Brother Mariano “Mike” Z. Velarde, Servant-Leader of the El Shaddai DWXI Prayer Partners Foundation International, is a geodetic engineer by profession and a real estate developer in business. Among his real estate developments are the Moonwalk Subdivisions in Parañaque and Las Piñas, and the Bricktown Subdivision and Multinational Village, located in Parañaque City, near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Actually, he had neither planned to lead any charismatic community nor dreamt of proclaiming the Good News of Salvation. However, God’s thoughts are not man’s thoughts, neither His ways are man’s ways. Here is the story on how God called him to be a “fisher of men for Christ Jesus” and how the El Shaddai DWXI-PPFI started.
A Visit by an Angel
Sometime in February 1978, at the age of 38, Bro. Mike was confined at the Philippine Heart Center for Asia Hospital due to heart enlargement and heart blocks. He was scheduled to undergo a major heart operation, but none of his five doctors could guarantee that he would survive the operation. One night, an angel in the guise of a nurse came to his room and told him, “Mr. Velarde, I’ve been watching you for the past three weeks. You are very depressed and always in fear of a heart attack. Allow me to open that Bible beside you and show you a way out of your predicament.” Then the angel opened the Bible on 1 Corinthians 10:13 and gave it to him, saying, “Read this and contemplate on it and I assure you, it will help.” The verse read, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” After reading the verse a number of times and meditating on it, his fear disappeared completely and he felt a peace of mind. That night he was able to sleep soundly. The next morning, he felt a new kind of strength and was filled with joy. His doctors were surprised when they saw him walking along the corridors of the hospital. They examined his heart thoroughly and was amazed to find out that his ailment had been healed! The operation was thus no longer necessary. A week later, he was discharged from the hospital. Further examination of his heart by doctors in a hospital in Los Angeles, California, USA gave him a clean bill of health.
Once, while he was meditating on the miracle that had happened in his life, he asked God, “Lord, what must I do to live according to Your will?” The Spirit of God replied, “My son, bear witness to the salvation, love and miracle that you’ve experienced. If you continue to do this, your fellowmen will know that the God Whom you serve is indeed alive and faithful!”
Purchase of DWXI Radio Station and First Financial Miracle
“Father, look at your children eagerly awaiting the Holy Father,” then Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin said, gesturing toward the costumed schoolchildren who performed folk dances as the Pope’s plane taxied on the runway.
A crowd numbering in the hundreds of thousands lined the streets from the airport to Roxas Boulevard, Quirino Avenue and the Apostolic Nunciature on Taft Avenue to welcome one of history’s most beloved popes.
It was “the most rousing welcome ever given a visiting foreign dignitary that is yet unparalleled in the country’s history,” Inquirer columnist Ceres Doyo wrote.
Ahead of the Pope’s visit on Feb. 17, 1981, then President Ferdinand Marcos declared that he had “lifted” martial law.
On this visit, Pope John Paul II’s first agenda was to celebrate Mass at Manila Cathedral, after which he expressed to Cardinal Sin his wish for Manila Cathedral to become a basilica.
The Pope next visited the Our Lady of Perpetual Help church in Baclaran where he met with religious women, and the archbishop’s residence, Villa San Miguel, where he met with the Philippine Episcopate and Asian bishops.
Sign of vitality
The following day, the Pope delivered a message at Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. He next addressed the Filipino youth at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), telling them that “[t]he Church is not frightened at the intensity of your feeling. It is a sign of vitality. It indicates pent-up energy, which of itself is neither good nor bad, but can be used for good causes or for bad.”
The Pope also addressed the poor in Tondo and later proceeded to Manila’s Rizal Park where he beatified Lorenzo Ruiz and other martyrs who were persecuted in Japan in the 17th century. It was the first beatification outside of Rome in history.
The Chinese Catholic communities in Asia and later, the Diplomatic Corps, had an audience with the Pope as well.
On Feb. 19, 1981, the Pope flew to Cebu City, where he met with the priests and seminarians of the Sacred Heart before celebrating a Mass for families at the old Lahug airport.
The following day, the Pope celebrated Mass for the community of Davao City before meeting with representatives of the Muslim community at the Davao airport. On the same day, he met with landowners and workers of sugarcane plantations in the reclaimed area of Bacolod City, as well as with representatives of Catholic organizations in the Cathedral of Jaro in Iloilo province.
On Feb. 21, 1981, the Pope visited a refugee camp in Morong town, Bataan province, and met with Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian war refugees. He then met with a group of lepers in Tala at Radio Veritas in Manila. Over Radio Veritas, the Pope addressed the other Asian nations that have never had a pontifical visit, among them China, North Korea and Vietnam. His message was a prayer for peace in these nations’ quest for prosperity.
The Pope later met with representatives of mass media and of other Christian churches in the Philippines and with the labor committees in the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila.
Pope John Paul II’s last day in the Philippines on Feb. 22, 1981, began in Baguio City with a Mass for indigenous tribes after which farewell ceremonies were held at Manila International Airport.
In 1981, at the height of his real estate business expansion around the now Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Bro. Mike bought the DWXI (1314 kHz) AM Radio Station from its owner-operators for P2 million, because he needed the parcel of land on which it stood. Besides, the owners would not sell the land unless the radio station was included in the deal. Later, the radio station alone would cost him millions more to sustain its operations.
That same year, Bro. Mike became a born-again Catholic. In his eagerness to know more about the Lord Jesus Christ, he attended various prayer-meetings and studied the Word of God diligently. Thus, he learned about the practice of giving tithes and miracle-seed-of-faith offerings. He began to give financial support for the Mass and Healing Rallies of some charismatic groups that had started to flourish in the Philippines. One of these was the first Catholic Charismatic Mass and Healing Rally held at the Araneta Coliseum, which was organized by the Quezon City Catholic Charismatic Secretariat. Brother Mike gave P50,000 as a seed-of-faith offering for that activity. That amount was his last “cold cash” in the bank because his real estate business then had come to a standstill due to the downward trend in the real estate industry in the midst of economic crisis in the Philippines. Worse, his bank loans had snowballed to over P200 million because of runaway interests and penalties.
After giving the P50,000 seed-of-faith offering, with in God’s Word, he prayed for a financial miracle. A week before the rally was held, a group of businessmen approached him and bought part of his real estate holdings for P60 million! With joy in his heart, he shared about the miracle during the Araneta prayer rally and started telling people about that testimony in other prayer-meetings where he was invited to attend. He recounted to them how God had returned his P50,000 seed-of-faith offering a thousandfold!
A Mysterious Voice
Once, at DWXI Radio Station, Bro. Mike heard a mysterious voice telling him: “Build Me a center, and I will give rest to you and all who will go with you.” He thought God was calling him to build a church or a basilica made of concrete, similar to many other religious structures. He immediately called an architect to design a basilica with a seven-thousand seating capacity and set aside a piece of land at the Multinational Village for that purpose. Then, he had the plan blessed by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, at the Vatican and prepared for its construction. However, his plan did not push through, inasmuch as his creditors and financial institutions started to foreclose most of his assets and real estate properties. Only one of his assets was not mortgaged the DWXI Radio Station. But this was a non-performing asset which instead ate most of his savings.
Nonetheless, in the darkest moment of his financial crisis, Bro. Mike remained steadfast in his faith. He thought that if the radio station could not help him rise above his financial troubles, he could have at least used it in spreading the Word of God and by bearing witness to the miracles that God had done in his life.
This would provide him a way to reach more people and draw them to the Lord Jesus Christ. He soon found himself actively sharing the Word of God in his radio program “To God Be the Glory.” After several months, however, he decided to quit broadcasting and thought of hiring others to do the job. But before he could do so, he received a letter from a woman which read: “Bro. Mike, don’t ever give up. Please continue with your radio program. One evening, when I felt I could die of migraine, which I had been suffering from for the last seventeen years, I happened to tune in to your program. As you prayed, I joined you and asked God to help me. Praise the Lord, at that very moment I got healed! Now your radio program has become a part of my life. Glory to God! Keep on, Bro. Mike!” The woman’s testimony inspired Bro. Mike to continue with his radio program. He read her letter on the air and, soon, letters from other listeners giving their testimonies on miracles they received from God, and some were asking for prayer and counseling flooded his office.
To deepen his commitment to the Lord, he issued a memorandum instructing the treasurer of his real estate company to set aside ten percent of every sale and collection as tithe for the support of the work for the Lord through DWXI Radio Station. Miraculously, after this, offers were made on his foreclosed real estate properties, with the banks allowing him to sell these on his own terms and repay his loans out of the proceeds. Soon, his loans had been settled and some of his foreclosed properties were recovered.
After sometime, people from all walks of life were trooping to his office asking for prayer for the healing of their ailments and counseling for their financial and spiritual problems. Then, the Spirit of God finally revealed to him the real meaning of the mysterious call, “It is you whom I need to be built as a holy temple and to serve as a living sacrifice to renew the Church. I have called you to share with everyone the Good News and the joy of Salvation, to strengthen the faith of God’s people, to set on fire their love for God and neighbor, and to bring them into a family that cares and shares in each other’s burdens and blessings while waiting for the joyful second coming of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”
Upon arrival, airport authorities herded us to the holding room, which was normally used for foreign dignitaries, who issued either arrival or departure statements. At first, we thought Aquino would give his arrival statement there.
Manila-based journalists working with foreign news organizations were mixed with opposition leaders and Aquino family members, whom we hardly knew during those days because they did not involve themselves in politics and, ergo, were low key.
I saw the likes of Dona Aurora, the mother, and siblings Paul, Butz, Maur Lichauco, and Tessie Oreta, although we came to know their identities later. Doy Laurel, wife Celia, and their kids were there along with Senators Lorenzo Tanada, Rene Espina, and Mamintal Tamano and human rights lawyer Joker Arroyo.
I personally felt that the Aquino homecoming would be different from previous events that I covered and chronicled at the airport, when I saw an inordinate number of fully-armed soldiers deployed in the airport terminal building.
No one among the journalists, opposition leaders, and Aquino family members were allowed to go out of the holding room the very moment we entered into it.
We were completely locked in that room; we were sequestered there. We did not know anything that had happened outside the holding room.
I saw the stern-looking Col. Vicente Tigas, a ranking official of Gen. Ver’s Presidential Security Command, walked back and forth just outside the holding room with his hand held walkie-talkie radio, as if he was checking if all journalists were locked in that holding room.
Journalists of the crony newspapers were assigned in a different area, but because they knew the airport terrain, they went to the area where they could see the China Air Lines plane that brought in Aquino.
Recto Mercene of the crony newspaper Times Journal took those iconic shots of Ninoy Aquino’s body being dragged by soldiers to a waiting van.
The combined group of journalists and civilians felt bored and restless when at around 2 pm, a moon-faced, bespectacled American national with a pair of slit eyes barged into the holding room and went straight to Dona Aurora, the Aquino siblings, Tanada, and Arroyo tell them nervously that Aquino, while in the custody of soldiers, was shot.
I was just a few meters away when Ken Kashiwahara of U.S. network ABC, husband of sister Lupita and Ninoy’s brother-in-law, tearfully said these words that continue to resonate into my mind: “They shot him… Yes, they shot him.”
A stunned Tanada asked: “Is he dead?” “Yes, he’s dead,” Kashiwahara replied as he recounted how the soldiers dragged his body to the van. Then, the Aquinos, Tanada, Arroyo, and others broke into tears.
Kashiwahara was too overwhelmed by emotions to narrate details of Aquino’s murder. But because he was a journalist too, he took pains to explain what exactly transpired when China Air Lines Flight 811 touched down at the airport and soldiers of the Aviation Security Command (AVSECOM), under Brig. Gen. Luther Custodio, took Aquino from his seat.
Kashiwahara was our first source of information. We did not know at that time that an unidentified guy, whom the military later alleged as Aquino’s gunman with communist links, was also killed on the airport tarmac.
Kashiwahara traveled to Manila to accompany Ninoy Aquino. His wife, Lupita, earlier arrived in Manila to prepare the homecoming. Jim Laurie, Kashiwahara’s colleague at ABC, also traveled with Ninoy Aquino’s party to do the coverage with his crew.
Other journalists in the China Air Lines flight included Sandra Burton of Time magazine, Max Vanzi of United Press International, and the controversial Kiyoshi Wakamiya, a freelance Japanese journalist, who earlier said he saw a soldier shot Aquino but later recanted it.
We went back to our office in the Ermita district to file the news report about Aquino’s murder. I called up various sources – opposition leaders, defense and military officials, Malacanang, and fellow working journalists (it was customary for us to share information) – for updates.
By 5:30 pm, we went back to the airport for the press conference of Maj. Gen. Prospero Olivas, PC-INP Metrocom chief, who told newsmen that the unidentified gunman (later known as Rolando Galman) shot Aquino with a 357 handgun.
At that point, Marcos had firmed up the theory that Aquino was killed by an alleged communist hit man.
By nightfall, more details trickled in. Aquino was brought by his military escorts to the Army Hospital in Fort Bonifacio.
Among the details I got: When told, Doy Laurel, Dona Aurora, and Aquino’s siblings went to the army hospital, but were stopped at the entrance of Fort Bonifacio, forcing them to walk for an hour under the boiling sun because the soldiers did not allow them to use their vehicles in going to the hospital, and, of course, the confirmation that Aquino was dead.
By late evening, I had an idea that Aquino was a victim of a military rubout, a conspiracy of the lowest kind.
I consulted my media colleagues by telephone and the emerging consensus was that a military plot to kill him was implemented the moment he arrived in Manila.
By midnight, I felt the extreme exhaustion of our coverage. It was a long day indeed.
Suddenly, I felt tears started rolling down my cheeks. I am a journalist trained to take distance from my coverage. But I am also a Filipino, who felt indignant at the way they killed Aquino. It was most repugnant for me to see a patriot being murdered in broad daylight.
My Japanese boss saw how I felt. He did not say a word, although I felt he sympathized with me. He allowed some minutes for me to compose myself out of respect for my feeling.
Then, he gently told me we should go home for tomorrow’s coverage. By 8 am the next day, I was in the office for another day of grinding, hard work.
In the Philippines, hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Manila on August 31 for the funeral of opposition leader Benigno Aquino, who was murdered when he arrived home from self-exile ten days earlier. Cardinal Jaime Sin, leader of the country’s 42 million Roman Catholics, led the funeral service, pleading for peace and national reconciliation. Cardinal Sin said former Senator Aquino wished to come home, not for confrontation, but for reconciliation, adding that Aquino’s death personified Filipino courage in the face of oppression. The senator’s family had flown home from the United States for the ceremony, attended by many senior diplomats and thousands of people. But there were no representatives of President Ferdinand Marcos’s government. Crowds carrying anti-government placards followed the coffin in a procession which stretched for nearly four kilometres (two miles). Police deliberately kept a low profile, although riot squads were said to be on standby. No incidents were reported, despite the number of mourners who escorted the garlanded coffin, borne on a ten-wheel truck, along its 27 kilometre (15-mile) route to a cemetery south of the capital, Manila. The crowds were so dense that the journey lasted for nearly twelve hours.
Establishment of the DWXI Prayer Partners Foundation International
In August 1984, Bro. Mike invited his listeners for a Thanksgiving Mass and Healing Rally that was held in front of the DWXI Radio Station Compound on the Sunday nearest his birthday, August 20. About one thousand people attended the affair and experienced the miracle-working power of God!
Encouraged by the success of the rally, Bro. Mike scheduled a monthly Mass and Healing Rally at the DWXI Compound in Paranaque. Some time later, as more people came to be led back to the Lord Jesus Christ, the rally was held weekly. A monthly Catholic Life-in-the-Spirit Seminar (CLSS) and a weekly fellowship were also held at the Queensway Building (owned by Bro. Mike) at 118 Amorsolo St. in Makati City.
After a while, Bro. Mike decided to air his program three times a week and began thinking of a new title and theme song for it. At this time, a friend gave him a magazine entitled “El Shaddai,” which quickly aroused his interest.
He made a study of the meaning of the term and discovered that it was one of the seven Covenant Names, by which God the Father revealed Himself to Israel.
El Shaddai, a Hebrew word, when translated to English meant “The God Who Is More than Enough.” The Good News Bible translated El Shaddai as “God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1/35:11). Shortly, he heard the song “El Shaddai” over Radio DWXI itself. At this point, he realized that God wanted His Holy and Almighty Name to be proclaimed and made known throughout the world. He thus changed the title of his radio program to “El Shaddai.”
Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the weekly fellowship came to be called the DWXI Prayer Partners Family Appointment with El Shaddai, since Radio DWXI was the broadcast medium, he and his first listeners became prayer-partners, and El Shaddai was the Divine Name revealed to him by God. Every week, God added thousands of new prayer-partners to this community by means of the Good News aired over the radio DWXI and the Mass and Healing Rallies held all over Metro Manila and nearby provinces. As the community grew, they voluntarily gave their tithes and miracle-seed-of-faith offerings to support the radio program “El Shaddai” and the Mass and Healing Rallies. Some prayer- partners even volunteered to serve without compensation.
Inspired by the outcome of events, Bro. Mike thought it was time to formally organize the community. Thus, the DWXI Prayer Partners Foundation, Inc. was established, which in due time was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It was organized, primarily, as an institution where Bro. Mike could channel his tithes and donations derived from his real estate business and other companies to support the religious activities of various Catholic charismatic groups and some projects of charitable organizations. These however were not enough to support the expenses of the newly-founded charismatic community, especially the radio programs of DWXI and the Mass and Healing Rallies. And so, he had to continue shelling out funds from his own personal earnings. For him, though, it was a great enough blessing from El Shaddai that his radio listeners came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and were receiving answers to their prayer-requests.
In 1988, the first overseas chapter of the Foundation was established in Hong Kong. It started when Bro. Mike, who was then in Hong Kong for a vacation, was invited to share the Word of God before a Filipino Prayer Group at the St. Joseph Church on May 15. After the meeting, a group of seven Filipino prayer-partners working there and who were at the affair bonded together and held their initial prayer-meeting at the Jones Health Club, a gym formerly owned by Bro. Kenneth and Sis. Tessie Wong at North Point, drawing thirty persons. On August 7, the group invited Bro. Mike, together with Rev. Fr. Archie Guiriba, OFM, for a Mass and Healing Rally at the St. Joseph Church Hall. The rally was such a success that it paved the way for the formation of the El Shaddai DWXI-PPFI Hong Kong Chapter with a core group of seven persons on August 21. On November 20, the first healing rally under the chapter’s banner was held at the Christ the King Chapel of the St. Paul’s College. An estimated 800 people attended the affair. The chapter increased in number as the years passed that venues for its succeeding anniversaries were held in bigger ones from the Caritas Hall in Central, Hong Kong to Queen Elizabeth Stadium, Ko Shan Theater in Kowloon, Hong Kong Coliseum, Kai Tak International Airport, and Hong Kong Stadium. At the chapter’s 11th anniversary at the Hong Kong Stadium in November 1999, approximately forty thousand people attended the affair.
From 1989 to present, other chapters were formed in Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Libya, Macau, Malaysia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, U.A.E., United Kingdom, USA and Yemen. These were formed by Filipino prayer-partners working abroad, who were motivated by the desire to bear witness to the love and goodness of El Shaddai. With the emergence of the chapters abroad, the corporate name registered with the SEC was amended to El Shaddai DWXI Prayer Partners Foundation International.
Later in 1993, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) realized that the growth of the Foundation, particularly since it was affecting Catholics, could not be taken for granted any longer. Most Rev. Teodoro Bacani Jr., DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila and Overall Spiritual Director of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement (CCRM) in the Archdiocese of Manila, invited Bro. Mike to the CBCP Conference on January 24, 1993, to shed light on what was going on in the Foundation. On that occasion, Bishop Bacani was beside Bro. Mike, not to defend him, but to bear witness to what God was doing through the Foundation. The result of the meeting was satisfactory because most of the questions asked were clearly and humbly answered by Bro. Mike. This event paved the way for the recognition of the chapters of the Foundation by several dioceses and parishes of the Roman Catholic Church. It also initiated the launching of its Back-to-the-Parish program. As you read on, you will discover how the Foundation has grown dramatically through the years.
The Foundation Through The Years
In February 1985, thousands of people received deliverance from sin, vices and ailments during the DWXI-PPFI Healing Rally at the DWXI Studio Compound in Pascor Drive, NAIA, Paranaque City, with Bro. Mike Velarde as speaker.
On the second quarter of 1985, the Foundation held Catholic Life-in-the-Spirit Seminars and fellowships in the following places: Cabuyao Parish, Laguna; Concepcion, Malabon; Balagtas, Bulacan; and Abucay Catholic Church in Bataan.
On August 17 to 18, 1985, during its First Anniversary at the DWXI Compound in Paranaque City, about five thousand people witnessed and experienced the miracle touch of El Shaddai. In that same period of time, the maiden issue of the “Liwanag Magazine” (now “El Shaddai Bagong Liwanag Magazine”), the official publication of the Foundation, was released to the public.
In 1985, monthly Catholic Life-in-the-Spirit Seminar (CLSS) of the Foundation was moved to the Folk Arts Theater (FAT) at the CCP Complex, Pasay City, because the venue on Amorsolo could no longer accommodate the increasing number of participants. About twelve thousand people witnessed and experienced the tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the first CLSS held at FAT. Following this, even more people attended the succeeding seminars, so they had to be conducted in three shifts until the FAT itself could no longer hold the crowds. Consequently, the CLSS was held at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, wherein close to twenty-five thousand people participated.
In May 14’s Batasan Pambansa elections, Ninoy’s widow, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, threw her support behind opposition parties UNIDO (United Nationalist Democratic Organization) and PDP-LABAN (Pilipino Democratic Party-Lakas ng Bayan). Despite allegations of fraud on the KBL side, her candidates won 56 seats out of 183. In October, the Fact-Finding Board found Ver, 24 other soldiers, and one civilian indictable for the murder of Aquino; Ver went on leave of absence and Ramos was appointed Acting Chief of Staff. In November, Marcos underwent a second renal transplant. Rumors of Marcos dying and Ver taking over were rife. Enrile began to admit publicly that he would like to be president in the future, when Marcos was no longer interested.
February 1985 – Ver et al stood trial before the Sandigan Bayan for the Aquino assassination. March, the RAM went public at PMA’s homecoming ceremonies. In his speech to the graduating class the next day, Ramos confirmed the need for reforms and proposed sweeping changes to strengthen the demoralized military in the face of a mounting Communist insurgency. Soon after, Col. Jose Almonte, former director of a Marcos think-tank, joined RAM.
July – Marcos removed the Integrated National Police from Enrile’s ministry and placed it under direct presidential control. August, opposition Members of Parliament filed a motion to impeach Marcos, citing culpable violation of the Constitution and allegations of “hidden wealth.” RAM firmed up coup plans for the day after Christmas. US Senator Richard Lugar, head of the Committee on Foreign Relations, sent a member of his staff, Frederick Brown, to Manila to evaluate the deteriorating situation. Brown concluded that one of the few promising developments was the emergence of the RAM, a group that the Pentagon and CIA happened to be quietly encouraging.
September – A US defense attache confirmed that Malacañang had issued secret and undated warrants for the arrest of RAM leaders.
October – In Washington D.C., a secret strategy meeting attended by retired General Edward G. Lansdale discussed 2 questions: whether to keep the U.S. bases in the Philippines; if yes, how to shift control of the AFP from Ver to the RAM. US Sen. Paul Laxalt visited Marcos to convey Reagan’s concerns about the communist threat and to discuss CIA director William Casey’s idea of holding snap elections, if only to disarm his liberal critics in America. Joaquin “Chino” Roces launched the “Cory Aquino for President Movement” (CAPM). A week later, Cory agreed to run if (1) Marcos called snap elections, and (2) if the CAPM gathered the promised million signatures.
