EDSA CELEBRATION THIS YEAR MARRED BY AQUINO'S SUPPORT OF ONLINE LIBEL PROVISION ACT
Every year, Filipinos commemorate the historic Edsa People Power, reliving the nation’s fight for freedom, democracy and unity. This year’s anniversary of Edsa I, however, “will be marked with such great irony,” said Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes on Sunday. He said President Benigno Aquino III’s support for the online libel provision in the Cybercrime Protection Act, as well as his appointment of a former police official to the martial law compensation board, had ruined the celebration. “Both instances are betrayals of what the people stood for in Edsa- freedom and justice. Both instances show the disconnect between Edsa and Aquino, how the latter has become the anti-thesis to people power,” Reyes said in a statement.
ALSO: Edsa I lessons lost on new generations
While teachers, both in college and basic education, proclaim they are doing their best to make Edsa I alive in the hearts and minds of today’s young, a better guide to what students actually learn and know about the event is to let them express it in their own words. This writer, judging a competition among elementary and high school student journalists during the 29th Teodoro F. Valencia-DepEd Search for the 10 Outstanding Journalists and School Publications in Metropolitan Manila, asked contestants to write about why Edsa I should be celebrated. The responses were profound, confused, frustrated and often hilarious. Many of the answers will lose their essence in translation. One knew exactly why he liked Edsa I: “If this did not happen, we will have no computers, we cannot use Facebook, we cannot use Twitter,” then belatedly added, “we will still be under martial law up to now.” An elementary student wrote in Filipino: “I believe Edsa I should not be given importance because many Filipinos still work as slaves for foreigners.”College history professors Maria Rita Reyes Cucio of San Beda College and Jovy F. Cuadra of Lyceum of the Philippines University say they are getting an increasing number of students who know Edsa I as just another holiday—no classes.
ALSO: Aquino: Online libel ruling won’t hinder freedom of expression
President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday said the public should not be bothered by the Supreme Court ruling upholding the online libel provision of the cybercrime law. “Will it hinder freedom of expression? I think that’s not the aim,” Aquino said during an ambush interview in Manila. The President, who admitted that he has yet to read the high court decision, said that while people have rights, there are also limitations. He also said it would not be fair to have libel for traditional media and not online. “If you switch to another format that would be exempted? I don’t think that’s acceptable,” he told media. “If you know you speak the truth, why be worried about libel,” he added.
INQBACK: EDSA 28 TIMELINE, FEB 24, 1986 DAY THREE
Inquirer Research - (Editor’s Note: The following chronology was distilled from books and Inquirer Archives about events leading up to what is called the “real” Edsa 28 years ago.)
12:20 a.m. June Keithley starts broadcasting over dzRJ (christened Radyo Bandido dzRB) by playing “Mambo Magsaysay.” 1 a.m. Church bells ring and word spreads that President Marcos is planning an attack. People again converge on Edsa; tires are set ablaze and sandbags and rocks are piled up to block the roads to Camp Crame. 3 a.m.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver is still unable to locate dzRJ, which is very near Malacañang....CONTINUES TO DAY TWO, DAY ONE.......read full reports below
ALSO: Why Ninoy still matters 30 years after he was murdered by the Marcos dictatorship
It was 1978. Ferdinand Marcos, hoping to legitimize his dictatorship in the eyes of the world, had called for elections for a new legislature. Marcos was confident he would win easily even if he let Ninoy Aquino, then the country’s most well-known political prisoner, join the campaign.
That was a big mistake. During a televised interview with journalists clearly aligned with the dictator, Aquino showed the country why Marcos feared him so much. It was a mesmerizing performance. He out-talked the panelists sent to discredit him, responding to questions and allegations, eloquently and brilliantly, shifting comfortably from English to Pilipino and back.
Marcos shouldn’t have let him out of prison. Ninoy clearly was a dangerous adversary who exposed the regime’s most glaring flaws. The regime had to resort to the most brazen forms of electoral fraud to “win.” But my views of Ninoy eventually evolved. By the time I entered UP Diliman in the early 80s, I saw Ninoy as neither a superhero nor a saint. Yes, he was an important figure in the fight against tyranny. But I had more questions about what he stood for, having been exposed to broader, more progressive ideas on the Diliman campus. Like many young people of on the UP Campus I grew more critical of Ninoy’s role in Philippine politics. He was a leading opponent of the regime, but in the eyes of many from my generation, he also represented the old-style, elite politics that caused many of the country’s problems in the first place.
READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:
Group says EDSA celebration this year marred by Aquino’s support of online libel
FROM THE FREEMAN: The silence that greeted the Malacañang announcement that President Aquino would be observing the Edsa celebration in Cebu instead of Manila was deafening, and one is hard put trying to put a finger on the reason why this is so. In the nearly three decades since Edsa was celebrated in honor of a people's bloodless revolt against tyranny, Manila has always been its venue, and rightly so. After all, it was there that the physical action of the event took place. To suddenly move, therefore, the venue of the celebration, especially to a place far removed from the site of the action, one would have thought that at the very least there ought to have been some comment pro or con to the Palace decision. But as they say in this day and age, there was deadma. Perhaps at this point there would already be some reaction. But judging by how these things go, it would be quite delayed, as if coming as an afterthought, not the kind of prompt kneejerking that often accompanies something stirring. According to Malacañang, feeling it needed to explain, the president wanted to be closer to the people by celebrating Edsa with the victims of recent calamities. That would have been believable, of course, had it not come a few days after he first snubbed Yolanda victims who came to see him, and who he scolded afterward. So then maybe the cold shoulder given the Edsa announcement is the natural reaction of people moved to confusion by mixed signals. Or it could be due to something far worse, a reason that reaches much farther than Aquino himself. Could it be that the people are tired of Edsa.
