Edsa 1 – people power

A defining moment for filipinos or just a footnote in history? I could barely recall the accounts that led to these events for I was a youngster then. So I searched the net for edsa revolt and voila here is my version of edsa revolution or a sum of stories pics. Much have been said of “People Power” that ousted Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. It was a series of nonviolent and prayerful mass street demonstrations in the Philippines from February 21 to 25 in 1986. The demonstrations took place at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), over a million Filipinos was involved. For the first time, poor Filipinos and rich Filipinos, Communists and Church leaders, classes which would never have associated in the past, gathered together in national unity and put their lives at stake to fight for a common cause, to overthrow their dictator of more than 20 years, Ferdinand Marcos, who had held power of the Philippines under martial law. So 22 years has passed and what now? Do we still remember the essence and significance of it. I think not, it was just an event that occured and now just a footnote of the past. But to continue further to my research here are some more details about it. Well I must first tell you this by searching edsa 1, I stumbled upon this website www.calaveracomics.com.
The people power poster was made by them aside from many other things. Anyways back to my story.
Let’s get back to them one by one.

Ferdinand E. Marcos, born September 11, 1917, was the eldest of the four children of Mariano Marcos and Josefa Edralin. In 1965, Marcos won the Presidential Election from incumbent president Diosdado Macapagal. He later sought and won an unprecedented second term in 1969 against Liberal Party Senator Sergio Osmeña, Jr. Through a series of Constitutional changes, Marcos found a way for himself to hold power until 1986. President Marcos and his wife Imelda managed to extract approximately ten bullion dollars, or three times the annual Gross National Product – a sum that won them recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records as the planet’s premier thieves.

Maria Corazón Sumulong Cojuangco, born on January 25, 1933, to a Chinese Filipino father and an ethnic Filipina mother, in 1955 she married Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. Ninoy Aquino rose to be governor and senator, then under the Marcos regime was arrested, sentenced to death, and exiled. Cory accompanied him into exile in 1980. After his death she entered politics as head of the Laban coalition, and stood against Ferdinand Marcos in the presidential election of February 1986. She is considered to have been the voice of the Revolution

Born in Concepción in Tarlac province on November 27, 1932, Aquino became mayor of the town in 1955 at the age of only 22. In the same year he married Corazón Cojuangco . He became governor of Tarlac in 1961, secretary-general of the Liberal Party in 1966, and a senator in 1967. Aquino was a leading opposition politician in the Philippines during the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos. When President Marcos declared martial law in 1972 Aquino was imprisoned on charges of murder and subversion. He was sentenced to death in 1977. This was commuted into exile to allow medical treatment in the United States in 1980. On August 21, 1983, Aquino was assassinated at the Manila International Airport on returning home from exile, and widow Corazon Aquino became the focus of the opposition and eventually replaced Marcos as president.

Minster of Defense, Enrile was a child born out of wedlock grew under impoverishe
d circumstances to become an undaunted fighter for the guerrilla movement during World War II. As a young military man, he rose in the ranks of the Philippine Military. After the assassination of Benigno Aquino in 1983, he retracted his support for the dictatorship of Marcos to join the revolutionary forces. Alongside Fidel V. Ramos, they gave the revolution a boost from the military to support the rising revolution against Ferdinand Marcos

Ramos was the Vice Chief-of-Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and headed thePhilippine Constabulary (now known as the Philippine National Police) during the Ferdinand Marcos regime, but he eventually turned sides for the revolutionary movement along with Juan Ponce Enrile. Ramos eventually became the 12th president of the Philippines in 1992 with the support of then-president Corazon Aquino.

Honasan was a young militaryman assigned as chief security officer for Juan Ponce Enrile during the revolution. His role in the success of the revolution earned him numerous medals for his bravery and valor.

Archbishop Cardinal Sin was one of the influential voices of the Philippine Catholic Church. He was able to turn the tide in favor of the revolution with the belief that God was on their side. His voice bound the Philippine people, a predominantly Catholic people, and turned them into a force to topple the Marcos’ dictatorship


Martial Law

Using the wave of lawlessness and the threat of a Communist insurgency as justification, Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972 by virtue of Proclamation No. 1081. Under the proclamation, press freedom and other civil liberties were curtailed, Congress and media establishments were closed down, and the arrest of opposition leaders and militant activists, including his staunchest critic Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. were ordered.