Marcos declared on American television that he would run in snap presidential polls three months hence. November 19, the Batasan Pambansa set February 7 as the date for the snap polls. November 30, Cory was presented with more than a million signatures drafting her as presidential contender.
Ver et al were acquitted by the Sandigan Bayan of complicity in the Aquino assassination. The very next day, Cory declared her candidacy under the UNIDO banner, with former Senator Salvador Laurel as her running mate. December 23, the Communist Party of the Philippines sounded the call to boycott the snap elections. December 28, Ambassador Leticia Ramos Shahani announced her resignation from the Philippine foreign service to join Cory Aquino. December 31, KBL stalwarts began defecting to UNIDO. IBM Philippines refused to take part in the COMELEC’s computerization plans.
Their coup plans on hold, RAM launched “Kamalayan ’86,” a series of prayer rallies and consciousness-raising seminars funded by anti-Marcos businessmen led by Jaime Ongpin, to impress the need for clean and honest elections upon members of the military. Meanwhile, in separate meetings, key officers sketched Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos their coup plans. The reformist military tried, and failed, to convince Cory that she had no chance of winning at the polls..
A 21-member bi-partisan delegation of US senators, congressmen, and private citizens arrived in Manila to monitor the elections.
An estimated million, the largest political gathering in the nation’s history, attended Mrs. Aquino’s miting de avance. NAMFREL (National Movement for Free Elections) announced it would post poll-watchers to prevent fraud in the counting. At least five banks, known to have ties with the Marcos regime, experienced a run.
Election Day. NAMFREL mobilized 400,000 volunteers to monitor voting, challenge wrongdoing, and guard against fraud. Broadcast alerts over Radio Veritas urged volunteers into troubled areas to stop ballot boxes from being stolen or tampered with.|
Cory Aquino took the lead in NAMFREL’s tally of precinct results. She vowed massive protests and daily street demonstrations if cheated. The government’s counting proceeded more slowly and showed Marcos leading.
Led by Linda Kapunan, thirty computer technicians manning the COMELEC tabulation machines walked out of their posts in protest over alleged deliberate changing of election results. A multinational team of observers cited cases of vote-buying, intimidation, snatching of ballot boxes, tampered election returns, and the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters, specially in Metro Manila, by the ruling party.
Defense Minister Enrile warned of greater political instability. “Any untoward events may cause the country to swing either to the extreme right or to the extreme left.” In either case, he said, only the Communist Party would benefit. Gen. Fabian Ver said that the recent election was “the most peaceful in the history of the country,” and exhorted AFP men to keep up the good work.
Laban leader Evelio Javier, former governor of Antique, was gunned down in broad daylight. The Batasan Pambansa formally began the canvass of election returns. Reagan said “hard evidence” of fraud was lacking, and he would send Philip Habib to mediate between the ruling party and the opposition camp. Cory Aquino asked “friends abroad” to set aside “short-sighted self-interest” and stop supporting “a failing dictator.” This, as President Marcos invited her to join his government and “actively participate” in a planned Council of State.
February 12, The Philippine peso fell drastically to an all-time low of P20 to a dollar, dropping by 75 centavos from its rate the day before.
February 13, President Marcos took a virtually irreversible lead over opposition candidate Corazon C. Aquino in the Batasan’s official canvass of votes. This, despite efforts of opposition MP’s to point out defects in almost all certificates of canvass opened by Speaker Nicanor Yniguez. Statistical improbabilities were also cited.
February 14, The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued its strongest statement ever, warning that a government which “assumes or retains power through fraud” would have “no moral basis.” President Marcos’s lead widened to 1.5 million votes, with only 1.1 million votes remaining uncanvassed. Marcos called a meeting of senior generals–Ver, Ramos, Josephus Ramas of the Army, Vicente Piccio of the Air Force, Brilliante Ochoco of the Navy, and Prospero Olivas of the Metropolitan Command. Discussed were: the disciplining of military reformists and arrest of their leaders; the arrest and assassination of opposition leaders–Neptali Gonzales, Ramon Mitra, Homobono Adaza, Luis Villafuerte, Aquilino Pimentel, Rene Saguisaag, Joe Concepcion, Dante Santos, Ting Paterno, Jaime Ongpin, Vicente Jayme, among others; the declaration of a state of emergency; the arrest and liquidation of Enrile.
February 15, The Batasan Pambansa formally proclaimed Marcos winner of the February 7 elections; all 50 opposition Members of Parliament walked out in protest. Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin, speaking for the economic technocrats, assured Marcos of support if he undertook reforms in military, political, and economic areas; Marcos signed an agreement to the effect. Philip Habib arrived in Manila.
February 16, At a “victory rally,” Corazon Aquino called for coordinated strikes and the boycott of crony media, 7 banks, Rustan’s Department Store, and San Miguel Corporation in a civil disobedience campaign aimed at toppling Marcos from power. Marcos announced that Ver had resigned as AFP Chief of Staff and NISA director-general and that Lt. Gen. Ramos would serve as Chief of Staff. The White House grudgingly admitted that the elections “were marred by fraud and violence perpetrated largely by the ruling party” and instructed Habib to work out a compromise with Cory.
February 17, Marcos extended Ver’s term to the end of February to allow him to wind up his affairs. Habib met with Marcos, then with Cory. Cory bluntly refused anything less than Marcos’s removal from office. She announced that she would go around the country to sound her call for civil disobedience and non-violent protest actions; her first stops, Cebu and Davao, the coming weekend. (Habib also met privately with Ramos and Enrile over the next few days.) Crony banks, corporations, and media were hit hard by the boycott. Deposit withdrawals were reportedly heavy not only in the seven banks in Cory’s boycott list but also in banks either partly or wholly owned by known Marcos cronies. Nestle pulled out its ads from government TV Channel 4 and newspaper Bulletin Today. San Miguel-A shares went down to as low as P11.50 per share, while B shares went down to P14.50 per.
Not far behind in financial fiasco was the beverage industry. Beer quaffers had suddenly shifted to gin or hard drinks. Restaurants, eateries and cafes refused to serve San Miguel beer as well as Coca Cola, Sprite and Royal True Orange. A small number also stopped drinking Pepsi Cola, Seven-Up and Mirinda, thinking that these softdrinks were also under the control of a crony.
February 18, The peso fell to P22.04 to the dollar. NAMFREL chairman Jose Concepcion, Jr. said at least 3.27 million voters, mostly from areas considered as opposition bailiwicks, were unable to cast their votes in the February 7 election. Enrile’s American friends warned him that Ver was positioning his forces around Metro Manila.
February 19, The US Senate voted 85 to 9 in favor of a declaration that the snap elections were marked by “widespread fraud.” Col. Irwin Ver placed the Presidential Security Command on red alert. US bishops announced their support of the local clergy’s election protests.
February 20, Testifying before a US House subcomittee, Asst. Secretary of State Paul H. Wolfowitz disclosed that Reagan’s offer of new aid was “in abeyance” as long as Marcos remained in office. Diplomats from 15 nations – Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Japan, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, and West Germany – called on Mrs. Aquino who told them she was determined to assume the presidency “at the earliest possible time.” Jeepney drivers, consumerists, students, and academicians joined the boycott wagon. RAM set the coup for Sunday, February 23, at 2:00 AM. Col. Almonte detailed the plans to Gen. Ramos.
February 21, Marcos admitted he was “nervous” about the decisions of foreign governments to boycott his February 25 inauguration and that he was launching a diplomatic offensive to inform foreign governments about what transpired in the polls. In a 35-minute meeting with Habib, Aquino advised the envoy to “wait and see…let events speak for themselves.” Ver informed Marcos that Ramos and Enrile and his Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin were involved with RAM in a CIA plot to assassinate the president. Enrile received information that Ver had ordered his men to prepare for a series of arrests; he wrote a letter of resignation which he said he would deliver to Malacanang the following Monday. Despite rumors of a weekend coup by RAM and suggestions that she stay put in Manila, Mrs. Aquino said she would fly to Cebu as scheduled Saturday morning to pursue her civil disobedience campaign. In less than a week since Aquino’s call for a boycott of crony-owned or aligned banks and business establishments, there was a total of P1.78 billion in withdrawals from crony banks and the Philippine National Bank, Security Bank & Trust Company, Republic Planters Bank, and Traders Royal Bank. The first to get their money out of the crony banks were groups belonging to the clergy; in Union Bank, the clergy represented at least 12 % of its deposit base. As a result, deposit upsurges were recorded in Bank of the Philippine Islands, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, and Citibank. Bulletin today, the country’s largest circulated newspaper (circulation 350,000) trailed behind the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Malaya, and the Manila Times. Rustan’s department store was empty; most of their customers moved over to SM Shoemart, Anson’s, and Robinson’s.
When the day began, just after midnight, a meeting was in progress in the home of Marcos’s Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile.
DASMARIÑAS VILLAGE, MAKATI – Among those present were Enrile, his press secretary, Silvestre Afable, and three key officers plotting a coup against Ferdinand Marcos.
The five were putting final touches to a speech Enrile planned to read 36 hours later over national radio and television. Enrile would proclaim himself head of a ruling junta, the National Reconciliation Council, just after rebel troops assaulted the Palace at 2:00 AM February 23, capturing or killing Marcos.
Spearheading the attack on Marcos was Enrile’s chief of security, Colonel Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, an officer whose relationship with the Defense Minister has been described as “closer than father and son.”
Enrile was the central political figure behind the coup conspiracy, but Honasan, his PMA classmates Col. Eduardo Kapunan and Col. Victor Batac, were the masterminds of the attack plans.
At 2:00 AM of the 23rd of February, Sunday, Col. Honasan and his commandos, guided by carefully prepared maps and rebels in the Palace guard, would break into the presidential bedrooms of Malacañang Palace to arrest Marcos and his First Lady, Imelda. Simultaneously, Col. Kapunan’s force would set off a series of massive explosions near the Malacañang armories, signalling three rebel battalions to move in with reinforcements. The first and largest explosion was intended to assassinate General Fabian Ver who would be sleeping inside his home in nearby Malacañang Park.
The rebels also finalized a list of nominees for Enrile’s junta: opposition candidate Corazon Aquino, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel Ramos, Cardinal Jaime Sin, and several leading technocrats like Marcos’s Prime Minister Cesar Virata. Veritas Special Edition Oct 86
Unknown to Honasan, one of his moles in Malacanang Palace had been leaking top-secret details of the coup plot to the Vers.
In January, Honasan had pressured an officer on the staff of the Presidential Security command into acting as an agent within the Palace. Thirty-five-year-old Major Edgardo Doromal had been reluctant to take the assignment, and he wasn’t up to its demands. In just a few days, Doromal’s nerves frayed, and he unburdened himself to his commander, Col. Irwin Ver, who immediately passed on the astonishing information to his father, the general. The Vers turned the jittery Doromal into a double agent, and he channeled accurate, up-to-date information to them. (WORTH DYING FOR 1987,pp272-273)
While Enrile was polishing his speech, General Ver was fortifying the palace.
MALACAÑANG PALACE, 2:00 AM – Ver ordered the 5th Marine Battalion Landing Team out of Zamboanga to the National Capital Region. He plucked 8 officers and 82 enlisted personnel from the 5th Infantry Battalion in Piddig, Ilocos Norte for urgent posting in Malacañang. Further, he beefed up the anti-riot units with one Philippine Air Force (PAF) Crowd Dispersal and Control Battalion
Malacañang’s defenses were divided into 4 sectors; each sector had a battalion of ground troops. The Palace was the responsibility of Col. Irwin Ver, Presidential Security Command (PSC) Chief of Staff. Lieutenant Colonel Rexor Ver headed the Presidential Security Unit of 400 men, whose primary mission was to provide close-in security to the First Family. The Recon Company of the PSC, an armored unit with 8 light Scorpion tanks, 10 M-113 Armored Personnel Carriers (APC), and 11 V-150s was under Major Wyrlo Ver. The Pasig River from its mouth at Manila Bay to Guadalupe, about 2 kilometers from the Palace, was secured by a Philippine Navy unit composed of 6 patrol crafts, 2 frigates, a demolition team, and ferry boats. All approaches to the Palace by road were secured by the Metrocom Western Sector under Lt. Col. Agapito Heredia. This mobile unit of 350 men took care of choke points at the Ayala-Lozano approach, the Sta. Mesa-JP Laurel approach, the Mendiola approach, and all approaches on Otis St. and Nagtahan Bridge. The unit was also assigned to provide the palace with in-depth defense.
All in all they had 3,629 fully armed officers and men. (BREAKAWAY1986, pp. 5-6)
Ver was turning the palace into a death trap. . . a cat’s cradle of detonation leads to 500 lb. bombs and Claymore anti-personnel mines lining the river.
Acting on orders from Marcos, who was in command, Ver announced to his generals that he would let Col. Honasan’s commandos approach the palace riverfront in their rubber boats.
Ver was turning the palace into a death trap. A navy demolition team was already weaving a cat’s cradle of detonation leads to 500 lb. bombs and Claymore anti-personnel mines lining the river.
In a garishly theatrical touch, the river was to be lit up with spotlights as Honasan and his men crossed in their boats. Marcos’s son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Jr., was to step forward with a megaphone, give the rebels one chance to surrender, and then signal the launch of the counter-attack. Veritas SpeciaL Oct 86
While Ver was fortifying the palace, some reformists began to feel the heat.
FORT BONIFACIO – After escorting Trade & Industry Minister Robert Ongpin to his Alabang residence, his 19 security men were arrested by elements of the Scout Ranger Regiment and brought to Fort Bonifacio.
Military officers who interrogated them told Ongpin’s aides that they had been arrested in connection with an attempted coup and a plan to assassinate the President and his wife.
In the ensuing investigation, Ongpin’s chief security aide, Lt. Alamos Alabe, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academny and detailed with the Linsi Security Agency, managed to talk his way out of Fort Bonifacio, claiming he was not a member of the military. Immediately, Alabe rushed to Ongpin’s house to inform him of what had happened. Business Day13 Mar 86
DASMARIÑAS VILLAGE, MAKATI, 3:00 AM – The meeting at Enrile’s house was just breaking up. Col. Tirso Gador, a commander from Enrile’s home province, walked the others to the street. “I have your Uzis in my car,” he told them.
The would-be rebels stared blankly. “We told him we didn’t know how to use an Uzi,” recalled Captain Felix Turingan, who added, “I’d been planning to use my Armalite.”
Nonplussed, Gador held an impromptu training session in the early Manila dawn, right outside the Defense Minister’s palatial home. Veritas Special Oct 86
Honasan and Kapunan had left the meeting earlier to make a final reconnaissance of the approaches to the Palace.
OUTSIDE MALACAÑANG – Honasan and Kapunan discovered a battle-hardened Marine battalion sitting precisely at their point of attack. By dawn, it was clear that they had been betrayed. Ibid.
According to Ramos aide Avelino Razon, the AFP Vice Chief of Staff was in his office by 6:30 AM as usual. A RAM member, Major Razon had kept the general informed of the coup plans.
Sonny Razon: That early morning it was not yet clear what the apprehension of Ongpin’s security was all about. As far as I knew, everything was still “go.”
Jose Almonte: We planned the whole action mainly under two offices: the Ministry of National Defense and the office of Gen. Ramos, then PC Chief and AFP Vice Chief of Staff. His closest aides and the chief of his security, Sonny Razon, were members of our core group; they kept the general informed of meetings and developments.
ALABANG, RIZAL, Morning – Ongpin, in a panic, called up Marcos and asked why his security aides had been arrested. Marcos assured Ongpin that he would investigate the matter. Marcos offered the services of some of his security from the Presidential Security Command but Ongpin vigorously objected. Business Day 13 Mar ’86
CAMP AGUINALDO, MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, 9:00 AM – Sent by Ver, Metropolitan Command officer Col. Rolando Abadilla tried to talk Honasan out of doing anything rash.
“He reminded me that Ver and my father were friends, that Irwin and I were friends,” Honasan said. “I told him to tell Ver he could order me to report to him anytime because he was the chief.”
Despite his cocky response, Honasan was shaken. As soon as Abadilla left, at about 10 a.m., he called Kapunan into his office. They weighed what they had seen on their late-night drive and discussed their options, then decided to freeze operations for twenty-four hours. “We didn’t abort our plans,” said Kapunan, “we just froze them.” WORTH DYING FOR p.272
10:00 A.M. – Gringo Honasan checked out incoming reports for additional data on the prepositioning of troops and armored vehicles in Malacanang and other places in Metro Manila. As he pored over some of the documents, two brief reports which came in at 7 A.M. caught his eye: “5th Marine Battalion landing Team moved from Fort Bonifacio to Pandacan area just off the Otis entrance of the Malacanang Park at 0400H.” “14th Army Infantry Battalion moved to North Harbor from Nueva Ecija at 0300H.” BREAKAWAY p. 168
MAKATI, Midmorning – Defense Minister Enrile was at the Atrium for coffee and gossip, chatting with Deputy Prime Minister Jose Rono, when a call came from Trade Minister Bobby Ongpin. “My security men! They’ve all been rounded up!” QUARTET OF THE TIGER MOON 1986, p. 15
Enrile was worried because three of those men were from his office and were on loan to Ongpin to train his own security force. BREAKAWAY p. 10
More to the point, several of those arrested were intimately involved with the coup plot. WORTH DYING FOR p. 274
MALACAÑANG PALACE, Morning – The household staff, all in white, moved reassuringly about their chores. Tuesday’s event was going to be significant and the Palace had to be brushed to a shine. The carpets were being shampooed and vacuumed, the shiny floors, made of rare Philippine hardwood, waxed and polished, and the huge chandeliers overhead, products of proud artisans from Guagua, Pampanga, dusted. The marble floors were scrubbed till they shone like mirrors. Everywhere, the capiz windows were cleaned and then opened to admit fresh air. The lights in the Ceremonial Hall, the dining room, Heroes Hall, the president’s Study Room, and Mrs. Marcos’s Music Room were turned off. The entire Palace was left to bathe in natural sunlight. MALACANANG TO MAKIKI 1991, p. 3
Mid-morning, Cory Aquino was just leaving for Cebu to campaign for civil disobedience.
Cory Aquino: It was my aide, then Lt. Jose Honrado, who told me of the rumors of a coup for the weekend, and who recommended that I stay in Manila. But I’d been hearing of rumors of coup attempts in the past and they never materialized, so I was not all that convinced that there would be one. On the other hand, Cebu was for certain. I had announced several days before that I would be in Cebu that Saturday in pursuance of the non-violent movement I had launched in February 16 at the Luneta. Thousands of people were expecting us who I imagined would be terribly disappointed and probably not as eager to give me their support if I did not come.
CAMP AGUINALDO, 12:00 Noon – There was commotion at the Defense Ministry as some of the reformists discussed what to do. Navy Capt. Rex Robles was assigned to act as liaison with the diplomatic community and to tell the world their story in case the reformists were arrested. Another reformist sent an urgent signal to a US Embassy official to seek help. No response. Honasan and Kapunan left for the Defense Minister’s residence. Business Day 28 Feb
MALACAÑANG PALACE, High Noon – Stephen Bosworth, American ambassador to the Philippines since May 4, 1984, was ushered into the Study Room. With him was Philip Habib, Ronald Reagan’s “trouble shooter,” whose presence in the country was the culmination of several months’ turmoil and intrigue. MALACAÑANG p. 4
Philip Habib was cutting short his stay by three days and leaving immediately. It would not do for President Reagan’s negotiator to be in Manila if all hell was going to break loose. It might seem as if he was involved, or responsible. THE MARCOS DYNASTY 1988, p. 411
The President, Habib, and Bosworth reviewed the elections, discussing peace and order. The Americans brought up the touchy subject of overstaying generals and insisted that Ver resign or retire. They bore down on that so hard that the President said later that perhaps if he had thrown them Ver’s head, the Americans might have eased up on him. MALACANANG p. 32
DASMARIÑAS VILLAGE, MAKATI – Enrile was taking lunch with his wife Cristina when Honasan and Kapunan arrived and asked to have a chat with him. Sunday Inquirer Magazine 9 Mar 86
Honasan said, “We’re getting constant information that there’s an order to round up all the members of the movement.” Asiaweek 9 Mar 86
Enrile assessed the situation. “We can disperse, in which case they would hunt each one of us. Or we can regroup and take a stand and take our chances. If we regroup, the possibility of an encounter is very high. But the possibility of a stand-off is not far-fetched.” Sun Inq Mag 9 Mar 86
Honasan and Kapunan tried to convince Enrile to fly to Cagayan where he could hide in the meantime and think of other options should the reformists be arrested. They assured him they could handle the situation in the camp. Enrile replied, “Why Cagayan? If I die, I might as well die here.” Enrile decided to regroup and call everyone to Camp Aguinaldo. Business Day 28 Feb 86
Cory was receiving a warm welcome from the people of Cebu.
CEBU CITY – People lined the highway leading to the city. In some intersections, crowds became so excited that they literally blocked the road, thus creating momentary bottlenecks in the traffic flow. People shouted “Cory! Cory! Cory!” and “Laban!” There was an abundance of yellow banners, streamers, and flags. People along the motorcade route displayed anything yellow, such as yellow banana leaves, yellow flowers, yellow bedsheets, yellow towels, yellow shirts and blouses, and even yellow men’s briefs. PEOPLE POWER (I) 1986, p. 146
Fidel Ramos: I had two important meetings scheduled that day. Lunch with Max Soliven at the house of Mrs. Betty Go Belmonte, and later in the afternoon, a dialogue with Cory supporters, mostly neighbors of mine who wanted to picket my house in Alabang.
Ming Ramos: But I asked them, “What will you get from picketing? You will not get any answers. Why don’t you have a dialogue with my husband instead?”
QUEZON CITY – Max Soliven secretly met with Gen. Fidel V. Ramos. Ramos explained why he had not chosen to resign despite the humiliations heaped on him by Mr. Marcos and rogue elements of his Philippine Constabulary who were involved in carnaps, murder, and other crimes. He said he had been helpless to discipline these men as they were protected “from above”. He said he had had to swallow his pride because he was needed “in place” to protect the lives of many “reformist” officers and men who would be in danger. Inquirer 25 Feb
MALACAÑANG PALACE, 12:45 PM – Still meeting with US envoy Philip Habib, Mr. Marcos stressed that although he had promised a policy of “maximum tolerance” towards the planned mass protest actions by the opposition and other anti-government forces, “the moment the opposition touched any of the public officials or started a Welga ng Bayan,” he would be constrained to take “more forceful measures.” Inquirer 23 Feb
While the president was busy with Habib and Bosworth upstairs, Capt. Ricardo Morales (one of the First Lady’s several escorts and security officers, who was to guide the rebel force up the stairs into the president’s bedroom) reconnoitered the Palace defenses and then attempted to withdraw firearms from the Presidential Security Unit armory. He was accosted and brought to the aides-de-camp room for questioning. MALACAÑANG p. 40
While Habib and Marcos had been closeted in the president’s study, a noticeably nervous General Ver had been cooling his heels next door in the music room.
Habib had barely been ushered out the front door of Marcos’s study when Ver slipped in through a side door to give him urgent news. His men were in the process of grilling four officers…plotters of a plan to storm the palace and oust Marcos. IMPOSSIBLE DREAM 1989, p. 376
MALACAÑANG PALACE – After Habib left, the President headed for his bedroom and rested, a by now predictable turn; he would rest after a caller, or even betweeen calls. His illness demanded that. It was to his bedroom that the news of the Enrile-Ramos mutiny was brought. MALACAÑANG p. 91
US EMBASSY, Just Before 2:00 PM – As he prepared to depart, Habib concluded: “Cory won the election and deserves our support. Marcos is finished, and we ought to offer him asylum in the United States.” Before boarding his US Air Force plane for the flight home, Habib intuitively told an American embassy officer to tell Bosworth, “Something’s going to break.” IN OUR IMAGE 1989, p. 415
DASMARIÑAS VILLAGE, MAKATI – Enrile’s and RAM’s number-one priority was to drum up as much public support as they could. To do this, they had to scuttle any impression that they had been planning a coup d’etat. If people realized that Enrile had been planning to stage a coup and then impose a junta, most of them certainly would not have been supportive. Enrile and his men had to cover their plans and portray themselves as victims.