Aquino: Online libel ruling won’t hinder freedom of expression
AP FILE PHOTO
MANILA, FEBRUARY 24, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Kristine Angeli Sabillo - Every year, Filipinos commemorate the historic Edsa People Power, reliving the nation’s fight for freedom, democracy and unity.
This year’s anniversary of Edsa I, however, “will be marked with such great irony,” said Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes on Sunday.
He said President Benigno Aquino III’s support for the online libel provision in the Cybercrime Protection Act, as well as his appointment of a former police official to the martial law compensation board, had ruined the celebration.
“Both instances are betrayals of what the people stood for in Edsa- freedom and justice. Both instances show the disconnect between Edsa and Aquino, how the latter has become the anti-thesis to people power,” Reyes said in a statement.
The spokesperson said Aquino only “succeeded in highlighting the unfulfilled promises of Edsa” with many things remaining the same or even worsening under his administration.
“Edsa, however, also reminds us that true power lies with the people, and that they must use this power in the face of oppression,” Reyes added.
Last week, Aquino defended the online libel provision of the cybercrime law after it was upheld by the Supreme Court.
“Will it hinder freedom of expression? I think that’s not the aim,” he said.
Malacañang also asked critics to give former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director Lina Sarmiento a chance to serve as head of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board, which is tasked to oversee the distribution of P10-billion compensation for martial law victims.
Edsa I lessons lost on new generations By Linda B. Bolido Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:38 am | Monday, February 24th, 2014
The Benigno Aquino statue stands near the People Power Monument in Quezon City. Nearly three decades after the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, internationally acclaimed as the world’s first peaceful ouster of a dictator, there is a growing concern that the bloodless uprising is increasingly lost on new generations of Filipinos. ARNOLD ALMACEN/INQUIRER
MANILA, Philippines—Nearly three decades after the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, internationally acclaimed as the world’s first peaceful ouster of a dictator, there is a growing concern that the bloodless uprising is increasingly lost on new generations of Filipinos.
College history professors Maria Rita Reyes Cucio of San Beda College and Jovy F. Cuadra of Lyceum of the Philippines University say they are getting an increasing number of students who know Edsa I as just another holiday—no classes.
Cucio and Cuadra feel that basic education does not really make students understand and appreciate the importance of Edsa I, making the teaching of that part of Philippine history challenging.
“Some of them say dictatorship is equivalent to discipline,” Cucio says. Her observation is shared by Cuadra.
In many instances, Cucio says, she and her colleagues have to start all over again in teaching Edsa I. The focus of instruction in San Beda, Cucio says, is democracy. They let students understand that the freedoms they enjoy now would not have been possible during martial law, which President Ferdinand Marcos imposed in 1972 to instill discipline in the Filipinos.
Without any textbook and getting information from traditional sources, the mass media, as well as modern technology, including the Internet and social media, her students, Cucio thinks, are doing all right, with only four or five in a class of 40 challenging Edsa history.
Values are also at the core of Edsa instruction at Lyceum which, together with the University of the Philippines, was at the forefront of anti-Marcos political action before the declaration of martial law.
Cuadra acknowledges that “foreigners seem to know more about Edsa” than her students. She sees that her responsibility as a college instructor is to reinforce what students learned in elementary school, no matter how little, and add new ideas.
“I get out of the usual focus on dates and personalities [involved in Edsa I] and go into the significance of the event,” she says.
Arts and sciences dean Rizalina Cruz says the school is more into changing students’ values and instilling in them nationalism and patriotism, and a commitment to democratic ideals.
At Lyceum, although Cuadra says she tries to steer clear of personalities, there is one person who guides instruction, Cruz says. Founder Jose P. Laurel, former president, was a foremost nationalist.
Instruction at San Beda, on the other hand, cannot ignore personalities who prominently figured in the Edsa revolt, Cucio says.
Former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, whose assassination galvanized a complacent nation to put an end to a dictatorship, was a Bedan. His wife, Corazon, who replaced the ousted Marcos and became the country’s first woman president, was a student at sister school St. Scholastica’s College.
The late Sen. Raul Roco, a major player in the revolution, was also a Bedan. And former Sen. Rene Saguisag, a human rights lawyer, is now a member of the San Beda faculty.
While the college faculty members feel they are getting students who have little understanding and appreciation of what happened on Feb. 25, 1986, Grades 5 to 7 public schoolteachers in Pasay City say the problem is certainly not for lack of effort on their part.
With only one short chapter on the current history textbook devoted to Edsa I, the schoolteachers—Myra M. Desacula, Leuvina D. Erni, Teresita S. Fetalvo, Sailey R. Magallano, Criselda A. Santos and Gina Aimee C. Pambid—try to teach their students as much about Edsa I as the 40-minute period for Hekasi (geography, history and civics).