Constitutionally barred from seeking another term beyond 1973 and with his political enemies in jail, Marcos reconvened and maneuvered the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention to adopt a parliamentary form of government to pave the way for him to stay in power beyond 1973. Sensing that the constitution would be rejected in a nationwide plebiscite, Marcos decreed the creation of citizen’s assemblies which anomalously ratified the constitution. Even before the Constitution could be fully implemented, Marcos added several amendments to it including the prolonging of martial law and permitting himself to be President and concurrent Prime Minister.

The assassination

The assassination of Ninoy Aquino, Marcos’ main opposition leader, upon his return to the Philippines in August 21, 1983, after a long period of exile transformed the opposition movement overnight from a small isolated movement to a mass movement involving people across all classes of society in Metro Manila. The middle class was involved, the lower class was involved, and business leaders whom Marcos irked during martial law supported the movement.

The assassination showed the increasing incapacity of the Marcos regime—Ferdinand was mortally ill when the assassination occurred while his cronies mismanaged the country in his absence—and outraged Aquino’s supporters that he would allow the assassination of a key figure of the opposition to happen.

The events of the revolution started when two key leaders of Marcos’ military, through which the dictator exercised his power, withdrew their support for Marcos. On 6:45 p.m., February 22, 1986, Saturday, The Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile and the Vice Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos announced at a press conference their withdrawal of support and accusing Marcos of cheating in the snap presidential elections. They declared that Corazon Aquino was the rightful president.Subsequently, they barricaded themselves in two military camps: Ramos at Camp Crame and Enrile at the Ministry of National Defense in Camp Aguinaldo. Both camps faced each other across EDSA. With only a few hundred troops behind them, Enrile and Ramos prepared for the inevitable attack by Marcos-loyal troops led by General Fabian Ver, the Armed Forces Chief of Staff
The Catholic Church

Within one hour, in a message aired over Radio Veritas, the only non–government-controlled radio station, the highly influential Catholic Archbishop of Manila Jaime Cardinal Sin exhorted the Filipinos to come to the aid of the rebelling leaders by going to EDSA between Camp Crame and Aguinaldo and giving emotional support, food and other supplies. Many people, especially the priests and nuns, headed in troops to EDSA.

People Power

People went to EDSA until the numbers of people swelled up to the hundred thousands. Many of these people claimed that they came only with prayers and many came carrying statues of the Virgin Mary. The mood in the street was actually very festive, with many bringing whole families. The spirit despite the circumstances is a facet of Philippine culture, which celebrates good taym (“good time”) and festivity. Performers entertained the crowds, nuns and priests led prayer vigils, and people set up barricades—makeshift sandbags, trees, and vehicles—in several places along EDSA and intersecting streets.
Everywhere, people listened to Radio Veritas on their radios. Several groups sang Bayan Ko (My Land), which, since 1980, had become a patriotic anthem of the opposition. People frequently flashed the LABAN (fight) sign, which is an L formed with their thumb and index fingerShortly after lunch of February 23, Enrile and Ramos decided to consolidate their positions. Enrile crossed EDSA from Camp Aguinaldo to Camp Crame amidst cheers from the crowd.n the mid-afternoon, Radio Veritas relayed reports of the Marines massing near the camps in the east and tanks approaching in from the north and south. A contingent of Marines with tanks and armored vans, led by Brigadier General Artemio Tadiar, were stopped along Ortigas Avenue, about two kilometers from the camps, by tens of thousands of people. Nuns holding rosaries knelt in front of the tanks and men and women linked arms together to block the troops. Tadiar threathened the crowds but they did not budge. In the end, the troops were forced to retreat, surprisingly with no shot fired.

Channel 4

At around that time, June Keithley of Radio Veritas received reports that Marcos had left Malacañang Palace. His report was broadcasted to the people at EDSA. The crowd celebrated and even Ramos and Enrile went out from Crame to appear to the crowds. The jubilation was however short-lived as Marcos later appeared on television on the government-controlled Channel 4, declaring that he would not step down.

During this broadcast, Channel 4 suddenly went off the air. A contingent of reformist soldiers (the rebels), under Colonel Mariano Santiago was able to capture the Channel 4 station. Channel 4 was put back online, shortly after noon, with a voice declaring “This is Channel 4 serving the people again.” By this time, the crowds at EDSA had swelled to over a million. (Some estimates place them at two million.)