That settled, Enrile went to his bedroom, changed into jeans and canvas shoes, and took an Uzi submachine gun out of the closet. WORTH DYING FOR p. 276
Before leaving home Enrile contacted Gen. Ramos. “Eddie, I have this problem and I’d like to know if you’ll help.” He outlined the plot that he had uncovered against RAM. “Will you support us?” QUARTET p. 15
Fidel Ramos: I said at once, “Yes, sir, I’m with you, all the way.” Then I warned him that his phone might be bugged. “I know all about it,” I said. “I will join you in Camp Aguinaldo.” I had wanted my withdrawal to have a very profound impact on events. I had been waiting for the right moment. And it came.
RAM recognized that while a significant number of officers and men were prepared to line up behind Enrile, his long political and personal association with Marcos had tainted him in the minds of many more. And this was doubly true among the civilian power structure, the wealthy businessmen who’d emerged as an anti-Marcos force and the large middle class who’d tirelessly marched and demonstrated ever sine the Aquino assassination. Ramos’s image was much cleaner. WORTH DYING FOR p. 265
CEBU CITY – Cory campaigned for civil disobedience. “We are ready to assume office as soon as Mr. Marcos goes,” she said. Malaya 23 Feb 86
She expanded the list of firms and establishments she had asked the people to boycott. In the new list were Fortune Tobacco, Asia Brewery, Allied Bank, Rustan’s Cebu, Cebu Plaza Hotel, Cebu Casino, Cebu Jai Alai, and the government-run station DYFM. The Sunday Times 23 Feb 86
DASMARIÑAS VILLAGE, MAKATI, Close to 3 PM Cristina Ponce Enrile was changing into her Sunday best to attend mass with her family at the chapel in their home. As she was about ready to step out of the bedroom, her husband came rushing in, got into some clothes, and “in a matter of seconds, he was ready to go,” recalled Mrs. Enrile. He gathered her in his arms, kissed her and said, “I think I’m going to be arrested.”
She saw him to the door. He was already inside the car when he ran back to her to give instructions: call a publisher friend to inform the press corps, foreign and local, and call Cardinal Sin. Mr & Ms. 28 Feb
Honasan picked up his radio transceiver and barked orders to his radio operator at Camp Aguinaldo. “Joggers! Joggers!” It was the signal to put all his men and RAM people, including 300 civilian components, on combat readiness. BREAKAWAY p. 169
Eggie Apostol: I was in the Inquirer office as usual, putting our Sunday edition to bed, when we got this call, about 2:30 in the afternoon, from Mrs. Enrile. I was in the office which I shared with Betty Go Belmonte and Mrs. Enrile asked to talk to me and she said Johnny was going to be arrested. “Will you help us? Will you call the Cardinal for us? And we did try to call the Cardinal, but we were not successful because I think the Cardinal was out in Ateneo for an ordination. So I told Betty and Lita Logarta to handle that part of it, to try to get hold of the cardinal, while I ran to Cristina in Dasmarinas Village. She sounded very nervous, and as I am very fond of Cristina, I wanted to be with her at that moment. On my way out, I passed by the desk of Louie Beltran who was our editor then and I told him what was happening. Of course nobody knew why Johnny was going to be arrested, everybody just knew he was going to be arrested.
3:00 PM – Enrile prepared a letter in the office of his friend Member of Parliament (MP) Rene Cayetano, to be opened only in case of his demise. He then gave Cayetano instructions to call the press. Business Day 21 Mar
Aboard a helicopter Enrile, Honasan, and Kapunan flew to Camp Aguinaldo. Business Day 28 Feb
CAMP AGUINALDO, 3:30 PM – On arrival at his office in the Defense Ministry, Enrile had his guards break out brand-new M-16 Armalites, still wrapped in plastic, and an arsenal of mortars and Israel-made Uzis and Galils. Asiaweek 9 Mar
He ordered Honasan to deploy the fully-armed troops not only around Camp Aguinaldo but also around Camp Crame, headquarters of the Constabulary and the National Police, forces sympathetic to RAM. Enrile began with 200 troops. QUARTET p. 17
He made a series of calls. He called up US Ambassador Stephen Bosworth and Ambassador Kiyoshi Somiya of Japan to inform them that “we are now grouped in this building because there is an order to round us all up.” The ambassadors indicated that they would inform their respective governments about it. Sun Inq Mag 9 Mar 86
He called back home, instructed his wife to contact Mrs. Eggie Apostol of the Philippine Daily Inquirer “to tell her what’s happening and to ask her to please contact other members of media about it.” He contacted by long-distance telephone Rafael Salas, UN population czar, in New York “to say goodbye.” Also he called Cardinal Sin. QUARTET p. 17
ARCHBISHOP’S PALACE – Jaime Cardinal Sin received a call from Minister Enrile. “Cardinal, I will be dead within one hour.” He seemed to be trembling. “I don’t want to die…if it is possible, do something. I’d still like to live.” He was almost in tears. PEOPLE POWER (II) P. 105
DEFENSE MINISTRY – Soldiers are in complete combat gear, with canteens and knapsacks and K-rations. They look as if they are ready for war….Enrile is obviously nervous. He is the underdog. He must feel that the end is near. It is war. Ibid.
Eggie Apostol: When I got to the Enriles, Cristina was just coming down with her staff. She was going out to a place where she was going to be safe. The whole family had been dispersed to different houses – the children in one house, the grandchildren in another house, and she was going to go to a cousin’s house in Alabang, Meding Porcuna’s. They were afraid that they would be taken hostage, something, or just to hide.
Ming Ramos: At four, the Cory Crusaders came-a group of 20 women and 2 men. They asked my husband, why don’t you do something? And he was saying, “There’s a proper time, you know. I have to think also of the welfare of the men under me.”
Alex Sembrano: While the dialogue was going on, we received a call from the office of Minister Enrile. I told them that the general couldn’t come to the phone because he was in the middle of a meeting. They called up maybe about 3 or 4 times to ask him to go to Camp Aguinaldo already.
Ramos’s failure to report to Camp Aguinaldo for three hours after Enrile’s first phone call raised speculation within the Core Group that he had not yet firmly decided to support the rebellion, which, due to circumstances beyond any of their control, was being mounted prematurely and according to an improvised script under the leadership of Enrile. IMPOSSIBLE DREAM p. 380
Alex Sembrano: It got to a point where, if the general didn’t join the rebels, they were suggesting a “laundry-bag” solution. They’d get Gen. Ramos and hide him; they’d allow him to surface only when Malacanang had been taken.
CAMP AGUINALDO, 4:30 PM – Enrile instructed Col. Honasan to plan and establish the area’s defense. “We will fire our first shot only if we are attacked, because I want to maintain dialogue with whoever will be coming to challenge us.” Sun Inq Mag 9 Mar
He also asked Honasan to fetch Brig. Gen. Pedro Balbanero, the Military Police Brigade commander. Balbanero had under his custody the 19 persons led by Lt. Michael Aspirin. BREAKAWAY p. 16
The first military region to go to the rebel side was Regional Unified Command No. 8, which included troops in Mrs. Marcos’s own province, Leyte, led by RUC-8 commander, Brig. Gen. Salvador Mison who was in Camp Aguinaldo. Op. cit., p. 15
VILLAMOR AIR BASE, 5:00 PM – Ver was with the First Lady at the chapel where they were standing as sponsors at the wedding of Major Gen. Vicente Piccio’s son, Philip. Op. cit.,p.7
Ver was completely unaware of what was transpiring. Although the previous days had been filled with tension and conspiracy, Ver’s personal commitments that Saturday kept him occupied through the afternoon and early evening. Ver’s men were so terrified of him that they did not dare break into the ceremonies. It was a long wedding. DYNASTY p. 413
Jose Almonte: Vic Batac called around five and told me that the whole operation was compromised, so we were on Plan B, an alternate plan, which was to hold out in the camp and confront the Marcos forces. We had prepared as many camps as we could throughout the country as revolutionary base areas; if we held up here in Camp Aguinaldo, all the other camps would do the same and we’d just ask them to back us up.
CAMP AGUINALDO – Enrile briefed Balbanero and laid his cards on the table. Balbanero was “shocked and speechless” for a while. He told the Minister he knew of no order to arrest the Reformists.
Just then, Balbanero saw Col. Rolando Abadilla, Metrocom Intelligence Chief, and the idea came to him that he and Abadilla could arrange for Enrile to see Marcos and Gen. Ver in Malacañang for a dialogue. Enrile talked to Abadilla and permitted the two to go to Malacañang. BREAKAWAY p. 17
VILLAMOR AIR BASE – When the wedding service finally ended and the guests prepared to dash through the chicken soup heat to the wedding reception, Ver’s men at last interrupted to tell him the bad news. Ver and Imelda immediately excused themselves from the reception and rushed anxiously back to Malacanang. A wedding had cost them the throne. DYNASTY p. 413
Ver was stunned. Confident of a double agent in the rebels’ camp, Ver expected their coup at 2 o’clock the next morning. He was completely thrown by the rebellion and Ramos’s defection. Veritas Special Oct 86
MALACAÑANG PALACE – An indication that Marcos’s mind was not at ease: he ordered that his entire family should be at the palace. The military fetched daughter Imee and husband Tommy Manotoc and their children from their home in Wack Wack, Mandaluyong; and daughter Irene, husband Greggy Araneta, and their children from their home in Forbes Park, Makati. Came son Bongbong (Ferdinand Jr.) who soon donned a fatigue uniform, reminiscent of the days when he trained as a jungle fighter. The First Lady attempted a facade of calm, but she was obviously fidgety. BREAKAWAY pp. 8-9
Ming Ramos: When the Cory activists had left and he and Alex were about to leave, I asked if they would be home for dinner. He said, “Yeah, maybe.”
Cristy Ramos: He was very calm, like nothing alarming was going on.
Fidel Ramos: I did not say anything to Cory’s supporters about Minister Enrile’s call because it was not the proper place or the proper crowd. It was at Camp Aguinaldo, with Minister Enrile, where I wanted to announce my decision to our people and to the world.
MALACAÑANG PALACE – Ver informed Balbanero and Abadilla that Marcos wanted to talk with Enrile. Balbanero tried to reach Enrile by phone. After thirty minutes he gave up. He and Abadilla rushed back to Camp Aguinaldo. Op. cit., p. 18
What Marcos and Ver were continually talking about this day, nobody among the officers and enlisted personnel knew, except perhaps Col. Irwin Ver. Even the personal bodyguards of Marcos’s children did not know what was going on. Op. cit., p. 9
CAMP AGUINALDO, MND – Ramos arrived at 6:00 PM in a gray safari suit, looking serious, gritting a cigar, not replying to the flurry of questions thrown at him. He went straight to Enrile’s office with two aides in civilian clothes. Newsmen were kept out. The Sunday Times
RADIO VERITAS, 6:00 PM “We were doing the news roundup,” Orly Punzalan recounted.. “At the time we were almost sure something was going on in Camp Aguinaldo because Enrile had requested for Radio Veritas. They were specific about wanting Veritas. So Jun Tana was there with Gabby Salcedo and Henry Diaz. They had a VHF radio and a cassette recorder.” Manila Chronicle 25 Feb
6:30 PM – At this time the total strength of the Defense Ministry security force was only 320 officers and men, including Col. Gador’s Cagayan 100, plus 12 teams from the RAM civilian component. BREAKAWAY p. I74
There was already a big crowd around Enrile and Ramos, waiting for the press conference to begin. Brig. Gen. Pedro Balbanero and Col. Rolando Abadilla told Enrile that Marcos wanted to talk with him. Enrile firmly brushed aside the idea. Op. cit., p. 18
Rose Marie Arenas: When we went to church we were already told that General Ramos and Minister Enrile had joined together and were in the office in Camp Aguinaldo. So immediately after mass we went straight there and true enough all the press people were there, and all those people who were very close to them like Secretary Jose Almonte, and their closest aides like Greg Honasan and Sonny Razon. We were so nervous.
Eventually, Enrile agreed to speak with Gen. Ver. He asked Ver not to initiate any attack against the camps that night. Ver asked Enrile not to attack the Palace. The two called a truce of sorts. Sun Inq Mag 9 Mar
Balbanero notified unit commanders of both sides about the modus vivendi by wire. BREAKAWAY p. 33
Fidel Ramos: The situation was still very fluid and nebulous; nothing was clear. It is possible that Malacañang looked upon this withdrawal of Minister Enrile and myself as a very small thing. For our part, we needed time to organize, we needed time to mobilize and deploy our forces.
Ming Ramos: Around 6:30, our daughter Angelita, who was studying in the States, called up asking, “Is it true that Papa has resigned?” I said, I didn’t know, where did she hear the news? She said, “A friend called from Rome, said that Enrile and Ramos have resigned.”
MALACAÑANG PALACE – It was 6:30 PM when reports reached the President that Enrile and Ramos were holed up in Camp Aguinaldo and had announced that they were withdrawing their support from the Marcos government. MALACAÑANG p. 83
SOCIAL HALL, MINISTRY OF DEFENSE, 6:45 PM – The mood was tense as the two men, clad in olive and gray, and blinking into the glare of television lights, took their seats before a cluster of microphones.
Behind them huddled about a dozen soldiers, some in full battle regalia. Outside, at the gates of the Ministry, heavily armed guards and tanks stood at the ready. When the two men began to speak, the reason for the precautions became startlingly clear, for they proclaimed open rebellion, Philippine style, against the twenty-year regime of President Ferdinand Marcos. Time 3 Mar 86
“We’re going to die here fighting,” Minister Juan Ponce Enrile declared as he and Gen. Fidel Ramos crossed their bridges, so to speak, and began the revolt against Ferdinand Marcos. Mr & Ms. 28 Feb
ENRILE: The fact is, there is a report that we are going to be arrested. … As of now, I am still the Minister of National Defense and that is why I came here. … We have no intention of harming anybody. We are here to take a stand. If anyone of us will be killed, I think…all of us must be killed. We’ll stay here until we are all killed.
RAMOS: There has become an elite Armed Forces of the Philippines that no longer represents the rank and officers’ corps of the Armed Forces. … The President of 1986 is not the President to whom we dedicated our service. it is clear that he no longer is the able and capable commander-in-chief that we count upon. … He has put his personal family interest above the interest of the people. We do not consider President Marcos as now being a duly constituted authority.
ENRILE: I cannot in my conscience recognize the President as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and I am appealing to the other members of the Cabinet to heed the will of the people expressed during the last elections. Because in my own region, I know that we cheated in the elections to the extent of 350,000 votes. … No, I will not serve under Mrs. Aquino even if she is installed as a president. … Our loyalty is to the Constitution and the country. … You are welcome to join us. We have no food…
RAMOS: I am not even acting Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. I think that when he made that announcement to you and to the whole world last Sunday, he was just fooling us, and he was fooling the entire world because he flip-flopped so many times already. … I would like to appeal to the fair and to the dedicated and people-oriented members of the AFP and the INP to join us in this crusade for better government. Malaya 23 Feb 86
Cory Aquino: It was Bel Cunanan – she was also in Cebu – who told us about it. When I was first heard the news, I was saying, is this for real? I was very skeptical. So I called up some people here in Manila to find out more about it.
ALABANG VILLAGE – When Ming Ramos heard her husband referring to Marcos as a “flip-flop or something” she could hardly believe her ears. “Because at home no one could say anything against Marcos-never!” QUARTET p. 21
MAX SOLIVEN – Which came first? The “arrest order” for Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Gen. Fidel V. Ramos-or their rejection of President Marcos? In any event, the battle is joined. Inquirer 24 Feb
Alex Sembrano: There in the Social Hall, while the general and the minister were talking to the journalists, we were talking among ourselves. Shit! we said, we’re in deep trouble! This is it, there’s no turning back! It was the first time we were hearing all those things-that there was massive cheating in Cagayan, that they borrowed firearms from Ali Dimaporo, mga ganoon!
Sonny Razon: I was scared. What happened? What went wrong? Our plans were all wrecked! What a way to go! Now, here are the cameras. Are we ready to face them? If we lost, it would be evidence against us. So some of us were staying away. We were with Gringo on the other side of the hall, where the TV cameras couldn’t catch us. And because of that, maybe the thinking in Malacañang was, we were already deployed outside, ready to strike.
CAMP CRAME The war room of the rebel generals in Camp Crame was deluged by delegations of important politicians, hordes of newsmen from all over the world, and the inevitable hangers-on. In the midst of military salutes, Napoleonic posturings, flashing cameras, and interminable press conferences, ex-Secretary Anding Roces was overheard to remark with wonder and amusement:
“Look at those toy soldiers playing at war. For years they had nothing better to do than to march in loyalty parades and bang the heads of civilians who could not fight back. Now they ask these same civilians to keep their asses from being blown off.” Mr & Ms. 7 Mar
MALACAÑANG PALACE, 7:00 PM – Marcos was closeted in his study. Reporters were told that he was resting but he was probably awake because Ver and his son Irwin and Information Minister Gregorio Cendana came and went. BREAKAWAY p. 32
FORT BONIFACIO, 7:15 PM – Ver summoned to his Tactical Operations Center his senior officers, among them Rear Admiral Brillante Ochoco, the Navy Chief; Brig. Gen. Felix Brawner, Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations and Commanding General of the First Scout Ranger Regiment; Brig. Gen. Jose Bello, Deputy for Plans and Materiels Development; Brig. Gen Catalino Villanueva, Deputy for Personnel; Commodore Serapio Martillano, Deputy Chief of Staff; Brig. Gen. Fortunato Corrochea, Deputy for Home Defense; Navy Capt. Eriberto Varona, secretary of the General Staff; and Col. Irwin Ver, Chief of Staff of the PSC.
They talked about military moves against the Enrile-Ramos group. There was not even a situation map in the place. The PSC at the time had 3,629 officers and men but since their job was to defend Malacañang, Ver had to utilize other units for the planned operations against the Aguinaldo-Crame complex.
Ver notified all military units nationwide that he was still Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. Op. cit., pp. 32-33
CAMP CRAME – Major Gen. Prospero Olivas was waiting for Ramos when he was stricken ill. His blood pressure was 160/110, his pulse rate 130 seconds per minute. The doctors ordered him taken to nearby Camp Panopio for treatment. Op. cit., p. 41
Jose Almonte: After the presscon, General Ramos and Minister Enrile met to review the situation. General Ramos decided to go back to Crame because he was the PC Chief, his staff was there, his communications set-up was there.
Fidel Ramos: The division of powers between Minister Enrile and myself was clear. He would take care of the political and diplomatic affairs, I would command the military operation.
Rose Marie Arenas: That same evening we crossed to Camp Crame. Minister Enrile stayed in Camp Aguinaldo, and we had people power on both sides. My car, my old Isuzu Trouper, that’s why I love that car, was filled with priests and nuns and we parked right by the gate along EDSA, which was already closed. The first thing that entered my mind was to make my daughter Rachel go home to fetch the Our Lady of Fatima. So the one you saw, the Fatima, the very first one,belongs to my mother; she got it when she went to Europe. And everybody started bringing their saints already. Now I asked my daughter to also bring the Mary, Help of Christians inside the office of General Ramos, and a small statue of the Sto. Nino.
CAMP CRAME – Knowing that the Manila riot police was Marcos’s first line of defense, Ramos called their chief, Gen. Prospero Olivas, in Camp Panopio. Veritas Special Oct 86
Ramos: Olive, you know the score. We are counting on you.
Olivas: Yes, sir. BREAKAWAY p. 41
Fidel Ramos: Gen. Olivas was the first regional commander I called and he gave me his support and that of the PC-INP units under his command. This was very very crucial because we could have been taken from inside, and we weren’t. Now Gen. Olivas had to do some play-acting in order not to reveal his hand. He had to play the tightrope because, the Metrocom being right here in the capital, he was also getting instructions from President Marcos and General Ver.
MALACAÑANG NEWSROOM, 8:00 PM – Reporters were alerted that a televised press conference was set for 10:30 PM at the Reception Hall. They noticed that Deputy Minister Aber Canlas was still at the grounds outside the old Maharlika building, supervising the construction of the stage for the Marcos inaugural, apparently oblivious of what was happening at Camp Aguinaldo and inside Malacañang. Lights flooded the Palace grounds while carpenters kept their feverish pace. Inside the Palace, a sign that the situation was not normal was the battle attire of members of the First Family’s close-in security. Instead of barong Pilipino, they were wearing gray bush jackets. BREAKAWAY pp. 33-34
SAN BEDA COLLEGE, MENDIOLA, 8:00 PM – Some 150 meters from across the Malacanang gate, about 50 law students carrying streamers and placards had pitched camp for a vigil. One of the placards read: “Feb. election: fake victory for Marcos.” Another said, “We’re not good neighbors of Malacanang.” Sunday Times 23 Feb
RADIO VERITAS – Listeners all over the country were practically glued to the radio for that blow-by-blow account of a two-decade old regime’s downfall. People wanted to know now, not a minute later, what was happening at Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame, at Malacanang Palace, at the MIA, at Mendiola and other points of action. And only the ever-dependable radio waves, which travel 186,000 miles per second, could do the trick. Business Day 21 Mar
Fidel Ramos: For our part, we didn’t have facilities other than the very limited telephone system to communicate with the field. So it was a very good thing that we had a small component of the radio broadcasting industry supporting us at the time; first Radio Veritas, and later the guerrilla Radyo Bandido.
CAMP AGUINALDO, 8:15 PM – Brig. Gen. Fidel Singson, chief of the Intelligence Service of the AFP, received the order from Ver: “Destroy Radio Veritas!”
ISAFP was a next-door neighbor of the MND and by this time was preparing to join the Enrile-Ramos forces. one you saw, the Fatima, the very first Singson dispatched a team to Veritas with instructions not to take any offensive action, just to reconnoiter the premises. BREAKAWAY p. 34
Ming Ramos – Around 8:30, one of our neighbors, Tony Abaya, came with Father de Santis, the priest from Alabang church. They asked if my husband wanted people in Aguinaldo. I said I’d ask. So I called my husband and he said, “That’s a good idea, to have people power.” That’s the first time I heard that term, people power.
Joe Alejandro: Two meetings of Cory supporters were going on in Alabang. One in Benedictine Abbey, another at the commercial center. The first group, upon hearing the call to EDSA, decided to go right away. But first we wanted to reach Cardinal Sin.
Tony Abaya: Bishop Baccani was with us, and Triccie and Louie Sison, who were then chairpersons of NAMFREL for Muntinglupa. I remember Bishop Baccani and Triccie running towards the phonebooth sa guardhouse to call up the Cardinal.”
Joe Alejandro: The first time the Cardinal went on radio, he only said, ‘Please, do not be alarmed, stay home.’ We said, that’s not what we want. We want people in EDSA. So the Bishop called the Cardinal again.
RADIO VERITAS, 9:00 PM – Jaime Cardinal Sin went on Radio Veritas asking the people to support “our two good friends.” BAYAN KO! 1986 p. 129
TEODORO BENIGNO “Leave your homes now,” the Cardinal said, “I ask you to support Mr. Enrile and Gen. Ramos, give them food if you like, they are our friends.” Manila Times 13 Mar
Not long after, food came in, including sacks of rice and canned goods. Sunday Times 23 Feb
PASAY CITY – Butz Aquino was at a birthday party. The news was that the opposition leaders were going to be picked up, martial law was going to be declared. Over the radio they heard the replay of the Ramos-Enrile press conference. At hearing the appeal of General Ramos and Minister Enrile, Butz concluded that the situation was serious. He continued listening, and eating. Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
LUIS D. BELTRAN – The whole town is buzzing with rumors that the independent press offices have been or will be raided. Palace and military sources say that there is such a plan for this evening. The plan is to arrest four Cabinet Ministers and close down three newspapers: Veritas, Malaya, and Inquirer. Inquirer 24 Feb
RADIO VERITAS After the press conference of Enrile and Ramos, Orly Punzalan had to leave for a speaking engagement. He asked a friend, Rick Santos, to get on the phone to Veritas, introduce himself as a concerned citizen, and appeal for a big crowd to go to Camp Aguinaldo. Santos phoned Frankie Batacan, who was anchoring the show, and the appeal was made. Manila Chronicle 25 Feb
CAMP AGUINALDO – Enrile telephoned Inquirer Editor-in-Chief Beltran and requested him to call as many opposition leaders as possible to go on radio and express their support.