The teachers have produced their own teaching aids, using the ever-reliable Manila paper and cartolina. They bought their own DVDs of Edsa documentaries, downloaded them from the Internet or recorded them from television broadcasts. They have piles of newspaper and magazine clippings.
Cynthia Misalucha, assistant Pasay City schools division superintendent, says the Department of Education did issue modules on Edsa I last year, but it was too late for the People Power discussion in class.
Desacula, a Grade 7 history teacher at Pasay City North High School, says she uses the modules, designed to be taught in six one-hour sessions or two weeks, in her classes as framework for discussions.
Like Cucio and Cuadra, the teachers were young kids or teenagers during martial law and, thus, whether or not they were on Edsa, heard firsthand what it was all about.
Fetalvo came from Bicol, a hotbed of resistance to Marcos then (some parts still remain communist New People’s Army territory). The Grade 6 Hekasi teacher at Padre Burgos Elementary School saw as a teenager how some people would be “invited” by the military and would never be heard from afterward.
Pambid, Araling Panlipunan department head at Maricaban Elementary School, is the daughter of a soldier and lived in Villamor Air Base, where they were constantly on the ready to move to a safer place should violence erupt during face-offs between government forces and protesters.
In basic education, the teachers say Edsa I is taught in Grade 5 and the focus is on the event itself. Grade 6 integrates the event with other historical, social and political issues.
Santos says that how some students feel about Edsa depends on what they hear from their parents. “Some were told that during Marcos’ time, life was good for Filipinos,” she says.
Teachers have to balance the information students get, she says, as she tells her class that “lumabas ang kaswapangan (greed emerged)” during Marcos’ second term.
But in most homes, the teachers agree, “Edsa is no longer discussed.”
Fetalvo says some students are also confused why, if Edsa was supposed to make things better, “mas rampant ang corruption” and democracy is being abused today.
Not enough time
The teachers agree that more graphic, visual presentations of Edsa I make students more interested. They are also one in saying 40 minutes for Hekasi, with such a broad coverage, is not enough.
They say they need more instructional aids and would appreciate workshops and seminars that would enhance and strengthen their handling of the subject.
As for Cucio’s and Cuadra’s observations, the teachers say it may be because Edsa I is covered only in Grades 5 to 7.
From Grade 8, equivalent to the old second-year high school, and until their graduation, students discuss Asian and world history.
While teachers, both in college and basic education, proclaim they are doing their best to make Edsa I alive in the hearts and minds of today’s young, a better guide to what students actually learn and know about the event is to let them express it in their own words.
This writer, judging a competition among elementary and high school student journalists during the 29th Teodoro F. Valencia-DepEd Search for the 10 Outstanding Journalists and School Publications in Metropolitan Manila, asked contestants to write about why Edsa I should be celebrated.
The responses were profound, confused, frustrated and often hilarious. Many of the answers will lose their essence in translation.
An elementary student wrote in Filipino: “I believe Edsa I should not be given importance because many Filipinos still work as slaves for foreigners.”
Another wrote in Filipino that people support the event “because there are no classes—it’s been declared a holiday.”
Edsa I, said a grade school pupil, showed the strong bond among Filipinos and it was also a warning to politicians “not to be cheats.”
Without Edsa, said another, the country would not have been liberated from Marcos’ “iron fist” and, according to another, “crooked and inhumane system.”
One pupil said Edsa I happened “because the people rejected the results of the snap election.”
Another believed many people died or were injured during the 1986 revolution, while still another thought it happened after Cory Aquino died and was held in memory of the late President.
Hooked on social media
One knew exactly why he liked Edsa I: “If this did not happen, we will have no computers, we cannot use Facebook, we cannot use Twitter,” then belatedly added, “we will still be under martial law up to now.”
Another pupil compared Filipinos then to dogs that meekly obeyed their masters.
“If they didn’t do that, who would have stopped [Marcos’] crazy rule?” asked one.
Still another offered a revised version of history: “Ex-President Ninoy Aquino was seated in the presidential chair. One day, he traveled using a helicopter and when they landed [Ninoy was shot and killed]. Since [Marcos] was his vice [president], he wanted to be president.”
High school students were able to connect Edsa I to current events. One student wrote in Filipino: “It’s bad that in your country you can run away with P10 billion that’s intended for the poor. It’s a shame that you conceal the truth from your countrymen. It’s dismaying that to this day you can’t teach the meaning of honesty to the young. What’s the use of working for nothing?”
“If Edsa I did not happen, would Filipinos today find the courage to march to Luneta to oppose the pork barrel scam?” asked one high school student.
Another appreciated the freedoms enjoyed by Filipinos today. “Filipinos enjoy freedom today. Freedom to use gadgets, freedom of religion … and freedom to be gay,” he said.
Reminder to officials
Several said it was a display of Filipino courage and patriotism, which inspired other countries to aspire for democracy, and a fervent desire to regain their freedom.
The celebration of Edsa I should remind officials of the time when justice reigned and democracy overpowered a ruler, another student said. It could encourage lawmakers to render justice in cases like the pork barrel scam.
