’ plan to shift to a parliamentary form of government in which he could be prime minister, and where an opening could be made for his wife’s own ambitions. Meanwhile, a set of transitory provisions would prevent block legal objections to the planned changeover.
Eduardo T. Quintero was a retired ambassador who had been one of the first to be recruited into the country’s diplomatic service. A native of Tacloban and distantly related to Imelda Romualdez Marcos, he was said to have been elected to the Constitutional Convention as delegate of Leyte province’s first district with the family’s support. At 70, he was older than most of the other delegates.
In May 1972, before all the assembled members of the Convention, Quintero unexpectedly made a public disclosure that the media called a “bombshell.” He had been receiving, he said, money in envelops, amounting to over P11,000 which almost certainly came from Marcos’wife. He set all the envelops aside, waiting for the right time for him to speak out. “I want to do the correct thing,” he said.
Later exposés revealed that other Con-Con delegates were similarly bribed by the Marcoses, or acted as their agents, in order to get their votes. Public opinion believed Quintero, the “whistle blower.”
Marcos launched personal attacks against him, and Imelda Marcos tried to gain sympathy by claiming she had suffered a miscarriage due to the scandal. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) raided Quintero’s home and seized bills amounting to P390,000. Charges of perjury, bribery, and graft and corruption were slapped on Quintero. But many came to his defense, and he did not waver in his testimonies against the presidential couple.
Several months later, Marcos imposed martial law as he had threatened to do many times before. In ill health, Quintero was allowed to return to Leyte quietly, and in 1977 was able to leave for the United States with his family. There he kept in touch with the America-based anti-Marcos opposition, and wrote a book which was to be entitled “The Envelops of Imelda Marcos.” Today, the manuscript remains unpublished and certain chapters are said to be mysteriously missing.
After the Marcos dictatorship was ousted, Quintero was vindicated by the Supreme Court in 1988, when finally it ruled that the NBI raid on his house was orchestrated “from beginning to end” to destroy him.
Eduardo T. Quintero died poor at the age of 84 in San Francisco, USA.
PARENTS Eduardo Quintero Sr. and Baldomera Torcelo
SPOUSE Tarcila Pariña / 3 (No. of children)
EDUCATION Elementary: Leyte Intermediate School
Secondary: Leyte High School
College: University of the Philippines, Philippine Law School