EDSA People Power Revolution
The Philippines was praised worldwide in 1986, when the so-called bloodless revolution erupted, called EDSA People Power’s Revolution. February 25, 1986 marked a significant national event that has been engraved in the hearts and minds of every Filipino. This part of Philippine history gives us a strong sense of pride especially that other nations had attempted to emulate what we have shown the world of the true power of democracy. The true empowerment of democracy was exhibited in EDSA by its successful efforts to oust a tyrant by a demonstration without tolerance for violence and bloodshed. Prayers and rosaries strengthened by faith were the only weapons that the Filipinos used to recover their freedom from President Ferdinand Marcos’s iron hands. The Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) stretches 54 kilometers, where the peaceful demonstration was held on that fateful day. It was a day that gathered all Filipinos in unity with courage and faith to prevail democracy in the country. It was the power of the people, who assembled in EDSA, that restored the democratic Philippines, ending the oppressive Marcos regime. Hence, it came to be known as the EDSA People Power’s Revolution.
Former President Ferdinand Marcos & Imelda Romualdez-MarcosThe revolution was a result of the long oppressed freedom and the life threatening abuses executed by the Marcos government to cite several events like human rights violation since the tyrannical Martial Law Proclamation in 1972. Former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr.In the years that followed Martial Law started the suppressive and abusive years–incidents of assassination were rampant, particularly those who opposed the government, individuals and companies alike were subdued. The Filipinos reached the height of their patience when former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Sr. was shot and killed at the airport in August 21, 1983, upon his return to the Philippines from exile in the United States. Aquino’s death marked the day that Filipinos learned to fight. His grieving wife, Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino showed the Filipinos and the world the strength and courage to claim back the democracy that Ferdinand Marcos arrested for his personal caprice. Considering the depressing economy of the country, Ninoy’s death further intensified the contained resentment of the Filipinos. In the efforts to win back his popularity among the people, Marcos held a snap presidential election in February 7, 1986, where he was confronted with a strong and potent opposition, Corazon Aquino. It was the most corrupt and deceitful election held in the Philippine history. There was an evident trace of electoral fraud as the tally of votes were declared with discrepancy between the official count by the COMELEC (Commission on Elections) and the count of NAMFREL (National Movement for Free Elections). Such blatant corruption in that election was the final straw of tolerance by the Filipinos of the Marcos regime. Former Defense Minister Juan Ponce EnrileThe Fidel V. Ramosdemonstration started to break in the cry for democracy and the demand to oust Marcos from his seat at Malacañang Palace. The revolt commenced when Marcos’ Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and the Armed Forces Vice-Chief of Staff command of Fidel V. Ramos, both withdrew their support from the government and called upon the resignation of then President Marcos. They responsibly barricaded Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo and had their troops ready to combat against possible armed attack organized by Marcos and his troops. The Catholic Church represented by Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin along with the priests and nuns called for the support of all Filipinos who believed in democracy. Radyo Veritas aired the message of Cardinal Sin that summoned thousands of Filipinos to march the street of EDSA. It was an empowering demonstration that aimed to succeed peacefully with the intervention of faith. Nuns kneeled in front of tanks with rosaries in their hands and uttering their prayers.
Former President Corazon Cojuangco-AquinoWith the power of prayers, the armed marine troops under the command of Marcos withdrew from the site. Celebrities expressed their support putting up a presentation to showcase the injustices and the anomalies carried out by the Marcos administration. Finally, in the morning of February 25, 1986, Corazon Aquino took the presidential oath of office, administered by the Supreme Court Associate Justice Claudio Teehankee at Club Filipino located in San Juan. Aquino was proclaimed as the 11th President of the Republic of the Philippines. She was the first lady president of the country. People rejoiced over their victory proving the success of the EDSA People’s Power Revolution, the historic peaceful demonstration. Although in 2001, there was an attempt to revive People Power in the efforts to oust then President Joseph Estrada, it was not as strong as the glorifying demonstration in 1986. The bloodless, People Power Revolution in EDSA renewed the power of the people, strengthened the meaning of democracy and restored the democratic institutions of government. Continue to the 5th Republic (1986) up to the Present Time.
The EDSA Revolution may refer to three events in Philippine history referring to popular political upheavals occurring in the EDSA highway:
• People Power Revolution of 1986 that toppled the administration of Ferdinand Marcos after allegations of widespread cheating in the 1986 presidential elections.
• EDSA Revolution of 2001 that toppled the administration of Joseph Estrada after an aborted impeachment trial where prosecutors walked out after failing on a motion.