Marcos was ousted, said another, “because he made every person an idiot and ignorant of national issues.”
Mixing his metaphors, one student wrote, “People back then felt like caged birds in a torture chamber. But now we are no longer dolls to be controlled and birds to be caged.”
But frustration about how things were was evident in the essays of several students.
“The problem with the democracy we enjoy today is that thieves openly loot the national coffers. It seems we are overdoing democracy,” one student wrote.
“The prices of fuel, basic goods, power … and crimes are soaring … . Do we owe it to anyone that we expelled a dictator? Even criminals are walking around free,” wrote a frustrated youngster.
“Vice Ganda, Vhong Navarro, Vic Sotto are better known … . Cory should be idolized by women and the youth because she showed that women could become leaders,” another said.
One high school student said Edsa I was not really a national initiative because only people from the cities of Makati and Quezon participated and they were told by their bosses, who worried about business losses, to join the march.
“Do we really see the essence of the revolution on the faces of corrupt politicians, the lost funds … . Sovereignty is in the hands of the liar, the greedy, the corrupt,” the student said.
Aquino: Online libel ruling won’t hinder freedom of expressionBy Kristine Angeli Sabillo INQUIRER.net 12:33 pm | Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday said the public should not be bothered by the Supreme Court ruling upholding the online libel provision of the cybercrime law.
“Will it hinder freedom of expression? I think that’s not the aim,” Aquino said during an ambush interview in Manila.
The President, who admitted that he has yet to read the high court decision, said that while people have rights, there are also limitations.
He also said it would not be fair to have libel for traditional media and not online.
“If you switch to another format that would be exempted? I don’t think that’s acceptable,” he told media.
“If you know you speak the truth, why be worried about libel,” he added.
Aquino was at the Claro M. Recto High School in Manila for the inspection of new in-city resettlement buildings for the urban poor.
The SC on Tuesday upheld the constitutionality of the Cybercrime Prevention Act’s provision on libel but struck down another provision allowing the Department of Justice to block access to online content. The high court also explained that only the author of the libelous post, and not those who shared it, can be charged with libel.
INQBACK: EDSA 28 Timeline: Feb. 24, 1986, Day Three
DAY 3 EDSA SCENE Coup leaders Fidel V. Ramos, then Armed Forces vice chief of staff, and Juan Ponce Enrile, then defense minister of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, address an ecstatic crowd outside Camp Crame at 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 24, 1986. Two fighter planes defied orders to bomb the camp and headed back toward Clark Air Base in Pampanga province. INQUIRER PHOTO
MANILA, FEBRUARY 24, 2014 (INQUIRER) Inquirer Research - (Editor’s Note: The following chronology was distilled from books and Inquirer Archives about events leading up to what is called the “real” Edsa 28 years ago.)
June Keithley starts broadcasting over dzRJ (christened Radyo Bandido dzRB) by playing “Mambo Magsaysay.”
Church bells ring and word spreads that President Marcos is planning an attack. People again converge on Edsa; tires are set ablaze and sandbags and rocks are piled up to block the roads to Camp Crame.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver is still unable to locate dzRJ, which is very near Malacañang.
At Camp Crame, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile warns of two oncoming armored personnel carriers (APCs). Human barricades led by nuns and priests prepare to block the path of the APCs.
In Washington, US President Ronald Reagan refuses to personally tell Marcos to step down but agrees to give him asylum. US Secretary of State George Shultz calls Ambassador Stephen Bosworth in Manila with instructions to tell Marcos “his time is up.”
Marcos rejects US stand. Speaking on radio, he vows: “We’ll wipe them out. It is obvious they are committing rebellion.”
Ver and the Army commander, Maj. Gen. Josephus Ramas, give go-signal for an all-out attack on Edsa using tear gas, gunships, jet fighters and Marine artillery.
At Camp Crame, AFP Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos calls for civilian reinforcements amid reports that a large loyalist military force is being assembled.
Rebel soldiers tearfully prepare for battle and ask for absolution. They sing the Philippine Military Academy hymn and bid one another farewell.
Tear gas explodes on Santolan Road outside Camp Aguinaldo. Marcos loyalist soldiers led by Col. Braulio Balbas enter the camp and take positions on the golf course fronting Camp Crame. More tear gas canisters are launched, but strong breeze blows gas back to the loyalist troops.
Tension rises as helicopters approach Camp Crame. Seven Sikorskys armed with rockets and cannons land inside the camp. Col. Antonio Sotelo and the entire Air Force 15th Strike Wing defect.
Balbas trains awesome firepower on Camp Crame after hearing an exaggerated account of rebel strength from Rodolfo Estrellado of military intelligence. Unknown to Balbas, Estrellado has joined the rebel side.
Aboard a gunboat, Commodore Tagumpay Jardiniano announces to his 50 officers that he is supporting the Ramos-Enrile forces. Officers rejoice after minutes of silence.
The frigate soon drops anchor in Pasig River with guns trained on Malacañang.
Keithley announces that Ver and Marcos and his family have fled the country.
Triumphant, Enrile and Ramos address ecstatic crowd outside Camp Crame. Two fighter planes with orders to bomb the camp tilt their wings and head toward Clark Air Base in Pampanga province.