Inquirer co-chairman Betty Go Belmonte telephoned Member of Parliament Cecilia Munoz Palma. MP Palma immediately made a call to Radio Veritas and was one of the first opposition leaders to express support for the revolution. Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
MAKATI, 9:30 PM – After some discussion the ATOM (August Twenty-One Movement) Executive Committee decided to wait for further developments and for instructions from Cory in Cebu.
Butz disagreed with the majority decision to wait and see rather than go all out in support of Ramos and Enrile. “This is our chance to split the military,” he said. He thought it was “out of character” for Ramos to be “included in a zarzuela to fool the people.” As for Enrile, Butz was willing to take a chance on him: “I don’t know him well but I am convinced that he had nothing to do with the assassination of Ninoy. When it comes to human rights violations, we can’t pinpoint anything on him directly. We also know he’s been powerless for the last several years. It’s Gen. Ver who’s been calling the shots.”
On his own Butz decided to take the daring course of action. He called MP Palma and asked her, “Do you believe in these two guys?” And she said, “I think so. What are your plans?” Butz told her, “I’m going to Camp Aguinaldo and offer our support, whatever support we can give them.” Ibid.
Cory Aquino: I was told by people I called in Manila that Butz was already asking people to go to Camp Crame, so the ATOM would be very much involved. And I was told that the Cardinal also had voiced an appeal. In the meantime, I told them, if you can get through to Johnny Ponce Enrile, I’d like to talk to him.
VILLAMOR AIR BASE, Evening – While listening to Radio Veritas, Col. Antonio Sotelo of the 15th Strike Wing of the Philippine Air Force received a call from Air Force Col. Hector Tarrazona, one of the Reform Movement’s leaders, asking for his support. Sotelo said yes, he would support the defection. He summoned his squadron commanders, briefed them on the situation, and instructed them to fuel and arm all five attack helicopters in Villlamor (others were deployed in Zamboanga, Lucena, Echague, and Baguio). Business Day 12 Mar
Ming Ramos: Half an hour later, Eddie called back and said maybe we should also have people power here in Alabang.
Fidel Ramos: I told her, “Ming, don’t hide, and don’t run. Stay put in the house and gather people power around you. This is all a people-power play and it is important that we maintain the moral ascendancy of the people.”
10:00 PM – Only Radio Veritas was carrying a blow-by-blow account of the unfolding siege. Not one of the television stations broke programming or flashed what is known in the trade as “crawls” – printed matter marching from right to left, superimposed on the video. No other radio station brodcast the first break or the press conference.
Radio Veritas’ account may have the drawn the crowds to Aguinaldo, now aswarm up to EDSA with bewildered flocks trying to divine the meaning of it all and where it was leading to. We Forum 25 Mar
NEW MANILA, QUEZON CITY, 10:00 PM – Summoned by Gen. Ver, PC Col. Maximo Mejia arrived at businessman Eduardo Cojuangco’s house in Balete Drive where he also found Virgilio de Guzman, elder brother of Brig. Gen. Isidoro de Guzman, Region III Commander. Mejia was told that President Marcos had decided to neutralize the radio station transmitter in Dakila, Malolos. Cojuangco told Mejia that the attack had been cleared by Marcos to “prevent the incident created by the Enrile-Ramos defection from escalating to a bloody one.” Midday Malaya 20 May
CAMP AGUINALDO, Also Around 10:00 PM – Enrile talked by phone with Corazon Aquino in Cebu where she had just finished speaking before some 50,000 people at Fuente Osmena, the third in a series of nationwide rallies she had promised if cheated out of the Presidency. Asiaweek 9 Mar
Their dialogue was brief; they both knew the phone was tapped. He warned her that her life was in danger. “They’ll probably come to get you. So take the necessary precautions.” QUARTET p. 84
Cory Aquino: I asked him how he was and he said they were holding out. I said, well, all I can offer you for this moment are my prayers. And he said, we certainly need your prayers.
CEBU – Aquino knew of Enrile’s coup plans. Enrile’s colonels had pleaded with her to stay in Manila. Deeply suspicious of the Defense Minister, Aquino’s supporters were planning to establish a provisional revolutionary government in the southern city of Davao. Veritas Special Oct 86
CEBU CITY – The American consul, Blaine Porter, dropped in to see how Cory was. Ramon Mitra asked him if he had any suggestions. Consul Porter said he would consult Manila. He sent a coded message to US Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, asking for instructions. QUARTET p. 84
Cory Aquino: I was staying in the Quisumbing residence in Cebu. Monching Mitra was there, Nene Pimentel, my brother Peping, Tony Cuenco, Sonny Osmena, those are the people that I remember. They were saying it was imperative that I go someplace where I would be safe. Monching mentioned a U.S. navy boat nearby, maybe we could go there. I said I didn’t think so. I already knew where I wanted to go. “I think I’ll go to the Carmelite monastery.”
DAVAO – Businessmen led by planter Chito Ayala had convinced the local Marine commander, Col. Rodolfo Biazon, to protect Aquino with his brigade. Unknown to Mrs. Aquino, however, disaster awaited her in Davao. Biazon’s aide had discovered the plans and was under orders from his superiors: “If Biazon defects, draw your pistol and shoot him.” Veritas Special Oct 86
MALACAÑANG PALACE, Also Around 10:00 PM – Reporters and foreign correspondents were waiting for Marcos’s press conference. They saw Mrs. Marcos emerge from the President’s study with several politicians, among them former Rodolfo Ganzon. She was talking excitedly, in a voice loud enough for the journalists to hear, about the discovery of a “plot” to assassinate her and Marcos at 12:30 AM. BREAKAWAY p. 34
CAMP AGUINALDO, 10:20 PM – Butz sought out Enrile. He could feel the tension in the air. The soldiers on the stairway were sweating. PEOPLE POWER (I) p. 105
Enrile was “tense, perspiring, perhaps from the heat of his bullet-proof vest.” At Butz’s offer of support, Enrile answered, “We need all the support we can get.”
Spying Jun Tana of Radio Veritas on the phone, Butz plugged in and made his call to the people: “I am here at Camp Aguinaldo. I have just spoken to Minister Enrile. He and his men are bracing themselves against an attack. We are here to try and prevent bloodshed. We are going to work for a peaceful solution… I am calling on all concerned citizens, specially my friends in ATOM, BANDILA, and FSDM to meet me at Isetann in Cubao. There we will decide on the best course of action.” Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
Father Francisco Araneta groaned when he heard Butz Aquino sounding off his call for volunteers to join him in Cubao and from there to march off to support the soldiers at Crame and Aguinaldo. “There goes that fool,” he thought to himself. Mr & Ms 14 Mar
CESAR D. UMALI When I heard Butz Aquino over Radio Veritas, I asked myself, “What can civilians do, other than die, amid a firefight between two groups of professional soldiers? Will volunteers be issued guns to fight side by side with the rebels?” I was probably more afraid to heed Butz Aquino’s call than puzzled by his exhortation. I never imagined that the Marcos antidote called people power had already been unleashed. I went to sleep, extremely agitated by my own thoughts. PEOPLE POWER (II) p106
Joe Alejandro: We were on our way to EDSA when the Cardinal finally came out and asked for people power outside the camps. Leo de Guzman was with us, Tony Lucero, Vic Barrios. Along the way we stopped at Tropical Hut and bought all their hamburgers, 68 of them, the first food that arrived in EDSA. We were already there when Butz Aquino came marching in from Cubao.
The people had barricaded all the entrances to the main gate with all kinds of vehicles. Many were praying the Rosary, some in groups, some just standing alone. People came from all walks of life teenagers in jeans and t-shirts, middle-class matrons and their husbands, the poor people, including the peddlers. There were entire families. The crowd truly represented a cross-section of the people, the devout and the frivolous, the man on the street and the big-time executives. All were there, probably fearful, resigned to prayer, excited, with only one thought in mind: to help the revolution succeed in each one’s small way. PEOPLE POWER (II) p. 109
Men from the crowd passed a small table to a man atop a guardhouse. Puzzling. But the puzzle soon solved itself. The men below passed up a five-foot statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Their companion atop the guardhouse mounted the statue on the table ad set candles and flowers at its base. The group began a chain Rosary for a peaceful solution to our problems. Op.cit., p. 110
Everyone was calling up Jaime Cardinal Sin who was himself calling on the contemplative nuns-the Poor Claires, the Pink Sisters, and the Carmelites to fast and pray for non-violence.
VILLA SAN MIGUEL, MANDALUYONG – “Come out from your cells. Go immediately to the chapel and before the exposed Blessed Sacrament with outstretched arms prostrate yourselves on the floor before God and pray. And start fasting tonight. Do not eat solid food until I tell you because we are in battle and you are the powerhouses. And if we do not win the battle, you will have to fast until the end of your life.” Sun Inq Mag 13 Apr
MBS TV CHANNEL 4 – The government channel interrupted its program to show a self-conscious Ronnie Nathanielz with an announcement that President Marcos was in control of the government and that there was no truth to rumors that there was trouble. He said the President himself would appear on the screen for an important announcement. Up to this time, about 10:30, Radio Veritas had been all alone on the story. We Forum 25 Feb – 3 Mar
President Marcos went on television, live from the Palace. He said he was “in control of the situation.” He called on Enrile and Ramos “to stop this stupidity and surrender so that we may negotiate.”
MALACANANG PALACE, 10:30 PM – President Marcos went on television, live from the Palace. He said he was “in control of the situation.” He called on Enrile and Ramos “to stop this stupidity and surrender so that we may negotiate.”
He reported thwarting an attempt on his life by a bodyguard of the First Lady in a conspiracy involving Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos, Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff. He presented the alleged assassin, Army Capt. Ricardo Morales, who read his supposed confession from a piece of folded paper produced from his pocket.
Mr. Marcos said he was in touch with his commanders and he had instructed them to surround Camp Aguinaldo. If Enrile and Ramos refused to surrender, his troops from the Palace grounds “could annihilate them with heavy artillery and tanks” without any from his command suffering any casualty. The Sunday Times 23 Feb
Fidel Ramos: We called first, of course, those that were most likely to join us. For instance, the naval patrol force, which is, I’d say, one-third of the Philippine Navy under then Commodore Tagumpay Jardiniano, was among the first that I called on. We also called on the Scout Ranger Regiment, although at the time they were really the main attack force poised to hit Camp Crame. But there were enough officers in the regiment, young ones as well as senior staff officers and unit commanders, who had trained with me as junior officers.”
ISETANN, CUBAO, 10:45 PM – Four people had come in response to Butz’s call. Butz, with Tom Achacoso, and the four looked at each other. “How do we have a revolution with only six of us?” Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
Rose Marie Arenas: We went to Isetann to meet with Butz Aquino who had his own group that was not even there yet. Then my mother, the late Remedios Bosch Jimenez who was still alive, told me, I think you must call Cardinal Sin. I told my mom, you be the one na lang, you’re very close to him; in fact she was there just a few days before, she serves in the archbishop’s palace. I said, ask him to please pray for these people inside, and to please offer special prayers.
MALACAÑANG PALACE, 11:00 PM – During the presscon Ver reached the ailing Olivas by phone. He ordered Olivas to silence Radio Veritas because it was inciting large crowds to Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame. Olivas replied, “Yes, sir.” But he did not take action.A few minutes later, Minister Juan Tuvera, the Presidential executive assistant, called Olivas to remind him that it was Marcos’s desire that Radio Veritas be “neutralized” and that the order be carried out immediately. Olivas, keeping up the charade, assured him it would be. BREAKAWAY p. 43
RADIO VERITAS – Enrile was interviewed by Harry Gasser. Enrile’s message to Marcos: “Mr. President, I hope you’re listening. Enough is enough, Mr. President. Your time is up.” He warns, “Do not miscalculate our strength now.
Enrile dismissed the possibility of negotiations with Marcos, citing the lateness of the hour. He denied the existence of a plot to assassinate the President. “There is no official named Morales in the AFP.” Sunday Times 23 Feb
WASHINGTON, DC – White House advisers issued a statement approved by Reagan tilting towards the rebels. Quoting Enrile and Ramos on the recent election fraud, the White House said that their views “reinforce our concerns.” Although his old friend was telling the truth, Reagan pointedly ignored Marcos’s claims that he was victim of a coup plot. Veritas Special Oct 86
KILUSANG MAYO UNO – Leaders of the country’s major labor federations decided on a nationwide work stoppage on Wednesday in support of the claim to victory of opposition Presidential challenger Corazon C. Aquino. About 1.2 million workers will paralyze business and commercial activities with walkouts and coordinated simultaneous strikes. To be affected by the strike are the airline and transport, banking, hotel and restaurant, food and drugs, garments and textile, stevedoring, mining, manufacturing, and service industries. Sunday Times 23 Feb
Fidel Ramos: I sent orders for our regional commands to organize units for us, just in case magkaroon ng pangangailangan. Brig. Gen. Rene de Villa, then based in Legaspi City, offered to send me a contingent.
Cory Aquino: I was wearing, as usual, a yellow dress. When they said, try to be as incognito as possible, I borrowed a dress from Nancy Cuenco. Then we had to wait for my daughter Kris, who had been invited to a restaurant by some of our friends.
CEBU CITY, 11:00 PM – Daughter Kris, out disco-hopping, was tracked down after forty panicky minutes. Mother and daughter were rushed by Peping Cojuangco to the Carmelite Convent where Cory had decided to seek shelter. The rest of the party retired to the US Mission Office, whose radio equipment Consul Porter had offered for communication with Manila. QUARTET p. 84
CAMP AGUINALDO, 11:00 PM – Armida Siguion-Reyna, sister of Enrile, arrived and kept vigil with the rebels. With Enrile in his room were Brig. Gen. Ramon Farolan, retired Gen. Romeo Espino, Gen. Alfonso, Gen. Eduardo Ermita, and Cols. Honasan and Gador. They sat around, “the atmosphere getting tense every time the phone rang.” MP Tony Carag, presumably acting as emissary for President Marcos, called to ask JPE if he would talk to the President. Enrile said, “Maybe tomorrow.” Veritas 9 Mar
ISETANN, CUBAO, 11:00 PM – There were about two or three dozen people…more trickling in. Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
EDSA – It was still a motley crowd at the camps gates. An impromptu rally was going on in front of Gate 1 at Crame. The make-up of the crowd was a mixture of fair-skinned urbanites, professionals, businessmen, matrons, and the religious. The whole stretch of the highway surrounding the perimeter of the camps was lined with Mercedeses, Corollas, Crowns, Liftbacks, Lasers, and Hi-Aces from the plush subdivisions and middle-class neighborhoods. In front of the Aguinaldo gates, makeshift altars had been erected, candles burned quiveringly, and stately matrons and nuns patiently stood vigil. If Marcos decided to nip the snap revolt in the bud, he could easily have done so this night as there were only a couple of hundred soldiers inside the camp and a couple hundred of civilians and cars outside. Sunday Magazine of Malaya 23 Mar
RADIO VERITAS – “I am in deep concern about the situation of Minister Enrile and General Ramos,” Jaime Cardinal Sin said. “I am calling on all our people to support our two good friends … show your solidarity, your support in this very crucial period.” Inquirer Extra 23 Feb
JAIME CARDINAL SIN “In subsequent calls I summoned the people to fill the streets precisely to avoid bloodshed and fratricide. Our intent was to make sure the first spark of fire would not be struck; that the first drop of blood would not be spilled. The call to fill the spaces around Crame and Aguinaldo was a summons “to love, not war.” Inquirer Feb 89
JOAQUIN G. BERNAS, S.J. – My recollections are of an incredible chain of events. When I first heard of the mutiny, my initial reaction was: “Leave the soldiers to fight it out among themselves.” Clearly, the mutinous crew could not have lasted against the armed might of the dictator. Yet it did. Within an hour from a call for support for the mutineers, EDSA was filled with people.
The atmosphere was portentous of divine intervention. Lighted candles and religious images abounded. The night wore on and there was no indication of fear. Manila Chronicle Feb 92
MALACAÑANG PALACE, 11:15 PM Marcos’s press conference ended when Imee Marcos Manotoc advised her father to rest. She accompanied him to another room where she congratulated him on his TV performance. As Morales was escorted out, he went over to the First Lady and said, “Madam, we had no intention of killing you and the President.” Mrs. Marcos cried, tapped Morales’s right shoulder, and left. BREAKAWAY p. 39
Marcos made five personal calls to Olivas ordering him to disperse the crowds. Feigning compliance, Olivas replied “Yes, Sir” each time but he did nothing, waiting for the crowds to grow into a human barricade for his mentor Gen. Ramos. Veritas Special Oct 86
ISETANN, CUBAO, 11:30 PM – Butz made a second call through Radio Veritas. “We are here at Isetann and we will march to Crame and Aguinaldo. Minister Enrile and his men are ready to fight if they are attacked. If they are attacked, we will support them…we will surround the camps and protect them with our bodies. We will do this because Enrile and Ramos wish to follow the will of the people. Anyone who respects the will of the people deserves our help… I call on all our countrymen to join us and increase our number so that we can prevent a bloody confrontation. … Only the brave should come!” There were thousands of people already. Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
Cory Aquino: When people found out that I was with the Carmelite nuns, they were really banging at the gates of the monastery but the nuns assured me, they’d have to kill us first before they can get to you, or something like that. The problem was, Monching and the rest wanted to clear with me a press statement for release, but I didn’t get to see them until the following day.
Eggie Apostol: I “slept” in the same room with Mrs. Enrile. She was clasping her statue of the Fatima. My ears were glued to the radio, to June Keithley, listening to what was going on. Walang tulugan.
MBS TV CHANNEL 4 – Marcos went on the air again, reaffirming the strength of his position. Sunday Times 23 Mar
FORT BONIFACIO – Ver thought of plunging the Enrile-Ramos camps in darkness by cutting of their power supply. It would also deny power to Radio Veritas which was just a couple of kilometers to the north.
Ver ordered Brig. Gen. Feliciano Suarez, Chief of the 52nd Engineer Brigade, to switch off the two camps from the power line. Suarez transmitted Ver’s order to retired Brig. Gen. Francisco Gatmaitan of the Manila Electric Company.
“No way,” Gatmaitan replied. A blackout would deny power to the Philippine Heart Center where Marcos’s mother, Dona Josefa, was confined for a heart condition. Suarez told Ver. Ver had another idea: cut off water connections. Suarez came back with a similar argument. Ver gave up. BREAKAWAY p. 43
ISETANN, CUBAO – “Everybody came armed to the teeth,” said Butz. “A lot of guys brought out their arms-their `hidden arms’-with them.”
By midnight the number of people had swelled to close to 10,000. As they marched to Camp Aguinaldo chanting “Cory! Cory!” and proudly flashing the Laban sign, more people came converging, and by the time they got to the camp, their numbers had risen to 20,000 or 30,000. They were bolder now, more confident. Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
Cory Aquino: At the time Marcos still loomed as someone so formidable but I was thinking that maybe this is it, you know, the end of everything. So we prayed, of course, at the Carmelite monastery. and I surrendered everything to the Lord.
Fidel Ramos: Saturday night it was very clear to me that there was going to be a stand-off. How long this would last, nobody knew. I only knew that it was important to use the only weapon we had available at the time, and that was the people interposing themselves between us and the hostile forces of Marcos and Ver. We used the very weapon that Cory Aquino used during and after the snap elections.
Jose Almonte: One of my principal assignments with Vic Batac concerned people power. We reviewed the many social movements in various countries in various periods, in particular, Ghandi’s work and peoples’ experiences in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. At one point I told Tingting Cojuangco na ang strategy against the soldiers of Marcos is to climb the tanks, kiss the soldiers, give them flowers.
MALACANANG PALACE, Saturday Night – No attack came because Ferdinand was busy hedging his bets. He ordered a barge towed up the Pasig River in the dark to the palace quay, where it was loaded with three hundred packed crates, most of them extraordinarily heavy. Yamashita’s Gold was taking a trip. DYNASTY pp. 415-416
The crowd that was expected to dwindle seemed to swell instead. A cautious estimate placed the crowd at close to a hundred thousand. One reason for the eager turn-out: it was such a beautiful night. The moon almost full made the ambience so lucid some people claimed they could read by its light. The air so crisp and brisk it was a delight to be out of doors. Nobody was being pompous or heroic about this camp-out on ground threatened with bombardment. The priests and the nuns and the pious were here from obedience; the other adults were simply anti-Marcos; for most of the young, all this was just a lark. QUARTET p. 2
On February 23, 1986 – EDSA, 12 Midnight – Cardinal Sin’s plea that the people help Ramos and Enrile was taken literally. Thousands of people began massing outside the rebel camps and supplying food for the soldiers.
BAYAN KO! p. 129
Fidel Ramos: That day we had to develop additional forces outside Crame and Aguinaldo and, of course, we needed to reinforce our military forces. This is why our call to the people to come and support us was very constant. And we were able to do this through June Keithley and the radio broadcasting crews of Radio Veritas who were on the job, calling on the people, transmitting for us even messages which were tactical in nature. This was the first time in military history, anywhere in the world, when private broadcast media, run by concerned citizens, were used to transmit or relay military orders or directives to military units in the field.”
STA. ANA, MANILA Father James Reuter, S.J., was the vital link in the communications system of the revolution. He had a VHF radio link to Gen. Ramos in Camp Crame; another to Veritas radio station where June Keithley was broadcasting; and a telephone line to the US Embassy political section headed by Pssst Kplan, Scott Hallford and Bruce Thomas. Inquirer Feb 88
MALACAÑANG PALACE – Tonight, nothing was working. The Enrile-Ramos team was on the air, making noise without letup over Radio Veritas and other stations, waging an aggressive propaganda war. Eager to confront the rebels, presidential aide Col. Aruiza called up Gen. Ver on the other side of the river and urged him to act. Ver said, “I have no instructions from the President.”
All through the night and the next two days, there was the same maddening inaction on the part of government troops. No one was thinking; no one was taking the initiative. Several generals besides Ver could have planned and executed counteraction, but they didn’t. Some were nowhere to be found. They were all waiting for Marcos, but Marcos was sick. Others had already made up their minds to sit it out and join the winners. MALACAÑANG pp. 104-5
CAMP CRAME, Past Midnight – Butz Aquino sought out Gen. Ramos to tell him, “The troops are here!” Butz was surprised to see the general “so relaxed, with his cigar, like he has no problem, as if it’s a social visit.” He was glad he saw Enrile first because then, “there was urgency.”
Ramos explained their plans to secure the camp, briefed them regarding the entrances and exits that should be guarded. Butz asked how many people Ramos had. “All told, about 3,000.”
“As it turned out, he was also counting the wives, househelpers, everybody in the camp, including the dogs. The soldiers were only 300.”
Gen. Ramos asked if the troops were prepared to stay for two months. Butz answered, “If it takes three months to remove that guy from Malacañang, we are prepared to stay three months.” Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
Rene Cruz: Everybody brought food – sandwiches, chicken, hamburgers, all kinds. Colgate-Palmolive even sent toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap for everyone.