• 2001’s EDSA III (“EDSA Tres” or “EDSA Three”) that climaxed in the siege of the presidential palace while Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remaining in office after the arrest of Joseph Estrada
People Power Revolution
The People Power Revolution (also known as the EDSA Revolution and the Philippine Revolution of 1986) was a series of popular demonstrations in the Philippines that occurred in 1983-86. The methods used amounted to a sustained campaign of civil resistance against regime violence and electoral fraud. This case of nonviolent revolution led to the departure of President Ferdinand Marcos and the restoration of the country’s democracy. It has been an inspiration for the Revolutions of 1989 that contributed to the ending of communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe.
The majority of the demonstrations took place at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, known more commonly by its acronym EDSA, in Quezon City, Metropolitan Manila and involved over two million Filipino civilians as well as several political, military, and religious figures, such as Cardinal Jaime Sin. The protests, fueled by a resistance and opposition of years of corrupt governance by Marcos, occurred from February 22–25, 1986, when Marcos fled Malacañang Palace to the U.S. state of Hawaii and conceded to Corazon Aquino as the legitimate President of the Philippines.
Timeline of Marcos Dictatorship
September 21, 1972
• President Marcos signed the implementation of Proclamation No. 1081
September 22, 1972
• 9 p.m. – President Marcos placed the entire Philippines under Martial Law.
September 23, 1972
• 12:10 a.m. – Senator Aquino was arrested by members of the military at the Hilton Hotel in Manila while he was discussing tariff maters with colleagues.
• 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. – Marcos ordered the arrest of his political opponents, the closure of schools and communication, and the government takeover of public utilities.
• 6 a.m. – In the morning of September 23, people awoke without a newspaper on their doorsteps and with only the hiss of empty air over their radios.
• 3 p.m. – Press Secretary Francisco Tatad went on air. It was the first time the nation learned of Proclamation 1071
• 7 p.m. – Marcos went on air to formally announce the proclamation of martial law. He imposed curfew and banned public demonstrations.
April 7, 1978
• Marcos called for a parliamentary election. None of the members of jailed former Senator Benigno Aquino’s LABAN party won their races.
January 17, 1981
• Marcos issued Proclamation No. 2045, proclaiming the termination of the state of martial law throughout the Philippines. He also inaugurated the “New Republic” but retained all martial law decrees, orders, and law-making powers through Amendment Six to the Consitution. The formal termination of martial law was timed with the election of US PResident Ronald Reagan and the planned visit of Pope John Paull II in February 1981.
June 16, 1981
• For the first time in 12 years, the Philippines held a presidential election. Marcos ran against two opponents: Alejo Santos of the Nacionalista Party, and Bartolome Cabangbang of the Federal Party. LABAN and Unido both boycotted the election. In proper dictator fashion, Marcos received 88% of the vote. He took the opportunity in his inauguration ceremony to note that he would like the job of “Eternal President.”
Aug. 21, 1983
• Ninoy Aquino is assassinated
September 21, 1983
• As the government celebrates Barangay Day/National Thanksgiving Day to commemorate the declaration of martial law, thousands of Ninoy supporters hold a “National Day of Sorrow” and call for unity in the ranks to topple the Marcos regime.
May 14, 1984
• Elections for the Batasang Pambansa (parliament) are held. The United Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO) and the Pilipino Democratic Party-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-LABAN) coalition decide to take part. Cory Aquino, Ninoy’s widow, throws her support behind the opposition candidates. They surprise Marcos by winning 56 seats out of the 183 amid familiar allegations of fraud.
October 24, 1984
• The Agrava Board, tasked with investigating the Aquino assassination, concludes that there was a military conspiracy behind the killing and implicates AFP Chief of Staff Fabian Ver.
February 22, 1985
• General Ver, 24 soldiers, and one civilian stand trial before the Sandiganbayan for the Aquino murder. Ver takes a leave of absence as Armed Forces Chief of Staff.
• Opposition MPs file a motion for impeachment against Marcos in the Batasan, citing culpable violation of the Constitution and “hidden wealth.” The majority party squelches the motion.
November 3, 1985
• Marcos suddenly announces the holding of snap elections after alleged prodding from the United States.
• General Ver and all this co-accused are acquitted by the Sandiganbayan. Marcos reinstates him as Chief of Staff amid widespread protest.
December 3, 1985
• Corazon Aquino declares her candidacy for President. Salvador Laurel, who earlier has wanted to run for the same position, agrees to be her running mate.
December 5, 1985
• The Opposition makes a formal announcement of the Aquino-Laurel tandem for the snap elections.
February 7, 1986
• A heavy voter turnout and the judging of the voters’ list create confusion during the presidential elections, resulting in the disenfranchisement of three million voters. Incidents of fraud, vote-buying, intimidation, and violence are reported. Election returns are tampered with. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) tally board shows Marcos leading while the National Citizen’s Movement for the Free Elections (NAMFREL) consistently shows Cory Aquino ahead by a comfortable margin.