To show that they have not fled, Marcos, his family and his generals appear on television. He announces the lifting of his “maximum tolerance” policy and declares a nationwide state of emergency. Ramas issues “kill” order to Balbas. In reply, Balbas says he and his men are looking for maps.
Ramas again orders Balbas to fire. Balbas answers: “Sir, I am still positioning the cannons.”
Rebel soldiers and loyalist troops continue to exchange fire for control of Channel 4. After a demonstrator waving an Aquino banner climbs a wall of the station, a wounded soldier comes out to surrender. Marcos’ press conference at the Palace with his family is suddenly cut off the air.
Rebel soldiers inflict slight damage on Malacañang to indicate their capacity to strike back.
Three rebel gunships destroy choppers at Villamor Air Base.
Marines led by Balbas withdraw from Camp Aguinaldo.
Channel 4 resumes broadcasting, delivering news of more defections to the rebels’ side.
With more and more people converging on Edsa and surrounding areas, Singaporean Ambassador Peter Sung offers to fly the Marcoses to his country. Marcos refuses.
Ver and Ramas decide to launch final “suicide assault. Cory Aquino shows up on makeshift stage in front of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency office on Edsa and Ortigas Avenue and delivers a brief exhortation to the crowd.
In Washington, Reagan agrees to make public call for Marcos’ resignation. Philippine Airlines chair Roman Cruz Jr. sends his resignation letter to Cory Aquino, making him the first public official to recognize her as the duly elected President.
The United States endorses Aquino’s provisional government.
Marcos and his entire family appear on television. He appeals to loyalist civilians to go to Mendiola and calls on people to obey only orders issued by him as the “duly constituted authority.” He declares a 6 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew. No one observes his curfew.
A meeting between Aquino and the Ramos-Enrile group ends with a decision that her inauguration as President will be held at Club Filipino in San Juan the following morning. The rebels want the inauguration to be held at Camp Crame.
In Malacañang, the Marcos children’s dinner with Chief Justice Ramon Aquino and his son ends. Present are Imee and Irene and their husbands, Tommy Manotoc and Greggy Araneta, and Marcos Jr., who is dressed in fatigues.
Outside, people defy the curfew and continue to roam the streets of Manila.
(To be continued)
Sources: “Chronology of a Revolution” by Angela Stuart Santiago, “Walang Himala: Himagsikan sa Edsa” by Angela Stuart Santiago, “The Quartet Tiger Moon” by Quijano de Manila, “People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986,” “Bayan Ko” and PDI archives
People Power Revolution Timeline, Feb. 23, 1986, Day Two Inquirer Research 4:32 am | Sunday, February 23rd, 2014
PLAYING SAFE At left, former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile moves to the more secure Camp Crame. FILE PHOTO
(Editor’s Note: The following chronology was distilled from books and Inquirer Archives about events leading up to what is called the “real” Edsa 28 years ago.)
DISABLED Above, the transmitters of the Catholic-run Radio Veritas, which had been airing live reports from Edsa, are totally wrecked after being bombed by the forces loyal to Gen. Fabian Ver. FILE PHOTO
Thousands heed Jaime Cardinal Sin’s and Butz Aquino’s call over Radio Veritas to gather around Camps Aguinaldo and Crame and bodily protect the rebels led by Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, Armed Forces of the Philippines Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel Ramos and the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM).
Metropolitan Command head Maj. Gen. Prospero Olivas tells President Ferdinand Marcos he is incapable of dispersing crowds at Edsa. He also defies Marcos’ order to call Army commander Maj. Gen. Josephus Ramas for reinforcements.
COMBAT READY A smiling soldier stands guard in Camp Crame. FILE PHOTO
Marcos presents alleged assassin Maj. Saulito Aromin on Channel 4.
Supreme Court Justice Nestor Alampay resigns.
AFP Chief Gen. Fabian Ver gathers his men in Fort Bonifacio and appoints Ramas, his protégé, to lead the assault on Camps Aguinaldo and Crame. Enrile urges Cory Aquino to announce her government, with her as duly elected president. Sin goes on the air to ask Marcos and Ver not to use force.
In Washington, US Secretary of State George Shultz assembles a small group, including former Ambassador to the Philippines Michael Armacost, to lay down a firm policy on the Philippines.
JAMMED Tanks stand by on Ortigas Avenue in Quezon City as the road to Camps Crame and Aguinaldo are blocked by huge crowds on Edsa. ROGER CARPIO
Marcos loyalist troops destroy Radio Veritas’ transmitter in Bulacan province, limiting its reach to Luzon. Marine commander Gen. Artemio Tadiar is stunned to learn that Ramas, who has little combat experience, has been assigned to lead the attack on rebels. Tadiar and his men are standing guard in Malacañang. Cory Aquino, still in Cebu City, turns down Assemblyman Ramon Mitra’s offer to bring her to Palawan province, and decides to return to Manila. Mass is celebrated inside Camp Crame. Outside, at Edsa, people continue to arrive, some on foot. Human barricades are further fortified.