Rose Marie Arenas: I’m an expert on food brigades. We were the first to bring in lots and lots of food. The first day we even served them on silver trays. The generals, like General Rene Cruz, were the ones receiving the food. I didn’t see General Ramos eat. I think he was only taking shark’s fin soup. And we gave them all rosaries. I didn’t enter the room; it was Rachel who gave rosaries to General Ramos and the soldiers. Of course the priests wanted to say Mass. But I asked them to please give the soldiers and everybody inside mass absolution because they wouldn’t be able to hear mass, we didn’t know what was in store for us.
Fidel Ramos: It was the nuns who operated the food brigade. They made sure that everybody in the camp who needed food got fed, soldiers and civilians alike.
Rose Marie Arenas: We were using silverware from my house, including my gaseras. We also bought all the flashlights and batteries in Manila; we had to check that each and everyone was working, And the soldiers were quarreling over them because you know, they needed flashlights.
Sonny Razon: All of a sudden, there was so much food. Also cigarettes, piles and piles. I started smoking again. Nerves, I guess.
Alex Sembrano: That first night it wasn’t so scary yet. All we did was wait.
MALACAÑANG PALACE – Marcos called Olivas for a fifth time about dispersing the crowds on EDSA. Olivas finally told Marcos, “The crowd is beyond the capability of my men to disperse.” Veritas Special Oct 86
Marcos ordered Olivas to get in touch with Major Gen. Josephus Ramas, Commander of the Army, and ask for reinforcements. Olivas did not contact Gen. Ramas. BREAKAWAY p. 41
CAMP AGUINALDO, EDSA GATE, 12:30 AM – A lady speaking through a megaphone announced that Gen. Ramos was in Camp Crame, saying that it was the strategy agreed upon with Minister Enrile, and she requested that some of the crowd should go there “para magka-guardiya doon.”
The lady likewise thanked those who had donated foodstuffs but requested that instead of uncooked rice, the people should give bread because, she said, it is very hard to cook rice. Inquirer Extra 23 Feb
MBS TV CHANNEL 4, 1 A.M. – Marcos presented another alleged assassin, Major Saulito Aromin, who claimed to be part of five combat teams that were to have crossed the Pasig to attack Malacañang and kill the Marcoses. QUARTET p. 35
CAMP AGUINALDO – More people came in to lend moral support: MP Rene Cayetano, Atty. Carlos Platon, Atty. Vic Alimurung, Oscar and Diana Santos. Several mayors from Cagayan arrived. They all embraced JPE and cried unabashedly. Hagulgol din si JPE.
JPE ordered security to provide the mayors with armalites. News spread that President Marcos was going to order the shelling of Camps Aguinaldo and Crame. Minutes after that information was given, some prominent MP’s and attorneys disappeared. “Natakot siguro.” Veritas 9 Mar
CIA agents who had set up shop in a back office of the Defense Ministry kept Ramos and Enrile informed of everything Ver did, and passed on all communications coming out of Malacanang. Enrile stayed in frequent contact with Ambassador Borworth through this backroom CIA link. DYNASTY p. 414
RADIO VERITAS, 1:45 AM – Letter of resignation of Supreme Court Justice Nestor Alampay was read by his daughter Maria Belen. QUARTET p. 35
Fidel Ramos: I told my wife that if any of the hostile soldiers of Mr. Marcos and Gen. Ver tried to penetrate our residence, she should let the womenfolk meet them, starting with my 90-year old mother-in-law and my 3-month old granddaughter.
Alex Sembrano: When I heard that, I said, “Hey! That’s my daughter you’re giving away!
CAMP AGUINALDO, MND – Winnie Monsod, economics professor of the University of the Philippines, entered the office bringing a plastic bag containing P481.50, donations from sympathizers massed outside the camp. She told Enrile, “It’s for a communication system, so that they can hear you. They’re getting restless.”
Enrile took the bag, his eyes turning red. He asked that a reporter from Radio Veritas be called in so he could speak to the people waiting at the military camp gates. Business Day 24 Feb
2:30 AM – Enrile dismissed as a “bunch of bull” Marcos’s charge of a coup aborted. If Marcos really wanted to talk, Enrile said, he was willing to oblige, but not at Malacañang. “We might never get out of there alive.” QUARTET p. 35
RADIO VERITAS, 2:59 AM – MP Homobono Adaza called from Cebu. “This move of Minister Enrile and General Ramos deserves the congratulations of our people, and they need the support of everyone.” PEOPLE POWER (I) p. 85
CAMP AGUINALDO – Armida brought in a showbiz friend, superstar Nora Aunor, who was hooted by the crowd outside. They compared her to the balimbing, the fruit that’s as many-sided as a starfish. When she faced Enrile, for whom she campaigned when he ran for Parliament, she started to explain that she accepted not a centavo from Marcos, but Enrile cut her short by taking her so swiftly in his arms, she was lifted off the floor. QUARTET P. 26
Only 300 determined mutineers guarded the camp starting 3 PM Satuday while the military rebel leaders fired off frenzied and continuous press conferences up to 3:30 AM Sunday. Not a wink was taken. Many could not understand why the Marcos forcs did not deal a quick and decisive blow during that long and vulnerable night. Mr & Ms. 28 Feb
FORT BONIFACIO, 3:00 AM – General Ver finally called his commanders together at the Officers’ Club to discuss plans for a counter-attack. With over 100 senior officers attending, the meeting lurched aimlessly from the coup to the counter-attack. Ver appointed Army Chief Gen. Josephus Ramas, a protegee with no significant combat experience, to lead the assault on the rebel camps. Veritas Special Oct 86
CAMP AGUINALDO – Ernie Maceda, Joey Laurel, and former Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel III came to see Enrile. JPE suggested that maybe they should consider setting up a provisional government. Veritas 9 Mar
Enrile urged that Corazon Aquino announce not later than Tuesday the formation of her own government as the duly-elected President. Malaya 24 Feb
RADIO VERITAS, 3:07 AM – Cardinal Sin went on the air to implore Marcos troops not to use their weapons and to Gen. Ver not to use violence. He asked the faithful “not to abandon Enrile and Ramos.” QUARTET p. 35
Rose Marie Arenas: I sincerely believe that if the Cardinal did not call the people and did not call the nuns, they would not have come. The religious will only follow His Eminence. None of us would be followed by the nuns and priests, they only came when the Cardinal called for them. We had people power already but the frontliners were the religious.
3:11 AM – Jaime Ongpin broadcast an appeal to “concerned citizens” to assemble “in very large numbers” at Camp Crame and Aguinaldo. “Large groups are a deterrent to violence.” Ibid.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE “The boys (reformists) are committed to one single act: resist if assaulted. We won’t be a party to repression. If he wants to repress the people, we’ll be part of the people. I’m 62 years old, I can go to jail.” Business Day
MALACAÑANG PALACE – Twice, Col. Aruiza tried breaking into the president’s bedroom, but both times, he was stopped and told that the president was resting. This was how it had been for the last six years. There would be problems to be solved, important decisions crying out to be made, but the president, protected by his doctors, nurses, and close-in security, could not be disturbed. MALACAÑANG p. 107
CAMPS’ GATES – Butz’s troops waited and braced for the attack expected at 4 o’clock. Their numbers had dwindled, from 20,000 to around 2,000, deployed in several places. If they were attacked now, “Patay na!” Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
EDSA, 4:00 AM – Nora Aunor wept inside her car amid shouts of “Sipsip!” and “Balimbing!” by an angry mob swarming all over her vehicle when she started to alight and join the ranks of movie celebrities outside the camps. Not even the pleas of committed film artists Behn Cervantes and Johnny Delgado, who jumped on top of Aunor’s car to pacify the crowd, could assuage the enraged men and women. Malaya 24 Feb
Rose Marie Arenas: Those who want to sleep would sleep and those who want to use the usual necessities, you knock on people’s doors. We couldn’t go to Greenhills anymore, it was too far, so we just went around that area. And people were so kind, we were allowed to go into all those apartments, and I saw how poor the people were who lived inside those small iskinitas. But they were all so hospitable, they offered us drinks, they even invited us to stay overnight.
CAMP AGUINALDO – As the EDSA crowd thinned, seven RAM officers devised a plan to recall people power to EDSA. A newspaperman reminded the planners that Minister Enrile and Gen. Ramos had the capability to preempt the use of vast media outlets (244 newspapers, 33 of which were based in Metro Manila, including 7 big national dailies; 185 weekly publications, including 46 comics magazines; 286 radio stations, 46 of which were broadcasting in Metro Manila; 26 television stations, 5 of them in Metro Manila) as a psychological propaganda weapon. Preemptive action would necessarily deny Malacañang maximum access to media and Marcos would lose the propaganda war.
Enrile lost no time when he was informed of the plan. He ordered his public information assistants Brig. Gen. Ermita, lawyer Jose Flores Jr., Silvestre Afable, and Ramos spokesman Col. Luis San Andres to get in touch quietly with their friends in media. BREAKAWAY p. 176
WASHINGTON, D.C., 4:00 AM (Manila Time) – US Secretary of State George Shultz assembled a few of his staff in his elegant seventh-floor office. They were dressed casually, the weekend custom. Among them were Michael Armacost, former U.S. ambassador in Manila and now undersecretary of state; Paul Wolfowitz, the assistant secretary for Asia; and Charles Hill, Shultz’s close aide and alter ego, a diligent professional with a razor-sharp mind. Even at this late stage they were struggling to shape a firm Philippine policy – proof again that policies are often forged in the heat of crisis rather than in cool contemplation. IN OUR IMAGE 1989, p. 418
CAMP CRAME, 4:30 AM – Col. Alexander P. Aguirre, Chief of Operations at Constabulary Headquarters, arrived from Baguio City. He rushed to Ramos’s side and worked continuously on the defense plan in line with the following guidelines laid down by Ramos: (1) Galvanize and make maximum use of “people power;” (2) Undertake no provocative military action against the opposing side. BREAKAWAY p. 51
DAKILA, MALOLOS, BULACAN, 5:30 AM – Troops under PC Lt. Col. Cesar Alvarez, Bulacan PC Commander, PC Major Napoleon Castro of the 185th PC Company in Tarlac, and Capt. Tito Samson “neutralized” Radio Veritas’s transmitter station. Midday Malaya 20 May
A group of armed men, numbering around 40, in fatigue pants and yellow t-shirts, armed with armalite rifles, axes, and hardwood, stormed the radio antenna farm of Radio Veritas. They destroyed 60 KW AM and shortwave transmitters and 16 units of radio equipment. Inquirer 24 Feb
Limited to a 10-kilowatt emergency transmitter, Radio Veritas now covered only Luzon and was not expected to last the day. Malaya 24 Feb
Alex Sembrano: Towards early morning – that’s when attacks happen – we were getting a bit edgy already. But still nothing happened.
Chula Sembrano: How do I remember those days? Sleepless nights. We were never sure what would happen next. Will they call? Will we see them again? Everybody was praying. They were saying Masses right outside the house. Some people slept outside, like a little EDSA.
Cristy Ramos: They even got heavy machinery like bulldozers, payloaders, and they blocked off our street for security. It helped, made things a little less scary.
FORT BONIFACIO, 5:00 AM – Gen. Josephus Ramas called a planning conference at the Army headquarters. Present were Maj. Gen. Piccio, Air Force Commander; Brig. Gen. Brawner, Operations Commander; Commodore Martillano; Brig. Gen. Suarez, 52nd Engineer Brigade Commander; and Brig. Gen. Angel Sadang. Brig. Gen. Isidoro de Guzman, RUC 3 Commander, excused himself from the meeting. BREAKAWAY p. 47
5:30 AM – Although he had three Army combat battalions standing by, Ramas announced that Gen. Tadiar’s Marines will lead the attack-a decision that stunned Tadiar. His Marines were tied down defending the Palace and it would take hours to move them. Veritas Special Oct 86
CEBU CITY – US Consul Blaine Porter called on Cory at the convent, informed her that a sub had arrived, ready to take her to Manila if she wanted. Cory turned down the offer. Inquirer 26 Feb
MP Ramon Mitra’s offer of sanctuary in his native Palawan was declined. Asiaweek 9 Mar
Cory Aquino: Over breakfast with opposition leaders in the Carmelite monastery, Monching Mitra was saying we should go to Palawan, and then on to another country. There were all kinds of suggestions. I said, I think I’d just like to go back to Manila. I figured that Marcos was very much concerned with EDSA and would not be thinking about me. I felt that the sooner I got back to Manila, the better.
JAIME CARDINAL SIN: Cory spoke to me on Sunday morning. She said, “We have a big problem. There is a third force.” I told her: “No. I am sure they are staging this because they want you to be the President. Go there and thank them. Without this, you could be demonstrating every day and you will still not be President. But now, you will be. You can see the hand of God. This is the answer to our prayers.” PEOPLE POWER (II) p. 119
MALACAÑANG PALACE – In compliance with Marcos’s wish that Enrile and Ramos be denied escape by air, Ver ordered Singson to have his people destroy the two helicopters parked behind the Ministry building. Singson told Ver it was impossible to blow up the helicopters because a single explosion, even from gunfire, would provoke hostile action that could lead to the “bloody mess” that Marcos wanted to avoid. Balbanero seconded the motion. The order was not carried out. BREAKAWAY p. 48
Early that morning, General Ramos made a very quick visit to Camp Aguinaldo.
Ramos told Enrile that he should join him in Camp Crame. Then the general returned to Crame and was wildly cheered by the crowd along the way. Op. cit., p. 50
VILLAMOR AIR BASE,Morning – Sotelo received the first mission order from the loyalist camp: a photo mission to look at the defense of Camp Crame and the deployment of troops. Business Day 12 Mar
The team spotted a weak link in the “people power” chain around the camp: Libis. To crash this vulnerable link, Piccio assigned two armed S-76 helicopters to support the marines. BREAKAWAY P. 50
MALACAÑANG PALACE – Impatient over the lack of action against the crowd, Ver sent malacañang CDC elements to Libis, behind the Ministry building, and to Bonny Serrano Avenue, which bound Camps Aguinaldo and Crame on the northeast. By this time the crowd had swollen to almost 50,000 and was increasing by the minute.
Ver was moving pawns on his military chessboard. He ordered an Infantry battalion in Zamboanga to fly to Manila and report to Fort Bonfiacio; the 14th Infantry battalion to proceed to Libis. The 8th Marine Battalion Landing he ordered to move to Fort Bonifacio; Ochoco dispatched a ship to transport the unit. Ibid.
STA. ANA, MANILA, 8:00 AM Cardinal Sin called Fr. Reuter and ordered him to find another transmitter. There were three possibilities: dzRH under Col. Honesto Isleta and Gen. Eduardo Ermita; Far East Broadcasting of Protestant Minister Fred Magbanua in Valenzuela; and dzRJ (Ramon Jacinto) in Sta. Mesa, under Col. Ruben Ciron. Inquirer Feb 88
Folksinger Freddie Aguilar, ardent anti-Marcos activist, was with the Hocus Pocus band in Calapan, Mindoro, the morning after a benefit-concert gig.
Freddie Aguilar: Ang balita, nag-resign na sina Ramos at Enrile. Baka daw mag-declare uli ng martial law si Marcos. Mabuti pa daw, huwag na akong bumalik sa Manila, magtago na lang ako sa Mindoro. Sabi ko naman, bakit ako magtatago, baka isipin niya natatakot ako sa kanya. At saka hindi na ‘kako puwedeng mag-declare si Marcos ng martial law, unlawful na `yon, unconstitutional, kahit doon sa constitution na ginawa niya, bawal na.
(The news was, Ramos and Enrile had already resigned. There was talk that Marcos might declare martial law again so my friends were saying I shouldn’t go back to Manila, I should hide in Mindoro. I said, why would I hide? He might think I’m afraid of him. Besides, I told them, he can’t declare martial law anymore because it’s unlawful, unconstitutional, even under his own constitution.)
MALACAÑANG PALACE – Tadiar waited three hours for permission to withdraw his troops from the Palace. Finally he shouted at Ramas: “This is insane! I am still waiting for permission to move troops, yet you are ready to move out!” Veritas Special Oct 86
VILLAMOR AIR BASE – Photos showed two helicopters in Camp Crame. Sotelo was ordered to prepare two gunships to disable the helicopters and to stop the rebels from escaping. The go-signal to strike was to be given by President Marcos. Sotelo met with his pilots and asked for volunteers to fly the mission. No one volunteered. Sotelo then revealed his plan to fight on the side of the rebels. They discussed the game plan. Business Day 12 Mar
FORT BONIFACIO, 9:00 AM – Army Commander Ramas called another planning conference and put together two Provisional Tactical Brigades (PTB) out of the First Marine Provisional Division (FMPD), each having two battalions and an armored company, in line with plans drawn up by Brawner. The FMPD was placed under the command of Brig. Gen. Jose Paez; the 1st PTB under Col. Braulio Balbas; the 2nd PTB under Col. Eugenio Reyes; and the armor under Maj. Sergio Eria. The idea was that after the crowd was swept away by CDC units in Libis, the regiment under Balbas would enter Camp Aguinaldo through the Logistics Command area, take possession of Camp Aguinaldo, then position tanks and mortar for the bombardment of Camp Crame, after which Marines would pour into Camp Crame, occupy it and take captives. Reyes’s regiment was to come into the fray in case Balbas’s men could not finish the job. Crame would also be under artillery fire from howitzers positioned at the University of Life, about three kilometers southeast of Crame. BREAKAWAY p. 53
Tony Abaya: By eight, nine, in the morning, we had about four, five hundred people all around the house of General Ramos, protecting his family and children. It was like a mini-EDSA in Alalbang. People from as far as Las Pinas and from all walks of life were here, taking turns. Many kept going back and forth to EDSA, keeping in touch.
CAMP CRAME, 9:30 AM – Brig. Gen. Eduardo Ermita, Col. Honesto Isleta, and retired Col. Noe Andaya prepared the text of a written appeal to AFP units and individual officers and men to move over to the rebel side. Col. Ruben Ciron dictated it to a friendly printing press for 50,000 copies by afternoon. BREAKAWAY p. 63
Gen. Ramos announced that he and Enrile had a majority of the 12 PC-INP regional and provincial commands, as well as paramilitary groups, backing them. Inquirer 24 Feb
Ramos set his aides and staff officers, young lieutenants and captains, calling up classmates and friends in the Marcos-Ver camp.
Fidel Ramos: This sort of psychological play was going on almost the whole day Sunday. And somehow it worked. We were able to mobilize to our side some sizable and major components of the AFP.
EDSA “I used to hate the military and the police,” Yolanda Lacuesta, wife and mother, recalled, “but on Sunday I found myself preparing sandwiches for them. I heard over the radio that they needed food. O had to squeeze through a crowd just to bring food to the soldiers. I remembered all the times when I cursed them during rallies and was amazed that now I walked so far and worked so hard for them. PEOPLE POWER (II) p. 122
AMADO L. LACUESTA, JR. (Screenwriter) – When I first saw the barricade of sandbags across EDSA near White Plains road, I didn’t know whether to cheer or laugh. It was barely thigh-high and looked puny, as though it couldn’t stop a pushcart. But the young people astride it, waving their banners and laughing and cheering and flashing the L-sign, did not seem worried. One of them brandished a home-made placard: “Subok sa Krisis, takot kay Mrs.” (Tried in Crises, Afraid of Mrs.). I pointed it out to my wife and we laughed, flashing the L-sign back at them. Their enthusiasm was catching. All around us, people were coming and going in every direction. Everyone seemed to know why he was there and where he was going. A cheer gathered momentum. People applauded a truck loaded with empty sacks presumably to be used for sandbags as it passed on its way to Ortigas. More people, vehicles, laughter, cheers. I shook my head. This wasn’t revolution. It was fiesta, only more fun. Towards the main gates of Aguinaldo and Crame, the festive crowds thickened. Vehicles were parked everywhere. The island and sidewalks were littered with mats, cardboard sheets, even makeshift cooking stands where people must have kept vigil the night before. Far away at the corner of Santolan Road, a huge red and black falg spanned the southbound lane of EDSA. It must have been at least eight feet high and twenty feet long. Judging by the colors, it must have been the standard of a radical anti-Marcos group. Beyond it, the controlled riot of people extended to the pedestrian overpass about half a kilometer farther away. Besides people, it was a riot of flags at EDSA. The dominant color was bright yellow, but sinister reds or combinations or red and black also abounded, along with a sprinkling of white and other colors and combinations. The word “anarchy” came to mind, but I preferred to be more positive and thought “people power” instead. Still, it aroused more hope than conviction. Ibid.
MAGELLAN HOTEL, CEBU CITY, 11:00 AM – Mrs. Aquino held a brief press conference. PEOPLE POWER (I) p. 148
She issued twin calls: to the Filipino people to rally behind rebel Defense Minister Enrile and Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, and to decent elements in the military to “follow the defectors and support the people’s will. For the sake of the Filipino people I ask Mr. Marcos to step down now so we can have a peaceful transition of government.” Inquirer 24 Feb
Cory Aquino: We were thinking of all going home to Manila on a Philippine Air Lines flight but we were told that PAL was fully booked. Bea Zobel had offered their plane but Bono Adaza took that plane instead.
FORT BONIFACIO – The Ramas juggernaut was poised for the slam on the beleaguered camps. But Ver and the other generals left Ramas at the Fort and rushed to Malacañang to stand behind Marcos during a televised press conference. BREAKAWAY p. 53
By lunchtime there were around 300,000 to 400,000 people. Sun Inq Mag1 Jun
MALACAÑANG PALACE – The scenery had become more metallic: the grounds were bristling with armor. There were two tanks in front of the Administration building, three in front of the Maharlika Hall, and three more at odd places.
At the Presidential table were 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 Governor Faustino Dy, Information Minister Gregorio Cendana, Justice Minister Estelito Mendoza, Justice Buenaventura Guerrero, Assistant Press Secretary Amante Bigornia, MP Antonio Raquiza, Economic Planning Minister Vicente Valdepenas, and former Senator Rodolfo Ganzon. Standing behind them were Gen. Ver, Rear Admiral Ochoco, and lesser stars 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 was in another room talking to Capt. Morales, Maj. Aromin, and two more – Lt. Col. Jake Malajacan and Maj. Ricardo Brillantes – who had not as yet made statements on TV. BREAKAWAY p. 54
Sonny Razon: Whenever there was a lull, I would think about my family. What would happen to them? How would my wife explain this to my kids? If we lose, we’re bandits, rebels. How would my wife tell my kids, explain to them about my beliefs and my actions?
CEREMONIAL HALL, 12 Noon – Enter Marcos. The four detained officers were brought in, in two’s, by Diego, the PSC lawyer. Ver glared at the captives as the four men took seats to the President’s left. Marcos presented them and said there were others who had been arrested but were still being interrogated. Malajacan read his statement and Brillantes his affidavit. Ibid.
President Marcos said his men surrounded the two military camps. His men were “one artillery shot away because I don’t want any overly enthusiastic soldier firing his weapon. They are around the camp but I told them to stay away.” He added that he was changing the order, moving them closer. Business Day 24 Feb
He scoffed at Enrile’s and Ramos’s demand, echoed by foreign governments, that he resign. “Certainly I will not resign on the say-so of those who criticize my administration.”
He harped on the vulnerability of the besieged rebels and discouraged outside intervention in the resolution of the potentially bloody crisis, saying, “It is a local problem.”
Also he claimed that the presence of a large number of civilians outside the two camps did not bother him at all. “If you are going to be frightened by 2,000 civilians, then what is the use of running a government?” Inquirer 24 Feb
Fidel Ramos: We continued to use the phones, my aides and I, to mobilize to our side other sizable and major components of the AFP. I was calling the commanders, my young lieutenants and captains were calling their friends, their wives were calling the wives of other friends on the other side…classmate to classmate calls, relative to relative calls…this was going on all the time.
