Although the proper name for them would be Omega 12 (read below why), people recall them as the Rolex 12. These twelve were primarily responsible for many human rights atrocities, that include torture, murder, seizures of property, displacement from homes, and arrest and detention without due process of people opposed to Marcos.
(The following text is from FilipiKnow. The quoted reference below however is available on most references and now available in original form from WikiLeaks.)
The martial law was not a one-man endeavor. In fact, Marcos sought the help of his ’12 apostles’, later known as the “Rolex 12” (named after the Rolex watches that Marcos gave to them as gifts).
But according to a 1974 confidential memo of then US Ambassador to Manila William Sullivan, Marcos gave the 12 military officers gold Omega watches, not Rolexes. Hence, the proper term would be “Omega 12.”
Before declaring the martial law in 1972, Marcos consulted with the Omega 12, and their plans were contained in a confidential document called Oplan Sagittarius. Five members of the Omega 12, according to Tomas Diaz, even helped create the decrees of Proclamation 1081 before all 12 of them finalized Marcos’ plan.
The following are the official members of the “Omega 12”:
- Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile
- Philippine Constabulary chief Maj. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos
- National Intelligence Security Authority chief Maj. Gen. Fabian Ver
- Lt. Col. Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr.
- Army chief Maj. Gen. Rafael Zagala
- Constabulary vice-chief Brig Gen. Tomas Diaz
- Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Espino
- Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Jose Rancudo
- Navy chief Rear Admiral Hilario Ruiz
- ISAFP chief Brig. Gen. Ignacio Paz
- Metrocom chief Brig Gen. Alfredo Montoya, and
- Rizal province Constabulary head Col. Romeo Gatan.