After waiting for three hours for permission to withdraw his troops from Palace, Tadiar shouts at Ramas: “This is insane! I am still waiting for permission to move troops, yet you are ready to move out!” Marcos orders Col. Antonio Sotelo, commander of the Air Force’s 15th Strike Wing based in Sangley Point, to disable the helicopters in Camp Crame. With no one volunteering to carry out the attack, Sotelo discusses with his men a plan to fight alongside the Enrile-Ramos troops.
REAL HEROES The people forming human barricades flash the “Laban” sign as they stand at the gate of Camp Crame. FILE PHOTO
Cory Aquino holds a brief press conference in Cebu, asking the people to support the military rebels and calling on Marcos to step down.
Marcos men present at the presidential table include Presidential Executive Assistant Juan C. Tuvera, Agrarian Reform Minister Conrado Estrella, Public Works Minister Jesus Hipolito, Food Administrator Jesus Tanchangco, Agriculture Minister Salvador Escudero III, Education Minister Jaime C. Laya, Member of Parliament Teodulo Natividad, Budget Minister Manuel Alba, MP Salvador Britanico, former Acting Foreign Minister Pacifico Castro, MIA Manager Luis Tabuena, Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy, Information Minister Gregorio Cendaña, Justice Minister Estelito Mendoza, Justice Buenaventura Guerrero, Assistant Press Secretary Amante Bigornia, MP Antonio Raquiza, Economic Planning Minister Vicente Valdepeñas and former Sen. Rodolfo Ganzon. Standing behind them are military men, including General Ver, Rear Adm. Brillante Ochoco, Felix Brawner, Carlos Martel, Juanito Veridiano, Hamilton Dimaya, Eustaquio Purugganan, Telesforo Tayko, Serapio Martillano, Pompeyo Vasquez, Victorino Azada, Arsenio Silva, Evaristo Sanches, Emerson Tangan and Navy Capt. Danilo Lazo. Marcos joins his men at the table and then appears again on television and presents two more arrested military officers, Lt. Col. Jake Malajacan and Maj. Ricardo Brillantes who both read statements. Marcos says other officers have been arrested and are being interrogated. He scoffs at Enrile and Ramos’ demand that he resign. He brushes aside claims that 300,000 to 400,000 people are gathered at Edsa, some carrying images of the Virgin Mary.
Troops led by Metropolitan Police Chief Alfredo Lim ignores orders to disperse the crowd.
Cory Aquino arrives in Manila and proceeds to her sister’s house in Wack-Wack, Mandaluyong City. Enrile and Ramos decide to consolidate their forces at Camp Crame. Linking arms, the people at Edsa create a protective wall for Enrile and RAM troops as they leave Camp Aguinaldo and cross the highway to get to Crame on the other side.
A car with tinted windows bearing Cory Aquino cruises alongside a Marcos loyalist column of seven tanks and two Marine battalions led by Tadiar moving on Edsa.
People at Ortigas and Edsa form human barricades to block the path of the oncoming tanks. A tense standoff begins.
Marcos calls Enrile and offers him absolute pardon. He rejects Enrile’s demand that the tanks be stopped.
Radio Veritas signs off after the emergency transmitter bogs down. In a news conference, Enrile announces his men’s rejection of Marcos’ offer of pardon. Ramos talks about “New Armed Forces.”
Papal Nuncio Bruno Torpigliani hands Marcos a letter from Pope John Paul II asking for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. The White House issues a statement questioning “credibility and legitimacy” of the Marcos government.
June Keithley, who has been broadcasting at Radio Veritas since the start of the rebellion against Marcos, moves to dzRJ using Radio Veritas’ frequency of 840 kHz to keep her location secret. Col. Ruben Ciron, one of Enrile’s men, facilitates the transfer of the frequency. The crowd thins as the tanks retreat, but the human barricades remain intact. Consul to Honolulu Raul Rabe, Lt. Noel Buan, Brigadier Generals Tomas Manlongat, Renato de Villa, Dionisio Tan-Gatue, Carlos Aguilar, Benjamin Ignacio and Rodrigo Gutan, and Police Superintendents Narciso Cabrera, Ruben Escarcha and Alfredo Yson withdraw their support to Marcos.
Timeline: Feb. 22, 1986, Day One Inquirer Research 4:30 am | Saturday, February 22nd, 2014
SLEEP-IN Reporters covering the Edsa event catch up on their sleep inside Enrile’s office at Camp Aguinaldo. PHOTO FROM THE BOOK “CHRONOLOGY OF A REVOLUTION”
(Editor’s Note: The following chronology was distilled from books and Inquirer archives about events leading up to what is called the “real” Edsa. This article is reprinted from the Philippine Daily Inquirer of Feb. 22, 2006, Page A1.)
Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and key aides finalize Enrile’s speech in which he will proclaim himself head of a ruling junta after rebel troops led by the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) assault on Malacañang. Assault is planned for Feb. 23 at 2 a.m.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver fortifies Palace, having been informed of an impending coup by Maj. Edgardo Doromal of the Presidential Security Command.
Doromal was tapped by RAM to serve as a spy in the Palace but he later confessed to his commander, Col. Irwin Ver, son of the AFP chief, and agreed to become a double agent.
At a meeting in Enrile’s Dasmariñas house in Makati City, RAM chief Col. Gregorio Honasan learns that a Marine battalion is positioned exactly at the rebels’ planned point of attack.
