January 9, 1954
The President’s week
Thursday, Dec. 31, 1953 — On his first day in office, President Ramon Magsaysay rose from bed at 4:30 a.m. and motored to Cavite to observe the peace and order situation there. He visited the families of the victims in the murders committed by goons in that province last election day. The President told newsmen later in the day that he could not sleep the previous night after having received a report that the goons pardoned by ex-President Quirino last week were boisterously celebrating and many peaceful citizens had fled to Manila. He said that he had sent a battalion of the armed forces to Cavite to protect the civilian population.
During the day, the President also directed Enrique Quema, a Malacañan assistant to go to Ilocos Sur where terrorists were reportedly still on the rampage; ordered an investigation of poll terrorism in San Manuel, Pangasinan, wherethere had been a plot to assassinate him during the campaign; appointed Manuel Manahan as chief of his complaints and action commission and directed him to start sweeping out grafters from the government and prosecuting criminal elements in the country. He also took a hand in the Monroy murder case by ordering Justice Secretary Pedro Tuason to confer with Mayor A. H. Lacson on ways and means of securing the prosecution of those responsible for the killing of Manuel P. Monroy on June 15, 1953.
Friday, Jan. 1 — The common people turned out en masse to attend President and Mrs. Magsaysay’s first “at home” in Malacañan today. Men, women and children, many of them barefooted, many others in slippers or in bakya, streamed through the palace gates, milled around the President and shook hands with him, and then walked in and out of the rooms. Although the reception was scheduled to start at 10 a.m., the people started gathering at 7:30. It was supposed to close at 5 p.m., but the people stayed till much later.
Protocol Officer Manuel Zamora said that around 80,000 people entered the palace grounds. The visitors drank 19,200 bottles of softdrinks and ate 10,000 sandwiches.
A feature of the President’s “at home” was the exchange of toasts between the chief executive and the diplomatic corps. For the first time, the President offered his toast with a cup of basi, the Ilocano drink, and some of the diplomats followed suit.