VILLAMOR AIR BASE, 1:00 PM – The order to disable the helicopters at Camp Crame was scrapped. Instead the 15th Strike Wing flew four reconnaisance sorties the rest of the afternoon. Business Day 12 Mar
MALACAÑANG PALACE, 1:30 PM – Ver gave the command for the “intimidation” force to jump off towards Aguinaldo and Crame. Ver’s idea was for the axe to fall while Marcos was telling Enrile and Ramos to yield.
Planner of the operation was Tadiar, who modified the plans made in the morning: the “intimidator” was the 1st Marine Provisional Division with Brig. Gen. Jose Paez as commanding general. The division had two brigades: the 4th Marine Provisional Brigade led by Col. Braulio Balbas, Jr., and the 5th Provisional Brigade led by Col. Eugenio Reyes. Each brigade had two battalions; the 4th Brigade was to assault and seize the Constabulary headquarters building in Camp Crame. BREAKAWAY p. 59
CEBU – Immediately after lunch Cory flew to Manila in a private Cessna plane. Asiaweek 9 Mar
Cory Aquino: We took the same plane that brought us to Cebu. It was a light plane, a private plane. I think the Cebu tower did not officially inform Manila that I was a passenger on that plane. Because when I landed at the airport, I didn’t see anybody there except CNN.
Freddie Aguilar: After lunch na noong dumating ako sa Makati galing Batangas. Paglabas namin ng tollgate, may mga tangke! ‘Yung isa, nakatirik doon sa bago umakyat ng overpass. Sabi ko sa driver, bagalan mo, lolokohin ko lang ng konti ‘yung sundalo. Binaba ko yung bintana, sabi ko, pare, saan ang sunog? Ang sama ng tingin sa akin nung sundalo. Ayun pala, loyalist ni Marcos. Meron pa silang red flags. (It was after lunch when I arrived in Makati. When we exited at the tollgate, I saw tanks! One of them, at the mouth of the overpass, wasn’t moving. I told my driver to slow down, I rolled down my window and asked, where’s the fire? The soldier gave me the darkest look. Turned out to be Marcos loyalists. They even had red flags.)
EDSA, CUBAO, 1:30 PM – Butz was called to a meeting with Gen. Alfredo Lim, who was “calm as usual.” Lim had been ordered to go to EDSA with army troops and anti-riot squads to disperse the crowds that were massed around the camps. He had more than 350 soldiers in several army transport trucks. Butz suggested that Lim and Ramos dialogue and settle the matter between themselves. From the furniture store where Lim and Butz met, Gen. Lim spoke to Gen. Ramos by telephone. Gen. Ramos told Gen. Lim to “stay put.” Gen. Lim agreed. Unknown to Butz, Gen. Lim was among the officers in the Metropolitan Police force who were part of a pre-arranged agreement to comply with disperse or attack orders by merely going to the scene but taking no antagonistic action. This group was headed by Gen. Prospero Olivas. Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
At 2:00 PM, the RAM decided it was time to consolidate forces with Gen. Ramos in Camp Crame. Enrile prepared to vacate the Ministry building.
At 2:15 the 1st Marine Provisional Division finally jumped off with Tadiar instead of Paez in the lead.
FORT BONIFACIO – It was a formidable column, spearheaded by armor. Witnesses counted 6 tanks, 10 APC’s, 8 jeeps, and 13 six-by-six trucks. The column rolled through Forbes road and turned right into EDSA. BREAKAWAY p. 60
At 2:20 Cory arrived in Manila and headed for a sister’s house in Wack Wack Subdivision in Mandaluyong.
At 2:24 Enrile left Camp Aguinaldo to join Ramos in Camp Crame.
EDSA, CAMP GATES – Enrile and his men moved out of Camp Aguinaldo in a very disciplined formation, his men surrounding him, and accompanied by nuns saying the rosary and carrying images of the Virgin Mary. Sun Inq Mag 24 Feb
Enrile left behind a small group of soldiers, clerks, and some officers of ISAFP who had declared their loyalty to the rebels. BREAKAWAY p. 58
MALACAÑANG PALACE – Ver got wind of morale problems in the Army, Air Force, and Marines. He went to Fort Bonifacio together with Ochoco, Bello, Corrachea, Brawner, and Col. Ver to give the boys a pep talk. On the advice of his son, Ver took along detainees Morales, Aromin, Malajacan, and Brillantes to display them as proof that the reported assassination plot was for real. Op. cit., p. 58
At 2:47 tanks were reported rolling towards Camp Crame from Guadalupe in Makati.
EDSA, GUADALUPE To get to her sister’s house in Wack Wack, Greenhills, Cory’s party had to go through EDSA. As the column of seven tanks and a contingent of two Marine battalions rolled down the highway, Cory’s car moved right along with the tanks. Inquirer 25 Feb 90
Cory Aquino: CNN followed me all the way to Wack Wack. We were driving alongside the tanks, but our car had tinted glass windows so nobody knew that it was us, except CNN. I don’t know, maybe they thought that CNN was following them.
EDSA, MAKATI – Two cars of civilians (Vangie Durian, Viring Ongkeko, Aida Ciron, Charito Jackson Chu, Jojo Durian, Jeffrey Gaballes, and Eugene Ongkeko) coming from the old Makati Hotel cleared the Guadalupe Bridge and saw ahead of them a convoy of nine to twelve amphibian tanks. They immediately overtook the tanks and left the convoy behind. As they neared the Ortigas corner EDSA intersection, they saw hundreds of cars directly ahead of them, possibly going to reinforce Crame. Behind them they saw some JD and DM buses coming their way. They stopped and hijacked the buses. “Please help us! The tanks are coming!”
Without thinking twice, the people in the buses jumped out and almost instinctively formed barricades. Soon the Ortigas/EDSA intersection was jammed with buses, Mercedes Benzes, and a whole assortment of other cars. In a few minutes the crowds started pouring in, strengthening the barricades with their bodies. Mr & Ms 21 Mar
A TEACHER – “What a switch! The military is supposed to protect civilian lives, yet there we were, prepared to camp out as long as it took to protect military lives until Marcos gave in, or bombed us off the face of the earth. We didn’t really know what manner of harm they intended to inflict on us. We dared not think about it, because that would make us afraid. Was David afraid when he faced Goliath? Or was he not, because God was on his side? God was on our side. We could not be afraid. Period.” NINE LETTERS 1986, p.18
SANGLEY, CAVITE, 3:00 PM – Sotelo got firearms and “felt out” his pilots and no. 2 man. The T-28 pilots, he found out, were with him. But his no. 2 man was a loyalist. Business Day 12 Mar
Rose Marie Arenas: From Santolan we went to the Mormon church in White Plains. The gates were closed and we went up the fence, and we saw the tanks coming up, one after the other, the APC’s coming more slowly. So I really cried and cried and I called up my mother and I said, mom, call Cardinal Sin, send more people, call everybody. And my daughter said, Mommy, don’t worry, they’re calling the reserves from Nueva Ecija, the Ilocos, everybody loyal to those inside.
A TEACHER – “When we got word that the tanks were approaching, we formed our ranks. Then our leader, a priest, in a flash of inspiration, asked the women to stand out in front, before the barricades. It would, we hoped, be doubly hard for the soldiers to shoot women.
“I was trembling, but I did it. All of us-housewives, businesswomen, hawkers, nuns-took the front line as we sang and prayed. It was a perilous enterprise; but on the other hand, it was a privilege to serve my country.” NINE LETTERS p. 18
EDSA / ORTIGAS – The people watched tensely. The convoy of tanks slowed down as they approached the barricades. Mr & Ms 21 Mar
The crowds outside the rebel camps had grown from 500 at dawn to over 500,000 by mid-afternoon. Veritas Special Oct 86
The Marines decided to bypass the human sea, turned right before reaching Ortigas, and crashed through a cement wall into a vacant lot aiming to exit at a portion of Ortigas, but the exit was again blocked by onrushing masses of people. BREAKAWAY p. 60
Tadiar radioed Gen. Ramas for instructions. Ramas: “Ram through! Ram through the crowds, regardless of casualties!” Veritas Special Oct 86
The tanks did not move. The soldiers alighted from the tanks, their chests bemedalled with strings of bullets. The people, some in tears, held their rosaries tightly. The soldiers, in their rubber shoes, stood straight, their M-16 rifles held at attention.
Vangie Durian whispered, “It’s the Marines; then it must be Gen. Tadiar. He is known as a terror. That’s why he is called Tadjak.” Viring Ongkeko suggested that they talk to him and dissuade him from following whatever orders he had. They rushed forward. A man’s voice prodded them on shouting, “Sige ho, kayo na ang humantad. Hindi kayo papatulan kasi babae kayo.” (“Go ahead, they’re less likely to pounce on women.”)
Gen. Artemio Tadiar was heavily protected by a group of very fierce-looking Marines. The women were shoved aside successfully by the butts of rifles. Viring Ongkeko defiantly asked, “Why do you have to push us with your guns? You only have to push us with your hands and we will already fall down.”
Gen. Tadiar asked his men to take it easy. Aida Ciron (wife of Ruben Ciron, a senior aide of Enrile) managed to lunge her way in and landed directly at Gen. Tadiar, literally embracing him. “Temy, you also have a wife and children, please don’t do it!”
Gen. Tadiar tried to get away from her grasp but he couldn’t because by then Vangie Durian was also holding him by the hand. “Temy, you know me, we were neighbors in Navy Village.”
“Is Jess there?” asked Tadiar.
“Yes, and this is my son Jojo.” Jojo introduced himself saying, “Sir, I used to go to your house to play with your son.”
Despite the tension and hysteria, the wailing and the crying, formal amenities were still being observed.
A woman from the bus also went near the general. “General, what are you going to do?”
“We are not going to hurt civilians. Our orders are to confront Enrile and Ramos.” Gen. Tadiar removed his bullet-proof vest. “See? We are only going to talk.”
“But how can you say you will not hurt civilians? Once Enrile and Ramos see you, they will get nervous. There will be an exchange of gunfire.”
While all this was happening, crowds continued to converge around them, coming from all directions. Soon all the tanks were again facing groups of people. All kinds of exchanges could be heard. “Marami naman tayo, sugurin na natin sila!” … “Bakit kayo sumusunod sa diktador?” … “We’re Filipinos like you! Don’t kill us!”
Some others did their part by simply choking, screaming, crying, or praying. One group chanted, “Co-ree, Co-ree, Co-ree!”
Then a mestizo, in halting English, broke up the chanting. “I am just an ordinary citizen. The decision is not mine but all of us. Gen. Tadiar is requesting that their orders are to confront Enrile. They are allowing us to accompany them. Papayagan ba natin sila? (Shall we allow them?)”
The people shouted in chorus, “Hindi! Hindi puwede! (No! No way!)”
Tingting Cojuangco arrived. She and Tito Guingona conferred with Gen. Tadiar. Gen. Tadiar agreed that Tingting and Tito should go to Crame and talk to Enrile.
Tadiar: “I will give you thirty minutes only.” Mr & Ms 21 Mar
EDSA, CAMP AGUINALDO GATE – A mammoth crowd met Enrile at the gate. Chanting, “Johnny! Johnny!” the crowd parted like the Red Sea, allowing Enrile and his 300-strong security to cross the highway bearing their arms. Inquirer 24 Feb
The people linked arms, creating a protective wall for the reformist troops. Col. Honasan forged ahead to shield Minister Enrile as they crossed the street. Honasan was very scared when they started out. But when they hit the first row of people, and the people started to wipe the soldiers’ brow, give them food, and thank them, Honasan knew they had won. “All my fears disappeared. The worst scenario, for me, was not that we would have been bombed but that the people might turn against us.” PEOPLE POWER (II) p. 155
Sonny Razon: Vic Batac and Red Kapunan were the brains of RAM, but Gringo was also smart, and he was the one with charisma.
Alex Sembrano: I trained under Gringo, and he was a very highly respected officer. Whatever he asked you to do, he would do it first, he was that kind of leader. He also called people by their first name, even the soldiers. That’s why he was really well liked.
EDSA, CRAME GATE – When Enrile had crossed, Butz Aquino whispered to him, “Minister, talk to the people. Thank them for staying so they will stay longer.” Enrile did so. Climbed the first two of six steps of a platform and started speaking. But then the people cheered, “Johnny! Johnny!” and just like any politician, he climbed two more steps to show himself a little bit more, to the consternation of his security. At first, only his head was above the crowd, but with all the cheers and applause, he took two more steps, and his planned three-minute appeal took ten minutes. Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
Fidel Ramos: Minister Enrile moved to Camp Crame on my suggestion. It’s a good thing he listened to me. Camp Aguinaldo was too big, more difficult to defend, specially if you don’t have enough troops of your own. Also, Camp Crame was easier to fill with people.
Sonny Razon: General Ramos had been asking them to move to Crame since morning pa. But at that point, they weren’t convinced yet of the need to consolidate forces. In fact, they would have preferred if if Gen. Ramos moved to Aguinaldo instead.
Fidel Ramos: Minister Enrile and I went up to the highest point in the camp, which is the 4th floor office of our Operations Center. From there we could see about three kilometers of a sea of humanity filling the highway from Ortigas along EDSA almost all the way to Cubao.
EDSA, ORTIGAS – Gen. Angel Kanapi and Col. Lisandro Abadia, the Army Operations Officer, came by helicopter and conferred with Tadiar. Tadiar recommended an aerial reconnaisance, so the three of them boarded the helicopter to view the Aguinaldo-Crame area and its environs. Kanapi pointed to several possible routes of approach, but Tadiar asked him to consider how the human barricades were thickening by the minute. It had not been an hour since the last Crame radio appeal for more of “people power.” BREAKAWAY p. 60
Sonny Razon: We were at the gate, shouting and cheering along with the people. Then we went out walking, heading for Ortigas. But the people stopped us. They told us there were tanks there, and they pushed us back towards Camp Crame. We were touched by the concern of the people. They used to be angry at us, but now they were feeding us and protecting us.
FORT BONIFACIO – In the middle of Ver’s speech, Brawner left to rush to his Scout Ranger Regiment where there was also a morale problem involving about 20 PMA alumni among the officers whose hearts were with the Reformists. Brawner promised them reforms and asked them for time to implement these. Just the same, Lt. Noel Buan turned over his firearm and said he was leaving to join Enrile and Ramos. He was prevailed upon to wait another day. Op. cit., p. 58
EDSA, ORTIGAS – Kanapi and Abadia flew back to Ramas. Op. cit., p. 60
RADIO VERITAS – Regional Trial Court Judge Alfredo Tadiar appealed to his nephew Gen. Artemio Tadiar, Commander of the Philippine Marines, to support the stand taken by Ramos and Enrile. “Make the right decision on the basis of evidence and intellect. Bear in mind, the future of this generation is at stake.” Inquirer 25 Feb
LOUIE AGNIR – The now famous “Uncle Fred” made his historic appeal to Gen. Tadiar over Radio Veritas. “Artemio, this is your Uncle Fred. Your Aunt Florence and I and all your cousins are here in Crame. Now, Boy, please listen to me” Many cheered Uncle Fred and Aunt Florence and the nameless cousins that day. So did I, with much joy and thanksgiving. Philippine Star 25 Feb 88
EDSA, ORTIGAS, 4:00 PM
Gen. Tadiar stood on top of a tank and spoke, asking the people to either allow them to pass or they will use the backdoor. The people shouted, “Hindi puwede! Mamamatay tayong lahat dito! (No way! We will all die here!)” Mr & Ms 21 Mar
Butz Aquino got on top of a tank and spoke. He told the people about Gen. Lim, hoping that Gen. Tadiar would also “stay put.” In closing, he said to Gen. Tadiar, “General, you say higher authorities gave you the order to disperse us. Well, the higher authority-the Chief of Staff we recognize-is Gen. Ramos, and the Commander-in-Chief we recognize is Cory Aquino, and we know they didn’t order you to disperse us. Besides, we are fighting for our freedoms, and if it’s necessary to die, we’re prepared to die.”
Tadiar was angry. He wanted Butz to pacify, not agitate, the crowd. Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
The tanks roared their engines. Butz almost fell to the ground. Mr & Ms 21 Mar
Butz was helped down and was made to sit in front of the tank. There were two nuns slightly in front, one to his left, one to his right.
“The sound alone gave me the jitters. And from my angle, the tank looked like it’s as big as a house! The tank moved forward for about a meter. “People were crying and praying and singing all at the same time.” Butz waited for the nuns to move but “they didn’t budge!” So he stayed. “You know, bahala na!” Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
Only as death became an immediate possibility did the general mood become grimmer and graver, more serious, though still outwardly lighthearted. The smiling crowds dancing forth to meet cannon and tank with crocus and cross, with roses and rosaries, were performing the ultimate sacrament of grace under pressure.
The crocus ribbons we tied on signified tiger yellow, however striped with black. Philippine activism was at last putting a tiger in its tank. QUARTET p. 28
Joe Alejandro: That was scary. You realize that people become heroes unintentionally. Because when human barricades are formed and somebody clutches your arm, you cannot just struggle out, you simply are locked-in in three, four, five layers of people, and at that moment you’re scared.
“We were told to link arms,” Lulu T. Castaneda, wife and mother, recalled. “I looked at the faces of the people around me and especialy at the man to my right who was holding on tightly to my arm. My big concern was: I am going to die with this man and I don’t know his name. As utter strangers, we faced what seemed like imminent death together.
“I did say the Act of Contrition truly and heartily. And I said the Haily Mary, especially the part which goes: pray for us now and at the hour of our death. That seemed the same at that moment: now and the hour of our death. I really knew then what it means to ask the Blessed Mother to be with me with all of us at the hour of our death. PEOPLE POWER (II) p. 124
LARRY HENARES: I heard this little old lady say with a starry-eyed smile to another little old lady, as she pushed hard against the advancing tank: “Seguro naman, hindi tayo pababayaan ni Santo Nino, ha?” (I am sure Baby Jesus won’t let us down, will he?) Mr & Ms. 7 Mar
The tanks stopped. The people clapped, cheered, found time to wipe their tears. The crowd got bigger, swelled to thousands. Mr & Ms 21 Mar
Out of this confrontation, ordinary street Filipinos, Tondo people and faceless, joined with the middle class, and both discovered a kind of spontaneous collective will that they had never exerted before, and a common bond they had never nurtured. It electrified them. Tears streamed down faces. Some began to sing. “People Power” was born. DYNASTY p. 415
Joe Alejandro: And then when the tanks stop, that’s when you see big men throw up. Their adrenalin is so high, they throw up. But the women…the women have guts. They don’t throw up.
EDSA, ORTIGAS, 4:20 PM – Abadia came back to convey Ramas’s instructions to Tadiar. Two Marine battalions were to be “injected” into Camp Aguinaldo while the armored units and other elements of the division were to be sent back to Fort Bonifacio. Balbas’s battalions were picked for the Aguinaldo mission. The rest of the division went home. BREAKAWAY pp. 60-61
Joe Alejandro: But it isn’t that the people weren’t willing or ready to fight. Many of the civilians had firearms. Many told me, in case of anything, it’s in the trunk of the car. If the soldiers had fired, the people would have fired back.
EDSA – By Sunday afternoon, Manila was delirious. The boulevard between the army camps was a human sea, the crowd surging and receding like a tide as government forces arrived and retreated and returned. Demonstrators carried banners demanding Marcos’s resignation. Rebel soldiers, their flag patches inverted, mingled with the throng. IN OUR IMAGE p. 418
The predominance of yellow in the crowd was clear evidence that the people perceived the reformist forces as supporting Cory. IMPOSSIBLE DREAM p. 391
Sonny Razon: People power came as a surprise to me because the people used to look down on the military, specially since Ninoy’s assassination and then Gen. Ver’s trial. Plus, our plans were all wrecked! Who would side with losers? When suddenly, wow! People power!
Cory Aquino: It was surprising, yes, because during the seven years and seven months of my husband’s incarceration, the Filipino people were not all that courageous. it was very difficult to get people to join us in our protest movement. During my husband’s hunger strike, for instance, we had mass everyday for forty days at Greenhills and I was so grateful then if we would have two hundred attending; even at that, they were mostly relatives and my closest friends, and the nuns-the sisters were really very courageous. But then it all changed after Ninoy was assassinated. So I guess it was a building-up. I guess people don’t really change overnight, you have to keep on working on yourself to build up that courage and that strength and that confidence. And while it is true, I was surprised, it was a very welcome change, and I felt that whatever happened, at least we had very brave Filipinos standing up for the cause.
Eggie Apostol: We were hoping for justice. That whoever killed Ninoy and could do it to anybody else in the country could be brought to face the music. But I did not expect people power. I thought something would happen – that maybe individual acts would bring about certain things – but not the way it happened during the four days, of whole groups, millions of people coming. That was something completely new and unexpected.
CAMP CRAME – Enrile learned that a column of seven tanks plus a contingent of two Marine battalions, moving towards their direction from Fort Bonifacio had been stopped by the people at the intersection of Ortigas and EDSA. He also learned that there was another contingent of tanks prepositioned on the Cubao side whose guns were trained at Camp Crame. Enrile made two calls: the first to the US Ambassador, for him to inform his government so that the White House could at least caution the palace to take a more prudent course; the second to Gen. Ver to tell him, “If you kill us, you and the President will go down in history as butchers of your own officers and men, of the Filipino people, and of foreign mediamen.” Ver’s reply: I will tell them not to push the civilians. Sun Inq Mag 16 Mar
Fidel Ramos: I could foresee four, maybe five, scenarios. One was an artillery bombardment. Artillery were reported to have been moved from Fort Bonifacio to the ULTRA stadium in Pasig, and that’s not really very far away, as far as an artillery shell flies, and the crews were starting to position themselves.
Freddie Aguilar: I wanted to go to Veritas, baka may maitulong ako, pero dumaan muna ako sa bahay, sa Quezon City. Ang misis ko, wala, nagpa-panic-buying. Ang nanay ko, umiiyak dahil nga wala ako e nagkakagulo na. Sabi ko, susubo lang ako ng konti tapos pupunta ‘ko sa Veritas. Bakit ka pupunta doon, sabi niya, e pasasabugin ‘yon?. Sabi ko naman, e anong gusto n’yo, magtago ako, e ito ‘yung matagal ko nang pinapangarap na mangyari para matapos na ang paghihirap ng Pilipino. Sabi naman ng kapatid ko, hayaan n’yo siya, ‘Nay, inumpisahan niya, hayaan n’yong tapusin.
(I went home first. My wife was out, panic-buying. My mother was crying because she was worried about me. I said I just wanted a bite to eat and then I was going to Veritas. It’s going to be blown up! she said. Why go there? What would you have me do? I asked. Hide? When I’ve been waiting such a long time for something like this? In the end she decided to let me be, to let me finish what I had started.)
CAMP CRAME – A common friend of the President’s and Enrile’s reached Enrile and requested him to call the President at the Palace. Enrile was reluctant, but MP Alfonso Reyno of Cagayan insisted. Ibid.
During the conversation, Marcos offered absolute amnesty to the rebel troops should they surrender right away. Inquirer 24 Feb
Enrile asked Marcos to stop the tanks but Marcos said he couldn’t do that because they were already taking up their positions. He told Enrile, however, that he would ask the tank commanders not to shoot “temporarily.” Enrile said his group would not fire the first shot. Business Day 24 Feb
Freddie Aguilar: Pagdating ko sa Fairview, awa ng Diyos, ang dami nang tao sa Veritas. May mga 50 reformists in the vicinity. I was talking to them and sabi nila, mabuti na rin ‘yung nangyari, nang magkaalaman na kung ano talaga.
(There were lots of people in Veritas, Fairview, and some 50 reformist soliers in the vicinity. They were glad in a way about the rebellion, they said; it was time that we all found out what was what.)