On Ver’s instruction, Metropolitan Command officer Col. Rolando Abadilla tries to talk Honasan out of any rash action.
Honasan learns that more soldiers are being deployed to guard the Palace. Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin calls Enrile to say that his 19 security men have been arrested. Enrile worries because three were on loan from him and knew of the coup plot.
In Malacañang, President Ferdinand Marcos meets with US Ambassador to the Philippines Stephen Bosworth and Philip Habib, US President Ronald Reagan’s “troubleshooter.” The two Americans note the worsening political crisis and push for Ver’s removal from office. Honasan and Lt. Col. Eduardo Kapunan arrive at Enrile’s house; they tell him of orders to round up all members of their movement. Between hiding in Cagayan Valley and regrouping for a possible stand-off, Enrile chooses the latter and tells everyone to go to Camp Aguinaldo.
Capt. Ricardo Morales, one of Imelda’s security officers, surveys the Palace defenses and attempts to withdraw firearms from the Presidential Security Unit armory. He is accosted and becomes the first of four alleged assassins of the first family arrested by Marcos forces. The others are Maj. Saulito Aromin, Lt. Col. Jake Malajacan and
Maj. Ricardo Brillantes.
Before boarding his plane out of Manila, Habib tells a US Embassy officer to tell Bosworth that Corazon Aquino won the presidential “snap” election. Marcos himself called to show that he still had the support of his countrymen. “Marcos is finished and we ought to offer him asylum in the United States.” Enrile and RAM discuss how to cover up their coup plot in order to drum up support for themselves. Enrile calls AFP Vice Chief Gen. Fidel Ramos, who declares his full support.
Honasan gives the signal to prepare his men for combat. He, Enrile and Kapunan fly to Aguinaldo in a chopper.
At Aguinaldo, Enrile’s guards bring out brand-new M-16s, Uzis and Galils. Enrile orders troop deployment around Camp Crame. On the phone, he tells his wife Cristina to call Inquirer founding chair Eugenia Apostol to apprise her of what’s happening and request her to inform Jaime Cardinal Sin.
Brig. Gen. Salvador Mison’s Regional Unified Command No. 8, which includes first lady Imelda Marcos’ native Leyte province, expresses support for the rebels—the first military region to do so.
Unaware of unfolding events, Ver and Imelda attend the wedding of a general’s son at Villamor Air Base. Ver is stunned when told. Marcos calls his three children to Malacañang. Enrile tells Sin: “I will be dead within one hour. I don’t want to die … If it is possible, do something. I’d still like to live.”
Ramos arrives at Aguinaldo after a dialogue in his Alabang house with a group called the Cory Crusaders.
Ramos and Enrile hold a press conference to announce the withdrawal of support from Marcos. They say they are not out to seize power but to return it to the people in the person of Aquino, whom they recognize as the rightfully elected President. They have less than 500 men and no air, armor or artillery equipment. Ramos moves to Crame across the street from Aguinaldo. Former AFP Chief Romeo Espino, Brig. Gen. Ramon Farolan and Postmaster General Roilo Golez arrive at Aguinaldo.
Marcos remains in the Palace study room with Fabian and Irwin Ver, and Information Minister Gregorio Cendaña.
Ver orders military intelligence chief Brig. Gen. Fidel Singson to destroy Radio Veritas. Singson deploys men but orders them not to take offensive action. He prepares to join the Ramos-Enrile forces.
Enrile ends a phone conversation with Ver, with both adversaries agreeing not to attack tonight. It was a revolution that started with a ceasefire.
Col. Antonio Sotelo of Air Force 15th Strike Wing readies all five attack helicopters at Villamor Air Base.
Radio Veritas continues with the blow-by-blow account of the rebellion. Enrile and Aquino, who is secured in the Carmelite convent in Cebu City, have a brief phone conversation. (Aquino had known of Enrile’s coup plans. But she returned to Cebu with her vice presidential running mate Doy Laurel to thank the Cebuanos for the 70,000 margin of victory given her “despite the goons of Marcos allies.” Aquino also came to sell her seven-point program of nonviolent protest, which is just a week old, to the second most populous city in the country.) In Malacañang, Imelda tells reporters of a plot to kill her and Marcos at 12:30 a.m.
August Twenty-One Movement’s Agapito “Butz” Aquino, the younger brother of Ninoy Aquino, despite his group’s decision to wait, throws his support behind rebels and calls on volunteers to meet him at Isetann department store in Cubao preparatory to marching to Edsa to support the so-called breakaway Marcos military. (Shortly after) over Radio Veritas, Jaime Cardinal Sin forcefully calls for the public support of Enrile and Ramos.
Marcos announces over government-owned Channel 4 that he is in total control of the situation and calls on Enrile and Ramos “to stop this stupidity and surrender so that we may negotiate.” He reports the thwarting of an attempt on his life by one of Imelda’s bodyguards in a conspiracy involving Enrile and Ramos and then proceeds to present the alleged assassin, Morales, who reads a supposed confession. Nuns and seminarians of Bandila, a moderate coalition, are the first to form human barricade around Crame. Superstar Nora Aunor arrives at Edsa. Food starts arriving in response to Enrile’s appeal that while they are ready to die for country, they have no food for the troops.