The Inaugurations

On the morning of February 25, Tuesday, at around 7 a.m., a minor clash occurred between loyal government troops and the reformists. Snipers stationed atop the government-owned Channel 9 tower near Channel 4 began shooting at the reformists. Many rebel soldiers surged to the station.

Later in the morning, Cory Aquino was inaugurated as the President of the Philippines in a simple ceremony at Club Filipino in Greenhills about a kilometer from Camp Crame. She was sworn in as President by Senior Associate Justice Claudio Teehankee and Laurel as Vice-President by Justice Vicente Abad Santos. The bible on which Aquino swore was held by Aurora Aquino, the mother of Ninoy Aquino. Attending the ceremonies were Ramos, who was then promoted to General, Enrile, and many politicians.

Outside Club Filipino all the way to EDSA, about two million people cheer and celebrate. Bayan Ko was sung after the Aquino’s oath-taking. Many people wore yellow, the color of Aquino’s campaign for presidency.An hour later, Marcos conducted his own inauguration at Malacañang. Hundreds of loyalist civilians attend the ceremony, shouting “Marcos, Marcos, Marcos pa rin! (We want Marcos!)”. On the Palace balcony, Marcos took his oath as President of the Philippines and broadcasted by the remaining government television channels. None of the invited foreign dignitaries attended the ceremony.
It was a Shakespearean moment, a king shorn of his power as he took his oath. Imelda Marcos sang one more rendition of Dahil Sa Iyo (Because of You), the couple’s theme song. After the inauguration, the Marcos family and their close associates hurriedly rushed to leave the Palace. The broadcast of the event was also cut off as rebel troops successfully capture the other stations.

By this time, tens of thousands of people massed at the barricades along Mendiola, only a hundred meters away from Malacañang. They were prevented from storming the Palace by loyal government troops securing the area. The angry demonstrators were pacified by priests who warned them not to be violent.

Marcos Flees

Marcos later talked to U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt asking for advice from the White House. Laxalt advises him to step down. In the afternoon, Marcos talks to Enrile asking for safe passage for him and his family. Finally, at 9:00 p.m., the Marcoses were transported by four American helicopters to Clark Air Base in Pampanga, before heading on to Guam, and finally to Hawaii.
When the news of Marcos’ departure reached the people, many rejoiced and danced. Over at Mendiola, the demonstrators were finally able to enter Malacañang, long denied to the Filipinos in the past decade. Some looting by overly angry protesters occurred, but mostly people wandered inside looking at the place where all the decisions which changed the course of Philippine history were made.

All over the world, people rejoiced and congratulated Filipinos they know. Almost overnight, the Philippines became a source of inspiration and admiration. Bob Simon, an anchorman at CBS declared: “We Americans like to think we taught the Filipinos democracy—well, tonight they are teaching the world.”

“Marcos’ finest hour”

The actual dialogue on TV went as follows:

Fabian Ver: We have to immobilize the helicopters they’ve got. We have two fighter planes flying now to strike at any time, sir.
Ferdinand Marcos: My order is not to attack.
Ver: They are massing civilians near our troops and we cannot keep on withdrawing. You asked me to withdraw yesterday….
Marcos (interrupting): My order is to disperse [them] without shooting them.
Ver: We cannot withdraw all the time…
Marcos: No, no, no! Hold on. You disperse the crowds without shooting them. You may use any other weapon…

via www.mtholyoke.edu and wikipedia

“. . . We are doing so at a time when the nation is torn, anguished, and bleeding,
when 54 million Filipinos cry for succor, when our countrymen are fast losing hope that nonviolent means can restore those freedoms . . .”
Joaquin “Chino” Roces
Chairman, Cory Aquino for President Movement
(from a speech delivered on October 15 1985)

One Response

  1. Hi there! Interesting post here sir. You might be interested in this certain post from my blog. I reprinted a statement by the late Antonio Zumel on the significance of the Ninoy Aquino assassination.

    At the time of the writing Zumel was said to be the chairman of the underground National Democratic Front. Thus, the article gives us a glimpse of the Marcos era from the vantage view of the Philippine Left.

    Here’s the link:

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