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Friday, February 25, 2011

EDSA People Power Revolution: A Legacy to the World

EDSA People Power Revolution
February 25, 1986 was the culmination of a peoples’ revolution that ended the regime of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

After the Snap Elections in February of 1986, losing candidate Corazon Aquino called for a civil disobedience against Marcos government. She was going around the country to gain mass support.

Meanwhile, a mutiny of rightist military officers, which called themselves RAM (Reform the Armed Forces Movement) Forces took place. The group was led by Col Victor Batac, Lt. Col Gregorio Honasan (now a Senator), and Col Red Kapunan, with General Jose Almonte as their adviser and think tank. However, Marcos’ forces led by General Fabian Ver foiled the coup attempt and captured the RAM soldiers that penetrated Malacanang, the seat of government.

Marcos went on TV broadcast to announce to the public the foiled mutiny. The captured soldiers pointed at Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and AFP Vice Chief of Staff Fidel V. Ramos. At first, Marcos didn’t want to believe based on the live TV broadcast but later on, Enrile and Ramos admitted their defection. Enrile was at Camp Aguinaldo, the AFP Headquarters, while Ramos was at Camp Crame, PC-INP (Philippine Constabulary and Integrated National Police) headquarters.

Marcos forces surrounded the camps with battalions of loyalist Marines for about two days but there was no full military assault. Then, the following day, Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, went on air over Radio Veritas and asked the Filipinos to converge at EDSA to protect Enrile and Ramos from any attack from the Marcos government. Gradually, people grew in number and covered a big portion of the highway facing tanks and armor personnel carriers, from hundreds to thousands and to millions as supporters of Corazon Aquino joined them. It was something Marcos never expected.

During that time, Corazon Aquino was in Cebu to continue her campaign for civil disobedience against Marcos. After she confirmed that it was not a hoax drama by Marcos, she asked her supporters to go to EDSA. People from the ATOM (August Twenty-One Movement) led by former Senator Butz Aquino and thousands of civilians went to EDSA. Ramos left Crame and met Butz Aquino at the middle of EDSA and they went to Aguinaldo to build up their forces.

In about four days, Marcos left the seat of power and was brought to Hawaii by an American military helicopter.

Corazon Aquino became the first woman president in Asia.  

It was a revolution not by guns but by roses, although, some soldiers from the loyalists’ side were killed by the rebel forces, particularly those who were guarding the transmitter of TV channel 9, which was airing Marcos’ oath-taking in Malacanang Palace still, it could be considered a peaceful transition.

It is perhaps a legacy the Filipino people can bestow to the world. Change can be achieved through peaceful means.

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