Enrile tells Marcos over Radio Veritas: “Enough is enough, Mr. President. Your time is up. Do not miscalculate our strength now.” Kris Aquino, then disco-hopping, is found after a frantic search and reunited with her mother; both are taken to the Carmelite convent in Cebu.
Ver orders power and water lines at Aguinaldo and Crame cut, but he is ignored. The crowd at Edsa swells. Officials who withdraw support for Marcos: Lt. Col. Jerry Albano and his security and escort battalion of 200 officers and men.
Why Ninoy still matters 30 years after he was murdered by the Marcos dictatorship By Boying Pimentel Philippine Daily Inquirer 10:42 pm | Saturday, August 17th, 2013
Ninoy Aquino with cardiologist Dr. Rolando Solis at Baylor Univ. Medical Center during his cardiac rehabilitation in June 1980. (Credit: Rolando Solis)
SAN FRANCISCO — I was 14 when I first saw Ninoy Aquino in action.
It was 1978. Ferdinand Marcos, hoping to legitimize his dictatorship in the eyes of the world, had called for elections for a new legislature.
Marcos was confident he would win easily even if he let Ninoy Aquino, then the country’s most well-known political prisoner, join the campaign.
That was a big mistake.
During a televised interview with journalists clearly aligned with the dictator, Aquino showed the country why Marcos feared him so much. It was a mesmerizing performance.
He out-talked the panelists sent to discredit him, responding to questions and allegations, eloquently and brilliantly, shifting comfortably from English to Pilipino and back.
Marcos shouldn’t have let him out of prison. Ninoy clearly was a dangerous adversary who exposed the regime’s most glaring flaws. The regime had to resort to the most brazen forms of electoral fraud to “win.”
But my views of Ninoy eventually evolved.
By the time I entered UP Diliman in the early 80s, I saw Ninoy as neither a superhero nor a saint.
Yes, he was an important figure in the fight against tyranny. But I had more questions about what he stood for, having been exposed to broader, more progressive ideas on the Diliman campus. Like many young people of on the UP Campus I grew more critical of Ninoy’s role in Philippine politics.
He was a leading opponent of the regime, but in the eyes of many from my generation, he also represented the old-style, elite politics that caused many of the country’s problems in the first place.
We didn’t use the word ‘trapo’ then, but we saw Ninoy as a traditional politician on which that pejorative term is based.
Not that young Filipinos of my generation rejected all traditional politicians. Not at all. We admired the likes of Lorenzo Tañada, Jovito Salonga and Pepe Diokno.
They may have come from the elite, but, during the dark years of dictatorship, they aligned themselves, in very concrete ways, with people like us – students. They even linked arms with factory workers and farmers.
Diokno, in particular, or Ka Pepe as we called him, became the epitome of the activist-politician that many of my generation revered.
He was a regular speaker at student demonstrations. He became respected as a fearless human rights crusader and a consistent critic of U.S. support for Marcos.
I still remember a human rights lawyer’s story of how Diokno would join fact-finding missions in remote barrios where he would be actively interviewing survivors or witnesses of abuses. The Diokno house in New Manila was open to activists and ordinary people who had joined the fight against dictatorship.
We admired Diokno. Ninoy, we respected, but also viewed with some suspicion as just another old-style politician angling for power.
Then came August 21, 1983.
I was at home watching TV with my family when my eldest sister walked into the room and said, “Patay na si Ninoy.”
The next day, on the U.P. Diliman campus, a professor observed the sadness and rage he saw in the eyes of ordinary Filipinos he met on jeepneys and on the streets. I was one of the hundreds of thousands who joined the rain-drenched funeral march for Ninoy on Aug. 31, 1983.
And the next three years turned out to be the most exhilarating and confusing, most exciting and frightening, most emotionally-draining and intellectually-stimulating period of my life and the lives of many Martial Law babies.
We all know how that story ended — a united people kicked out a bully. The nightmare was over.
Thirty years later, there may still be disagreements on Ninoy’s political record, and there are still many questions about his motives. I still do not see him as either a superhero or saint.
Many of the criticisms, in my view, are fair and deserve closer scrutiny. Others are so clearly over-the-top, cruel and sinister, many of them being spread by supporters of the dictatorship.
But one thing is clear: Ninoy’s death set us free from dictatorship. His story still matters.
There’s been speculation on why Ninoy came home when he did. But one point cannot be disputed: He came home at perhaps the worst time for someone considered as Marcos’s most feared enemy.
The Pinoy Hitler was at the height of his power. Many of his opponents were in jail or in exile. Ronald Reagan’s Washington loved him. Reagan even sent his Vice President George H.W. Bush to Manila to praise Marcos for his “adherence to democratic principles.” And Reagan himself later embraced the despot as a friend and ally during the Marcos state visit to the U.S.
Why in the world would you give up the safety of life in exile in Boston to take on a powerful despot backed by a world superpower?
A coward would have just stayed put and waited for a better opportunity.
Which is why despite any misgivings one may have about his politics, I join others in giving Ninoy credit for having had the courage to return to the battlefield.
The risks were clear, and yet he boarded that plane.
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Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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