February 9, 1986
• Thirty computer workers at the COMELEC tabulation center walk out, protesting the tampering of election results.
• Oppositionist ex-Governor Evelio Javier of Antique is murdered in front of the provincial capitol where canvassing is being held. Primary suspects are the bodyguards of the local KBL leader.
• The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issues a statement condemning the elections as fraudulent.
• Attempts at regime change in the Philippines (1970–2007).
Martial Law is an extraordinary measure taken by the head of state to defend or to protect the people from extreme danger due to lawless violence, anarchy, rebellion or invasion.
During Philippine Martial Law:
• Pres. Marcos abolished Congress, shut down media establishments, and ordered the arrest and detention of thousands of people, including activists from the ranks of the youth and students, workers, peasants, the urban poor, the church among others, and opposition leaders.
• The declaration issued under Proclamation 1081 suspended the civil rights and imposed military authority in the country.
• Crime rates plunged dramatically after a curfew was implemented.
• Marcos reconvened the Constitutional Convention and maneuvered its proceedings to adopt a parliamentary form of government, paving the way for him to stay in power beyond 1973.
Series of Coup d’état
The People Power Revolution (also known as the EDSA Revolution and the Philippine Revolution of 1986) was a series of popular demonstrations in the Philippines that occurred in 1983-86. The methods used amounted to a sustained campaign of civil resistance against regime violence and electoral fraud. This case of nonviolent revolution led to the departure of President Ferdinand Marcos and the restoration of the country’s democracy. It has been an inspiration for the Revolutions of 1989 that contributed to the ending of communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe
The majority of the demonstrations took place at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, known more commonly by its acronym EDSA and involved over two million Filipino civilians as well as several political, military, and religious figures. The protests, fueled by a resistance and opposition of years of corrupt governance by Marcos, occurred from February 22–25, 1986, when Marcos fled Malacañang Palace to the U.S. state of Hawaii and conceded to Corazon Aquino as the legitimate President of the Philippines.
From 1986 to 1987, there were six plots to overthrow the government of President Corazon Aquino involving various members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. A significant number of the military participants in these attempts belonged to the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM). while others were identified loyalists to former President Ferdinand Marcos, who had been deposed in February 1986. Two of the attempts — the November 1986 “God Save the Queen” plot and the July 1987 plot — were uncovered and quashed by authorities before they could be operationalized.
The most serious coup d’etat against the government of Philippine President Corazon Aquino was staged beginning December 1, 1989 by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines belonging to the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) and soldiers loyal to former President Ferdinand Marcos. Metro Manila was shook by this Christmas coup, and they almost seized the presidential palace. It was completely defeated by the Philippine government by December 9, 1989.
The coup was led by Colonel Gregorio Honasan, General Edgardo Abenina, and retired General Jose Ma. Zumel, and staged by an alliance of the RAM, led by Honasan, and troops loyal to Marcos, led by Zumel. At the onset of the coup, the rebels seized Villamor Airbase, Fort Bonifacio, Sangley Airbase, Mactan Airbase in Cebu, and portions of Camp Aguinaldo.The rebels set patrols around the runway of Ninoy Aquino International Airport effectively shutting it down. From Sangley Airbase, the rebels launched planes and helicopters which bombarded and strafed Malacañang Palace, Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo.
Here is a chronology of attempted military intervention in Philippine politics:
February 1986 – A tiny band of mutineers led by Marcos’ Defence Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and military vice chief General Fidel Ramos break away from Marcos, triggering a popular revolt that brings political novice Corazon Aquino to power.
July – About 400 soldiers loyal to Marcos seize the Manila Hotel and declare the formation of a rebel government. Aquino quashes the revolt after 38 hours. The mutineers were given 20 push ups as punishment.
November – Aquino fires her defence chief, Enrile, after soldiers close to him are linked to a coup plot, called “God Save the Queen”.
January 1987 – Some 300 pro-Marcos soldiers take over Manila’s private Channel 7 television station and occupy it for two days before surrendering to the government.
April – Another group of troops loyal to Marcos seize the army headquarters building on the outskirts of the capital, but Aquino crushes the revolt in eight hours. One rebel soldier is killed in a brief firefight.
August – Charismatic army Colonel Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, a supporter of the ousted Enrile, leads 2,500 troops in attacking the presidential palace and several army camps. Fifty-three people are killed and more than 300 others are wounded. Rebellion collapses after 18 hours.
December 1989 – About 6,000 troops, believed led by Honasan, seize three military bases and two television stations in Manila, close the airport and bomb the presidential palace. US President George Bush backs Aquino and American F-4 Phantom jets launch “intimidation flights” over the capital in support of the beleaguered Philippine leader to help end the week-long mutiny.