RADIO VERTAS, Afternoon: “We received a letter asking Radio Veritas to stop broadcasting,” recounted Orly Punzalan. “I cannot establish now who sent it but the threat was that, if we didn’t shut up, somebody was going to bomb this place at eight o’clock in the evening. Manila Chronicle 25 Feb 87
6:30 PM – Radio Veritas signed off the air. After its transmitter was sabotaged by armed men early Sunday morning, they had operated on an emergency transmitter which finally gave out. BAYAN KO! p. 130
CAMP CRAME, 6:30 PM: At a press conference, Enrile told newsmen of Marcos’s offer of absolute amnesty to the rebel troops should they surrender right away. However, Enrile said, the officers’ corps of the rebel troops belonging to the RAM rejected the offer. They had decided that their demand for President Marcos’s resignation was “not negotiable … the matter has reached a point where the bottomline is for the President to step down.” Inquirer 24 Feb
Ramos announced the formation of a New Armed Forces of the Philippines. Sunday Times Mag 9 Mar
Ramos told newsmen that military commanders of 40 provinces in all twelve regions and the four districts of Metro Manila had pledged loyalty. Ramos said he had 17 armoured tanks and two helicopters ready if Marcos-Ver troops attacked. Asiaweek 9 Mar
The general pledged to put the “New Armed Forces” at the service of “newly- constituted authorities”, a reference to an Aquino-led provisional government. BAYAN KO! p. 130
Enrile expected the situation “to get lively” by nightfall. Ramos declared, “We are not running away.” Although he acknowledged that two battalions of Ver’s Scout Rangers and one Marine battalion under Brig. Gen. Artemio Tadiar are ready to advance from Camp Aguinaldo across the highway; and a column of APCs was on its way down Ortigas Ave. Asiaweek 9 Mar
Ramos named at least six field Brigadier Generals who had joined his forces: Tomas Manlongat, Renato de Villa, Dionisio Tan-gatue, Carlos Aguilar, Benjamin Ignacio and Rodrigo Gutang. These were apart from the four police superintendents of the same rank in Metro Manila: Narciso Cabrera, Alfredo Lim, Ruben Escarcha and Alfredo Yson, and about a score of colonels and lieutenant colonels in command of troops. Manila Times 24 Feb
Enrile said that firearms would not be distributed to thousands of opposition supporters preventing troops from advancing on the camp. Any fighting would be done by the rebels themselves. Malaya 24 Feb
Cory Aquino: In the evening I was briefed by opposition leaders who had been to Crame. While we waited for Doy who had gone to Crame first, we were discussing what the next move would be.
CAMP CRAME, Evening – Salvador Laurel arrived, just in from Cebu, to “congratulate Minister Enrile and General Ramos for their great act of courage.” The three then retired to Ramos’s curtained office.
Venerable opposition leader Lorenzo Tanada, 87, came to promise mass actions saying, “We won’t stop until we get through that barricade at Mendiola!” Rene Saguisag and Teodoro Locsin conferred with Ramos and Enrile and decided to ask Aquino to go on the air later in the evening to appeal for non-violence.
Ramos ordered leaflets dropped to Marcos loyalists: “What good is killing each other now? Let us join hands and together build a better tomorrow. Be heroes without having to die. Show the world we believe in God and we are a truly Christian country.” Asiaweek9 Mar
MALACAÑANG PALACE, 7:00 PM – Ver was called to the Maharlika Lounge where the Papal Nuncio, Monsignor Bruno Torpigliani, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, and Monsignor Severino Pelayo were waiting for him. The Nuncio had a letter for Marcos from Pope John Paul II appealing for a peaceful settlement of the issue. Jaime Cardinal Sin was not with the party because hit men were reportedly out to get him. BREAKAWAY p. 58
WASHINGTON, D.C. Evening (Manila Time) – The White House issued a statement questioning the “credibility and legitimacy” of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos’s government, and saying it shared the concerns of the rebellious military leaders demanding his resignation.
The statement stopped short of endorsing the actions of Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Deputy AFP Chief Fidel V. Ramos. Malaya 24 Feb
The US offered to help Marcos leave the island nation in a US aircraft, said a congressional source. Times Journal 25 Feb
Fidel Ramos: Another avenue of approach was from the backside through Horseshoe Village in San Juan, by Infantry and Special Scout Rangers. A third was through the backdoor of Camp Aguinaldo, and then maneuvering so that they could fire broadside at Camp Crame.
LIBIS, QUEZON CITY, 8:00 PM – Col. Balbas reported to Tadiar that his unit was stopped by human barricades and that all possible approaches to Camp Aguinaldo were full of people. Tadiar ordered him to return to Fort Bonifacio. BREAKAWAY p. 61
CAMP CRAME, 8:30 PM – More soldiers were pinning to their uniforms the Reform Movement’s symbol: a small national flag with the red uppermost. The two thousand printed were not enough for “an endless stream” of supporters from everywhere. Asiaweek 9 Mar
Cory Aquino: When Doy came back from Camp Crame, he told us that there was a proposal to set up a military-civilian junta. Among the civilians would be, of course, me and Doy. I think Celing Palma was also being mentioned, and possibly Senator Tanada. Of course, I could not agree to something like that.
Freddie Aguilar: May show ako that night sa Hobbit House. So kain ako, bihis. Sabi ko sa misis ko babalik muna ako sa Veritas, kasama ang bayaw ko. Pero sa Crame ako tumuloy, parang hinila ang kamay ko. Nakapasok pa kami ng Santolan kahit may barricade na dahil nakilala ako ng mga tao. Pero hanggang kalagitnaan lang ng sementeryo ng San Juan kasi may barricade na ng ATOM doon. So, ginawa ko, ibinarricade ko na rin ang kotse. Sabi ko sa bayaw ko, doon muna siya, ‘wag iiwan ang kotse. Kako, pag dumating yung tangke, alisin mo yung gitara. Hindi na baleng masira yung kotse, ‘wag lang yung gitara.
(I had a show that night at Hobbit House. So I had to go home, eat, get dressed. I told my wife I was going back to Veritas with my brother-in-law but I ended up driving to Crame. Despite barricades, we were able to enter Santolan because the people recognized me and let me drive through. But we only got halfway past the San Juan cemetery, where there was an ATOM barricade. What I did was, I added my car to the barricade. I asked my brother-in-law to stay and watch it, and if tanks came, to save my guitar. Never mind the car.)
VILLAMOR AIR BASE – Pilots and crew of the 15th Strike Wing were instructed to be at the flight line by 5:00 AM the following day. The duty officer in Sangley was instructed to gather the staff at the Wing Operation Center to listen to Sotelo’s briefing on radio. Sotelo asked his supply officer to send 10 M-16’s and two boxes of ammunition by land “to equip the guards” – a ruse, as Sotelo intended them for the Wing. Business Day 12 Mar
Fidel Ramos: A very dangerous approach was through Santolan Road coming from the Libis side. Fortunately people were gathered around there and it would have taken a very massive crowd dispersal effort to clear the street. And a final approach was by air, a helicopter assault, which could easily have been successful because we had no air power, or not enough, to counter any air attack.
FORT BONIFACIO – Ramas and his associates were busy up to midnight devising another way to capture the Aguinaldo-Crame area. Gen. Victor Natividad, who had replaced the ailing Olivas as head of the Metropolitan Command, was a big help. He showed how the stubborn human barricades could be breached. BREAKAWAY p. 61
Freddie Aguilar: Inikot ako ng tao all the way to the EDSA gate, tapos sinamahan ako ng sundalo all the way to the office of Ramos and Enrile. Nandoon sina Armida at Chito Ponce Enrile, at maraming reporters and foreign correspondents. Mayamaya pinapasok ang press, sumama ako, kinamayan ko si Ramos at si Enrile, tapos lumabas na ‘ko. I stayed there for a while until lumapit sa akin ‘yung isang babae, she said she worked with Minister Enrile. Kung maaari daw, tulungan ko ang Gate 2, wala daw tao, lahat na sa EDSA, e ang balita daw, doon papasukin ng Marines kasi wala ngang tao. Ang ginawa ko, tumawag ako sa Hobbit House para humiram ng sound system. Ang problema, mga 12:30 pa magiging available, may show nga kasi ako.
(The people took me all the way around to the EDSA gate, then a soldier accompanied me all the way to the office of Ramos and Enrile. Armida and Chito Ponce Enrile, and lots of reporters and foreign correspondents were waiting outside. I went in with the press and shook the hands of Ramos and Enrile. Then I was hanging around outside when a girl from Enrile’s staff asked if I could help out sa Gate Two which needed more people, in case the Marines came. Before going down I called Hobbit House and borrowed the sound system. But it would be available only at 12:30, after my act.)
WASHINGTON, D.C., Around 10 PM (Manila Time) – The National Security Planning Group gathered in Shultz’s house in Maryland. Those present included Caspar Weinberger, Michael Armacost, John Poindexter, Robert Gates, and Philip Habib.
Shultz had just received a message from Bosworth: “Marcos will not draw the conclusion that he must leave unless President Reagan puts it to him directly. Go for a dignified transition out.” The problem now was plain if difficult: how to persuade Reagan to tell Marcos to quit. IN OUR IMAGE p. 419
DZRH – Mrs. Aquino called on other government officials to emulate Alampay and on Metro Manila residents to continue supporting the two rebellious government officials. Malaya 24 Feb
That evening, Mrs. Aquino also met with Ramos and Enrile who came to see her in Wack Wack.
CORY AQUINO: “I just asked them what the circumstances were surrounding their going to Crame and Aguinaldo.” Inquirer Feb 90
Cory Aquino: I called for them but they never came together; they couldn’t both be away from the camp at the same time. I remember feeling more comfortable with Eddie Ramos than with Johnny Ponce Enrile. Maybe given the background that I never had to deal with Eddie during the incarceration of Ninoy. It was always with Johnny Ponce Enrile.
Evening – GMA CHANNEL 7 announced on video, using its character generator, that the rebel group was already in control and that Mr. Marcos had fled the country. Sunday Times 23 Mar
Freddie Aguilar: Pagbaba ko sa Gate Two, there were only 4 nuns yata and 4 seminarians and one priest na nagma-man ng gate; meron ding ilang soldiers and about 25 people sa labas na inaantok yata, siguro pagod na. A girl with a mike announced my name. ‘Yung mga natutulog-tulog na, nagising, hinahanap ako. So I waved. Lapit naman sila, padami nang padami, naging 50, naging 60, hanggang sa, the next thing you know, hundreds na ‘yung nandoon. Sabi ko sa kanila, “Aalis muna ako, kukuha ako ng sound system.” Sabi ng mga tao, in unison, “Walang aalis! Walang aalis!” Sabi ko, “E kukunin ko ‘yung sound system para magkaroon tayo ng kantahan dito.” Sumigaw sila, in unison pa rin, “Gitara! Gitara!” May dumating na gitara. Galing sa isang seminarista sa kabilang barricade. Sabi ko, sige, pero isang kanta lang, kasi kako naghahabol ako ng oras. “Anong gusto niyong kanta?” “Katarungan!” Di kinanta ko. Palakpakan. “Pangako niyo, walang aalis,” sabi ko, “at pangako ko, dito sa gate na ito ako babalik. At hindi lang sound system ang dadalhin ko, magdadala ako ng banda para hindi kayo antukin.” (There were only a few nuns and seminarians and a priest manning the gate, and a few soldiers and about 25 people outside who looked like they were falling asleep from weariness. When my name was announced, the sleepy sat up, looking for me. I waved and they came closer, and more people started coming, 50, then 60, then hundreds. I said I was leaving to get a sound system. The people shouted in unison, “No one’s leaving! No one’s leaving!” I said I had to get the sound system so we could have some music. The crowd shouted, still in unison, for a guitar. And a guitar came, from a seminarian at the next barricade. I asked them what song they wanted to hear. They asked for “Katarungan” (“Justice”) and I sang it. Before leaving, I made them promise to stay where they were and I promised to be back not just with a sound system but with a live band to wake everyone up.)
MARYLAND, USA, 11:30 P.M. –
- At the Bethesda home of Secretary of State George Shultz, the President’s special envoy Philip Habib presented a report on his Manila trip. In attendance were Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense; Admiral William Crowe Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Robert Gates, deputy director for Intelligence of the CIA; and John Poindexter, the National Security Adviser.
- Also present were three officials who had been preoccupied with the Philippine crisis for months: Michael Armacost, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs; Paul Wolfowitz, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; and Richard Armitage, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy.
- The group agreed on four principles which were subsequently presented to President Reagan: Marcos’s ability to govern with the consent of his people had ended; any effort by him to crush the reform movement would only worsen the situation; it was of great importance to the US that force not be used; it would be damaging to US standing in the world if Marcos were treated like the Shah of Iran, who was admitted to the US for medical treatment but was not permitted by the Carter Administration to remain. Time 10 Mar
- Reagan dictated a personal message to his friend appealing to him not to use force. The message was flashed to Ambassador Bosworth in Manila who telephoned Marcos. Veritas Special Oct 86
Freddie Aguilar: Sa Hobbit House, after mga 5 songs, I told the tourists, “I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, I cannot finish the show tonight. But if you want to join us in Crame, you’re welcome. We need more people in Crame.” Sama naman sila, about ten cars, mostly mga suki kong foreign correspondents.
QUEZON CITY –
- Radio Veritas broadcaster June Keithley was asked by Jesuit James Reuter to proceed to DZRH. The staff wasn’t too happy to see her. The station had just replayed Marcos’s press conference. News director Rey Langit told her to leave her phone number so they could call her in case her services were needed.
- Fr. Reuter considered DZFE in Bulacan, then decided on DZRJ on Ramon Magsaysay Avenue, Sta. Mesa, Manila. Manila Times 3 Mar
- Col. Ciron called to say that he was moving the frequency of dzRJ, slowly, from 810 to the 840 kilohertz of Radio Veritas, and invited June Keithley to take over. Inquirer Feb 88
Fidel Ramos: Radyo Bandido was arranged through the efforts of Col. Ruben Ciron of Minister Enrile’s staff who’s in radio broadcasting. The station would continue to use the Radio Veritas code sign but it was really the old DZRJ. It was a great relief. We were afraid that we had lost our major propaganda arm when Veritas’s signal died down.
Keithley quietly got in touch with a bunch of friends and revealed that she could gain access to a new media facility. Quickly film director Peque Gallaga took command of organizing a ragtag group capable of manning and operating a rebel radio station. Malaya 28 Feb
Shortly after Keithley arrived, Lyca Benitez Brown came with friends, one of whom knew how to handle the radio equipment, and another who acted as look-out for tanks or troops coming from Malacañang. Manila Times 3 Mar
Eggie Apostol: That evening I was back again in Alabang, keeping vigil with Mrs. Enrile. You know, not talking to each other, we were just praying the rosary and just being very nervous. We didn’t know how it was going to end. It was like a movie.
Ming Ramos: Maybe we were afraid inside but we were quite calm. I told the children to pack small bags, just a few things, in case we had to leave. We were all listening for helicopters that might land and take us, knowing that if Ver got desperate, he’d do anything. I don’t think we slept. We didn’t put on our nightgowns. We had our jeans on, and jackets, because the night was cool. I remember lying down with my sneakers on.
EDSA – The crowd had thinned since the retreat of the tanks but not for a moment throughout the night were the barricades left unmanned. The vigilantes sat on the grassy lots just off the highway and kept themselves awake by telling stories of the uprising so that from one group to another passed accounts of this period of civil disobedience. How four daughters of Presidents – Nini Quezon, Vicky Quirino, Rosie Osmena, and Linda Garcia – made the rounds of the embassies urging foreign diplomats not to recognize Marcos as President-elect. How some people were saying that Cardinal Sin had to be “coaxed” to make a statement on the Enrile-Ramos rebellion and that his call to the faithful was originally intended to ask them merely to bring food to the rebels. How other people were vexed by the pussyfooting of the Papal Nuncio and were sarcastically suggesting that he deliver the invocation at the Marcos inaugural. How Lino Brocka and Behn Cervantes were proving to be the true machos of showbiz; unscared champions of the opposition throughout the campaign and now militant heroes of the resistance. How Nora Aunor, booed on her first visit to the rebel camp, had shown spunk by returning for a second visit to reaffirm her solidarity with the revolution. How Gen. Ramos had become “The Nora Aunor of the Revolution,” cheered and mobbed everywhere he went by people wanting to touch and kiss him. And how his wife Ming was complaining about his telling everyone who asked that she and the children were at home. “Why are you announcing where we are? What if they take us as hostages?” Cooly replied Eddie Ramos: “If any of you are kidnapped, I am not going to compromise!” QUARTET 47-48
The political opposition said it was ready to set up a provisional government with strong backing from concerned military officers and their men if Marcos insisted on remaining in power. “Mrs Aquino and I have been approached by sufficiently high military officers,” Laurel said, who had secretly pledged support for the opposition and the democratic process. Laurel stressed that he was not calling for a military take-over. “We just want to let Mr. Marcos know that his threat to use the military against the people will not work out.”
February 24, 1986:
CAMP CRAME, Midnight : Gen. Ramos took a jog around the perimeter with two guards but no sidearm. Asiaweek 9 Mar
A JOURNALIST, Midnight – We sat with two radios, a Radio Veritas and a second short-wave. Veritas, knocked off the air, was beaming from some clandestine radio station which a few of us knew was barely a kilometer away from where the Evil One resided. “Lord preserve Ketly – that’s our pet name for June Keithley – they’ll kill her in cold blood if they discover where she is.”
NINE LETTERS p. 28
RADYO BANDIDO, 12:10 AM – Keithley’s broadcast began with the playing of Mambo Magsaysay, the campaign song identified with Radio Veritas, “hoping people would recognize the song and know us as DZRV.” All she had were a small pamphlet on civil disobedience and a phone patch to Gen. Ramos’s headquarters. Manila Times 3 Mar
Beside June were two young boys, Paulo 15 and Gabe 13 years, sons of Tony and Monina Mercado. They manned the VHF transceiver link with Fr. Reuter and Gen. Ramos. Inquirer Feb 88
Keithley was on the air when Gallaga’s group arrived at the booth atop the J & T building. A skeleton force was operating the facility and June was getting lost in the plethora of new equipment that she had to instantly be familiar with. It was agreed not to air the radio station’s call sign and frequency as it would alarm Marcos’s troops. A phone-in number was announced instead and shortly, there was a barrage of calls. Malaya 28 Feb
ORLY PUNZALAN “When our newsmen discovered that June Keithley was on Radyo Bandido, they started feeding her news. Harry Gasser, Bishop Baccani, Jun Tana, and the rest of the boys helped. Poor June Keithley. She did not have a mobile unit, did not have a crew. All she had was a radio station and a telephone whose number was not even supposed to be announced.Manila Chronicle Feb 87
AN MERCADO (Student) My brother Gabe called to tell me that June Keithley was broacasting again. The Voice of Truth could be heard on 810 of the AM band. I asked him where they were, trying to sound as demanding as possible, as I was sure my mother would be very worried. He said he could not tell me. It was a secret. PEOPLE POWER p. 191
Fidel Ramos: We were very lucky to have been able to hook up in that manner because to the audience, to the outside world, it appeared that our momentum continued and did not diminish with the demise of Radio Veritas.
A JOURNALIST – Through some ingenious phone patch, we heard Gen. Ramos from time to time, directing his troops from Radyo Bandido, cajoling, pleading, but in a most dignified way, with Artemio Tadiar, chief of the Marines who manned the ominous tanks. He reminded Temy of Christianly duties to God and to fellow man. “You will be treated with compassion and understanding and love.” Then he said that any soldier who did not defect now would “be dealt with accordingly.” Enrile went on the air and affirmed, “…they would be dealt with severely,” almost blowing Gen. Ramos’ PR efforts to smithereens. NINE LETTERS p. 28
FORT BONIFACIO – The Ver strategists looked for another way to “inject” Marines into Camp Aguinaldo, from where an assault on Camp Crame would be launched. Brawner was at the drawing board. At first he thought of shuttling the Marines by air. Risky. The land route would be safer. Following a suggestion from Natividad, CDC units would be utilized to sweep away human barricades so that the Marines could enter Camp Aguinaldo by way of Libis. BREAKAWAY p. 71
Freddie Aguilar: Pagbalik ko sa Crame, nandoon pa rin ‘yung mga madre. Sila pa rin. Nagbibigay ng inspirational talks. Kumakanta ng inspirational songs. Sila pa rin. Hindi talaga umaalis doon, the nuns and seminarians and priests. Grabe talaga. Solid na solid. After midnight na ‘to. So nag set-up na kami. Tugtugan na. ‘Yung mga taong aantok-antok, nagising sa rock ‘n roll. Nagdatingan din ‘yung mga merong camera. Para may ilaw, people turned on their flashlights at itinuro sa amin. It was really something. (When I got back to Crame, the nuns were still there, giving inspirational talks. They stayed on and on, these nuns and seminarians and priests. A solid force. This was after midnight already. So we set up and the band started playing. The sleepyheads woke up to the rock ‘n roll. And people with cameras started coming to record the event. For lights, people turned on their flashlights and shone them on us. It was really something.)
AROUND CAMP CRAME, 1:00 AM – On a call by Cardinal Sin and other Catholic bishops, church bells rang eerily and households walked out to the streets in residential sectors surrounding Camp Crame when word spread that Mr. Marcos’s forces were going to attack the rebels’ stronghold. Bulletin Today 25 Feb
Thousands of people were camped outside the Philippine Constabulary headquarters overnight to form a human shield against any attack by forces loyal to President Marcos.
As hours passed, the question on everyone’s mind was, “When will the Marines strike?” Rumors spread fast and wide each time Marines were reported to be assembling; droves of men, women, and children set off to block the roads.
Buses had been pulled across streets, tires set ablaze, and lines or rocks and sandbags set up, although they would not stop tanks. People kept up their spirits with songs and prayers at makeshift altars.
The main gate, on which several people were perched, looked like a Christmas tree, festooned with banners and lit with searchlights. Soldiers armed with automatic weapons, heavy machine guns, and grenade launchers lounged around the gate. Some briefed civilians on how to throw petrol bombs as nuns sang hymns and gave out food. There seemed to be about 1,000 officers, although the rebels would not give numbers. Bulletin 25 Feb
RADYO BANDIDO – News of defections trickle in through the night, Cory speaks briefly, and whenever Ketly runs out of things to say, or whenever the tension needs easing, she spinned an old scratchy version of Mambo Magsaysay. June also played Bayan Ko intermittently. NINE LETTERS p. 28
Cory Aquino: I was hardly sleeping. While I would lie in bed and pretend to sleep, I didn’t really. I guess the adrenalin just flowed and maybe that is why I wasn’t conscious of the time. Events were overlapping. One day just seemed to go on into the next.
DZRJ, STA. MESA, MANILA On the 12th floor of the building where the radio station was, in the center of the city, June was really terrified. She said, over the transceiver: “There are only six of us here three boys and three girls. The place is so tiny! There is only one door! If the military come to that door, with an Armalte, there is no escape! Only the window! And the closest ledge is four stories down!” Monina, mother of the Mercado boys, phoned the office and said: “Could I have my sons back? They are in danger!” PEOPLE POWER (II) p. 191
When Monina wanted her children back, Fr. Reuter said, “Give your children a chance to be heroes!” Inquirer Feb 88
CRAME WAR ROOM, 2:03 AM – Ramos lit up a cigar and reported that a Huey helicopter had been flown in by defecting Air Force pilots. On his mahogany table were a book by Dred Schwarz entitled “You Can Trust the Communists (To Be Communists)”, a Bible open at Psalm 91, and a back issue of Asiaweek with himself on the cover. Asiaweek 9 Mar
May lumapit. Enough na daw ang tugtugan, napakaraming tao na daw. Kantahin ko na daw ang Bayan Ko to close the show. Pero kinausap ko muna ang mga tao. Inulit ko ‘yung sinasabi everywhere ng mga pare’t madre, na magkaisa, huwag gagamit ng dahas, huwag manunukso o manunuya ng kaaway. Hindi kasi maiiwasan, baka meron diyang may dalang baril, what if he starts shooting, e di naloko na tayong lahat. Hindi naman sa duwag tayo, pero why do we have to kill each other. All around, ganoon ang pini-preach. Tapos kinanta ko ang Bayan Ko, pampatindi ng nationalism. Siyempre tatapang lalo sila.
There was a huge crowd gathered by now. I was told to close the show by singing Bayan Ko. Before that I repeated what the priests and nuns were saying to the people in the barricades – to be united, to avoid violence, to avoid taunting the enemy. We didn’t want anyone with a gun getting upset and starting to shoot. It’s not that we were being cowards. But why do we have to kill each other. Then I sang Bayan Ko, to strengthen the sense of nationalism and make the people even braver.
FORT BONIFACIO, 3:00 AM – Ramas ordered two Marine battalions to prepare for another attack. General Tadiar had a choice of commanders – the level-headed Col. Balbas or the gung-ho Col. Reyes. Balbas had just arrived back, exhausted from a 10-hour patrol around the rebel camps. Tadiar sensibly selected the well-rested Col. Reyes. But when an aide approached him for the order, Tadiar blurted out the name of Balbas. Veritas Special Oct 86
Balbas’s 4th Marine regiment was reinforced by armor: 3 LVTH’s and 3 V-150’s. Army CDC battalions would lead the way through EDSA, turning right before Ortigas, going via Rodriguez St. and then to Santolan by way of Libis, then push beyond to the LogCom main gate. BREAKAWAY p. 71
CAMP CRAME – Ramos told huddled journalists that an attack was expected by daybreak from loyalist troops two kilometers away on Santolan Road. On radio he appealed to the people “to meet the forces organized by Marcos and Ver.” Asiaweek 9 Mar
RADYO BANDIDO With sophisticated radio locators, Ver’s forces could not find dzRB simply because it was much too close, practically towering over Malacanang. They never knew how tantalizingly close their helicopters were to the radio tower they could have so easily bombed. As Monina Mercado walked up to the 12th floor, she saw something that made her realize that God and destiny were with the Filipino people. Crowding every step of the way up the spiral staircase were nuns sitting, kneeling, reciting the rosary. With them, a lone man, Ariston Estrada. A battalion of armed soldiers could not have attacked the station without drowning in a sea of martyrs’ blood. Inquirer Feb 88
WASHINGTON, D.C., Around 3:00 AM (Manila Time) – The National Security Planning Group met in Shultz’s office, now with an acute sense of urgency. Bosworth in Manila reported that Marcos might attack the rebels at daybreak. A decision by Reagan was vital before then.Shultz personally wrote a step-by-step script for Reagan, proposing that Laxalt fly to Manila with a presidential message urging Marcos to resign, with Habib accompanying him to broker the transition. IN OUR IMAGE pp. 419-420
CAMP CRAME WAR ROOM, 3:30 AM – Gen. Ramos had just come in from a jogging tour around the camp. His cheeks glowed with sweat. He opened a box of Tabacalera Flor Fina and toyed with a cigar while Minister Enrile, seated on his left, puffed a smoke. Brigadier General Eduardo Ermita, a commanding general of the joint staff Civil Relations Services, held a copy of St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer. But it was in English. Could somebody please translate it into Pilipino? The room buzzed about the imminent “attack.” Officers filed in and out of the room, making their way around a floor of bodies, cameras and armalites. Coffee flowed. The room tensed with the report that three tanks had been sighted in Santolan. Gen. Ramos sent plainclothesmen to “verify.” Minister Enrile concentrated on a Philippine Daily Inquirer as photographer Melvyn Calderon waited for the best angle. Three doctors sat quietly behind Enrile; the image of the Virgin Mary serenely looked on Ramos’ back. Mr. & Ms. 28 Feb
RADYO BANDIDO, Past 3:30 AM – Enrile warned the people through radio that two armored personnel carriers were on their way towards Ortigas. A look-out man on top of VV Soliven building had sent Enrile the information. QUARTET p. 58
EDSA, ORTIGAS – The human barricade braced itself for another eternity of suspense. A bottle of vodka was gulped down in a matter of minutes. The nuns started the prayers, kneeling down in front of the barricade. The APCs were coming…time again for flag-waving, for kapit-bisig, for praying. But again the APCs, upon reaching the edge of the human barricade, hesitated, stalled, backed off, turned around, retreated. Again, euphoria! Ibid.
Freddie Aguilar: Sa Gate Two, biglang nagkasahan sabay-sabay ‘yung mga sundalo. Sabi ko, ano ‘to? Guerra na? Tapos ang tagal, nakabitin kami, you don’t know whether there’ll be shooting or not. Ang maririnig mo lang, ‘yung kasahan, ganoon. Ang pakiramdam, ‘yung parang sa sine, pag suspense na. (At Gate Two, the soldiers suddenly cocked their weapons. What’s this? I thought. Is it war? And then for a long time, we were hanging in suspense, just like in the movies, all you hear are the sound of guns being cocked.)
THE WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON, D.C., Around 4:00 AM (Manila Time) – Reagan remarked at a National Security Council meeting that Marcos had to be “approached carefully” and “asked rather than told” to depart. He declined to telephone Marcos and tell him to go, nor would he send him a personal message. Nor would he countenance a replay of Jimmy Carter’s refusal to allow the shah to enter the United States until he was near death. Marcos, he affirmed, could have asylum in America.
Shultz called Bosworth in Manila, ordered him to inform Marcos that his “time was up” and that “we will make the transition as peaceful as possible.” IN OUR IMAGE p. 420
FORT BONIFACIO, 4:14 AM – Balbas’s regiment and supporting units jumped off from Bonifacio. This time the Marines moved more efficiently than they did the previous day. The CDC units under the direction of Brig. Gen. Victor Natividad would use tear gas to breach the human barricades at Libis. BREAKAWAY p. 71
METRO MANILA, Before Dawn – Batasan members were awakened by Minority Floorleader Pepito Laurel’s office and directed to proceed to UNIDO president Doy Laurel’s residence at 6:30 AM for a meeting. Inquirer 26 Feb
CAMP CRAME WAR ROOM, 4:30 AM – Gen. Ramos received a note, and he broke into a wide grin. “Good news. Everybody is defecting to our side.” Pushing back his eyeglasses, the general stretched to his full height. Retired Brig. Gen. Guillermo Picache, commissioner of the National Pollution Control, was joining the rebel forces because “there is so much pollution in the Marcos government.” The room rocked with cheers. Another good news: the three tanks sighted earlier turned out to be garbage trucks. Gen. Ramos was amused. “That’s symbolic. After all, we have been getting nothing but garbage all these years.” Mr. & Ms. 28 Feb – 6 Mar
The diocesan celebrations were soon joined by international gatherings. At first these took place every two years. The first WYD was held in the dioceses in 1986.
Some eight thousand people gathered together on the Second Anniversary of the Foundation at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on August 24, 1986. Even the seemingly indifferent PICC staff were surprised because the affair lasted one whole day and it was the first time that its Reception and Plenary Halls were filled to capacity. On that same period, the “Liwanag Magazine” was renamed, “Bagong Liwanag.”
Before the year 1986 ended, a crowd of more or less 100,000 attended a Foundation-sponsored CLSS and Mass and Healing Rally at the Rizal Baseball Stadium in Manila. That was then the biggest crowd ever gathered by a Catholic Charismatic Renewal Community in the Philippines.
On February 9, 1987, Most Rev. Bishop Gabriel Reyes, Overall Spiritual Director of the CCRM of Manila, appointed Rev. Fr. Archie Guiriba, OFM, as the Spiritual Director of the Foundation.
The first international gathering was held in 1987 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a strong message to a country that was emerging from dictatorship
The Third Anniversary of the Foundation was celebrated with an Overnight Mass and Healing Rally at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Vito Cruz, Manila, from August 22-23, 1987. It rained heavily throughout the affair, but the estimated two hundred thousand attendees stayed until it ended in the morning.
From December 26 to 27, 1987, over 200,000 participants from all over the Philippines attended the Annual DWXI-PPFI Family Reunion with El Shaddai at the DWXI Compound in Paranaque. His Eminence, Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin graced the occasion.
Before the year ended, one of Bro. Mike’s most trusted associates in the management of the Foundation resigned from his post and incited other workers of the Foundation to join him. They then orchestrated an uprising within the Foundation and destroyed some important pieces of equipment in the radio station. They accused Bro. Mike of malversation of the funds of the Foundation and filed charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
On July 19, 1988, their allegations appeared in a daily newspaper with nationwide circulation. Despite this, more and more people attended the fellowships of the Foundation. After several court hearings, the SEC dismissed the case for lack of merit.
Because of the phenomenal growth of the Foundation, its Fourth Anniversary was held at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, Manila, from August 20-21 1988, where an estimated half a million people packed the venue. It was the biggest crowd so far gathered by a particular group in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement in the Philippines. The testimonies on the healing and miraculous power of Psalm 91 inspired some prayer-partners to have the Psalm printed on handkerchiefs. These handkerchiefs have become an instrument of God’s healing and miracles among the prayer-partners worldwide.
At the Catholic National Prayer Rally held at the Quirino Grandstand on July 16, 1989, the prayer-partners, constituting some eighty percent of the participants, were highly visible because they used the El Shaddai handkerchiefs as head coverings. By this time, several parish priests and bishops of the Catholic Church had begun to recognize and accept the chapters and prayer-groups of the Foundation in their respective parishes and dioceses.
The 4th WYD in 1989 was held in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This is a well-known centre of faith in Europe that attracts huge numbers of young pilgrims from all over the world.
As early as 9:00 a.m. of August 19, 1989, members and followers of the Foundation began trooping to the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Vito Cruz, Manila to participate in its Fifth Anniversary. By midnight, the entire stadium was jammed with over half a million people from all over the Philippines to take part in an overnight activity of praise and worship dedicated to El Shaddai. Bishop Teodoro C. Bacani, together with some priests from the different parishes in the Archdiocese of Manila, led the Holy Mass.
From November 18-25, 1989, the Hong Kong Chapter celebrated its anniversary at the Chung Hom Kok with Bro. Mike and Rev. Fr. Archie Guiriba as speakers.
From December 30-31, 1989, there was simply no space left unoccupied with people standing shoulder to shoulder during the Annual Overnight Family Reunion with El Shaddai at the Rizal Baseball Stadium in Manila.
In February 1990, many were healed of their ailments during the Mass and Healing Rally of the Foundation at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila.
From April 14 to 15, 1990, thousands of members and followers trooped to the DWXI Compound in Parañaque for the Easter Family Appointment with El Shaddai.
It was normal school day at the Christian College of the Philippines in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. It was just a few minutes past 4 p.m. and students were eager to finish the last subject of the day and go home.
Over in Baguio City, at the Hyatt Terraces Hotel, the day was just beginning, especially as hotel guests and patrons were filling the casino to place bets on the several games of chance being played.
In Dagupan City, Pangasinan, moviegoers at the popular Jade Theater munched on popcorn while enjoying the film that was showing.
All over Metro Manila, people went about their ordinary lives. Crane operators at the Manila’s Port Area did their daily task of hoisting and stacking container vans brought in and out by various ships. White-collared professionals walked the stretch of Ayala Avenue in Makati.
However, at 4:26 p.m., what seemed like an ordinary day turned into something out of the ordinary. Suddenly, the ground shook violently for 45 seconds, causing buildings to topple, bridges to collapse and roads to crack open and release mud.
The patrons at the Jade Theater dropped their sodas, popcorn and other belongings and dashed to main exit, causing a stampede.
While this was happening, the whole Liwag Building of the Christian College of the Philippines collapsed with students, teachers and school staff inside.
The foundations of the Hyatt Terraces Hotel also buckled at the strength of the quake, causing it to topple, trapping guests and staff. Many of the guests who were playing at the casino were either dead or trapped.
Crane operators at the Manila port were caught off guard by the shaking. Operations were quickly suspended as container vans fell on each other and on parked cars.
In Makati, office workers calmly rushed out of their buildings and into the streets. The eighth and nine floors of the Rufino Building along Ayala Avenue gave in to the temblor. Also damaged were the Cojuangco, Locsin, Ayala and T. Alonzo buildings.
The country’s response was quick. President Corazon Aquino quickly activated all regional disaster councils and mobilized all available emergency response units, including the police, armed forces and the coast guard. She convened the National Disaster Coordinating Council to monitor the progress of the disaster response efforts. Members of the Cabinet were tasked to different provinces to supervise these efforts.
Among the first areas that rescuers and journalists quickly reached was Cabanatuan City. Local and international press coverage of the disaster immediately focused on the collapsed Liwag Building of the Christian College of the Philippines, where at least 30 students died and 150 were trapped.
Elsewhere in Nueva Ecija, other buildings fell as well. The library of the Central Luzon State University in Muñoz collapsed and killed 75 people. In San Jose City, three more buildings collapsed, killing at least nine people.
In neighboring Pangasinan, 13 people died in the stampede of moviegoers inside the Jade Theater in Dagupan City. The city’s public market and the Magsaysay Commercial Center also fell during the tremor. Two bridges in the province also fell.
But while disaster response was fast throughout much of Central Luzon, Baguio City was trapped from the rest of island. Landslides blocked the major roads leading to the mountain resort city, including Naguilian Road, Kennon Road and Marcos Highway. Volunteers and rescuers going the city had to be flown by helicopter or had to walk the portions of the roads that were still passable. It took three days before these roads were cleared of blockages.
The city was devastated, with many buildings either fully destroyed or damaged. Aside from the Hyatt Terraces Hotel, the Nevada Hotel, Baguio Hilltop Hotel, Baguio Park Hotel and FRB Hotel were also destroyed. The city’s Burnham Park turned from tourist attraction to tent city overnight.
Because the city was cut off from the rest of Luzon, food, water and medicine quickly ran out. The people of Baguio had to rely on bayanihan to rescue people trapped under the rubble and tend to survivors.
As more people emerged from heaps of debris, record-breaking stories of survival were told to the press. Among them were part-time cook Luisa Mallorca and gym instructor Arnel Calabia, who survived under the rubble of the Hyatt Terraces Hotel for 11 days by drinking their own urine. Pedrito Dy, the 27-year-old baker of the same hotel, broke this record after he was recovered alive three days later.
But aside from stories of survival, journalists also recorded stories of heroism.
Among them was the gallantry of 20-year-old high school student Robin Garcia, who survived the initial temblor but went back to the collapsed building to save eight more trapped underneath. In his fourth rescue try, an aftershock rocked the site, killing Garcia.
A handful of those who survived the killer quake are forever indebted to Garcia’s heroism. He was posthumously awarded the Boy Scouts of the Philippines’ Medal of Honor while President Aquino conferred upon him the Grieving Heart Medal.
With a surface wave magnitude of 7.8 and estimated damage worth P15 billion, the 1990 Luzon Earthquake was the strongest and costliest to hit the island in 20 years. With a death toll of at least 1,600 and thousands more injured or missing, it was captured in our collective consciousness as a “killer quake.”
During the months of July and August, the Foundation extended assistance to the earthquake victims of Aringay, La Union and Baguio Hills, Baguio City. A Mass and Fellowship was held thereafter.
On August 5, 1990, due to the overflowing crowd, a three-session Sunday Family Appointment with El Shaddai was held at the Folk Arts Theater.
From August 18 to 19, 1990, the Sixth Anniversary of the Foundation was held at the PICC-CCP Grounds in Buendia Ext., Pasay City. In attendance were housands of its members and followers, who experienced the wonderful works of the Holy Spirit as they praised and worshipped El Shaddai and listened to His Word despite a storm which flooded some parts of the venue with knee-deep water.
On September 24, 1990, the servant-volunteer workers of the Foundation participated in the El Shaddai Community Leadership Seminar at its office in Amorsolo St., Makati, with Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bacani as speaker.
On December 8, 1990, the Foundation joined in the National Cathetical Year held at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila. Brother Mike led a prayer at three o’clock in the afternoon.
From December 29 to 30, 1990, the Annual Overnight Family Reunion with El Shaddai was held at the PICC-CCP Grounds, Pasay City. Bishop Bacani led the Holy Mass. In his healing message, Bro. Mike urged the crowd to be delivered from their vice of smoking. Thus, many cigarettes were thrown onto the stage.
In the second quarter of 1991, Bro. Mike, together with Rev. Fr. Archie Guiriba led a Mass and Healing Rally in Toronto, Canada and in Los Angeles, California, USA, and during the opening of the chapter of the Foundation in Singapore.
The 6th WYD in Czestochowa in Poland in 1991 was the first great meeting of young people from Eastern and Western Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The scenario of the Seventh Anniversary of the Foundation held at the PICC-CCP Grounds in Pasay City, from August 17-18, 1991, was identical to that of its Sixth Anniversary. Nevertheless, the almost half a million attendees braved the monsoon rains and knee-deep flood to give thanks, praise and worship to God.
On December 1, 1991, the Cebu Chapter of the Foundation held its First Mass and Healing Concert at the Cebu Coliseum, Cebu City, from 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Bishop Bacani, together with Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Leo Tumulak and Rev. Fr. Mike Hisoler, led the concelebrated Mass. His Eminence Cebu Archbishop Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal talked about the need of unity among the various charismatic groups under the banner of the Foundation. Brother Mike, in his healing message, led the crowd in repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
On December 14, 1991, the Foundation joined in the CBCP-sponsored First National Day of Prayer and Renewal held at Rizal Park, Manila. On December 29, the Annual Family Reunion with El Shaddai was held at the PICC-CCP Grounds, from 12 m.n. to 11:00 a.m. The lame people in attendance were able to walk, even onto the stage, miraculously.
In the first quarter of 1992, Bishop Bacani appointed Rev. Fr. Anton T. Pascual of the Sto. Niño de Praga Chapel in Greenbelt, Makati City, and Rev. Fr. Alfredo Guerrero of the St. Joseph Parish in Tondo, Manila, as Spiritual Directors of the Foundation.
On March 15, His Eminence Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal L. Sin celebrated his Episcopal Silver Jubilee with members and followers of the Foundation, together with some guests, at the PICC-CCP Grounds. During the fellowship, many were delivered from vices such as smoking, drinking liquor, and gambling. As a proof, bottles of wine, cigarettes and game cards were gathered at the stage as urged by Bro. Mike.
From May 9-10, during the Special Prayer Vigil and Overnight Rally of the Foundation held at the PICC-CCP Grounds, former bitter enemies and 1992 presidential candidates Fidel V. Ramos and Imelda R. Marcos got reconciled in front of Bro. Mike and the thousands of people who attended the affair.
On May 24, Bro. Mike, together with Rev. Fr. Archie Guiriba joined the Toronto, Canada Chapter Mass and Healing Rally held at the Our lady of Assumption Church, wherein people of different nationalities-French, Canadian, Spanish, Italian, German, American, Mexican, Filipino and Chinese filled the church.
The Inauguration of Fidel Ramos as the twelfth President of the Philippines took place on Tuesday, June 30, 1992 at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila and as mandated by the Constitution, this took place at noon. The oath of office was administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice Andres Narvasa. This is also the first inauguration after the 1987 constitution and the first inauguration after the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
Back in the Philippines, Bro. Mike was the guest speaker during the First Anniversary of the Foundation’s chapter in San Pablo City, Laguna held on July 7. Though a brownout occurred, this did not hinder Bro. Mike from proclaiming mightily and boldly the Word of God.
On July 16, during the El Shaddai Fellowship in Amorsolo, the former owner of DWXI radio station, Bro. Ernie Rosales gave his testimony on how he came to know Bro. Mike and how he was blessed upon seeing him being used by the Lord in this vineyard.
On July 26, 1992, the El Shaddai DWXI-PPFI Japan Chapter was inaugurated with a Mass and Healing Rally at the Nishi Chiba Catholic Church, in Chiba City. Reverend Fr. Vic Torres, the chapter’s spiritual director, officiated the Holy Mass. After the healing message of Bro. Mike, everyone present became joyful, experienced miracle healings in spirit and body, and received new lives in Christ.
On the occasion of the Eight Anniversary of the Foundation held at the PICC-CCP Grounds, from August 22-23, 1992, more than one-and-a-half million prayer-partners attended the affair. His Excellency, President Fidel V. Ramos, gave his greetings to the congregation.
On September 5, 1992, Bro. Mike visited the Foundation’s chapter in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro Chapter via a helicopter. The estimated 25,000 Mindorenos from different denominations, including the native Mangyans, were delighted as they listened to his healing message during a Mass and Healing Rally held at the Roxas Town Plaza, from 5:30 p.m. to 12 m.n.
On October and November 1992, the Foundation had a relief operation for the Mt. Pinatubo victims in Zambales and Tarlac. Before the distribution of relief goods, a fellowship was held amidst the heavy downpour of rain.
On November 6, the first Diocesan Mass and Healing Rally in Pampanga was held at the Pampanga Sports Complex in San Fernando, Pampanga, where Kapampangans filled the venue to the rafters.
On December 12, the Foundation joined the Family Rosary Crusade Golden Jubilee at Rizal Park , Manila. Majority of the millions of people that attended the affair were prayer-partners.
From December 26-27, an estimated three million people attended the Annual Overnight Family Appointment with El Shaddai at Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila.
On February 10, 1993, the first Mass Wedding sponsored by the Foundation was held at the St. John the Baptist Church in Pinaglabanan, San Juan. Nineteen couples, who were together without the benefit of marriage from seven months to 34 years and some had already children, finally tied the knot.
From February 13-14, thousands of prayer-partners joined the Save A Child, Save the Family Movement at the Qurino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila. The event was held in protest of the anti-life programs of the government. On February 25, for the first time, the Foundation participated in the 1986 Edsa Revolution Anniversary. On February 28, 1993, Bro. Mike delivered the healing message during the DWXI-PPFI First Family Appointment with El Shaddai in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. Laoag Bishop Edmundo Abaya, led the concelebrated Mass. Bishop Abaya was the first bishop who accepted the Foundation in his diocese.
Close to two million people gathered to praise, worship, and give thanks to God for His love and goodness on the Ninth Anniversary of the Foundation held at the Quirino Grandstand, from August 21-22, 1993. The crowd filled the Rizal Park from Taft Avenue to Manila Bay at the back of the grandstand. The affair featured the mass wedding of two hundred thirty couples who had previously lived together without the blessing of the Church. During his healing message, Bro. Mike launched the “Love Our Police Movement,” believing that through the Filipinos’ love and faith in the members of the Philippine National Police, the nation will change for the better.
On November 24, 1994, the Foundation opened its chapter at the Batasang Pambansa, home of the [[House of Representatives of the Philippines|House of Representatives]], with a Mass and Healing Rally. Brother Mike spoke before several lawmakers and their staff that attended the affair. From December 24-25, the Foundation held the biggest Christmas party in the Philippines during its Annual Family Reunion at Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila. The close to three million attendees feasted on thousands of roasted calves, pigs and chickens. In the early morning, thousands of doves for peace and prosperity were released by the attendees.
At the start of the year 1995, the Foundation participated in two events-the First National Congress of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement in the Philippines, whose various Charismatic member groups gathered for unity in the spirit, and the10th World Youth Day, during which close to five thousand young members of the Foundation joined as delegates.
The Pope visited the Philippines again in January 1995 in time for the 10th World Youth Day. Some 3 million people lined the streets to welcome John Paul II, who arrived on Jan. 12, 1995.
The five-day visit was the Pope’s first overseas trip after he underwent an artificial bone implant in the leg following a hip injury in April 1994.
On his arrival, the Pope addressed the youth and invited them “… to [s]ee the world around you with the eyes of Jesus himself! The Gospel says that when he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
The following day, the Pontiff met with then President Fidel Ramos at Malacañang and later celebrated Mass for the 233 delegates of the International Youth Forum at Central Seminary Chapel of the UST. He also gave a 20-minute speech to some 200,000 cheering students and academicians gathered at UST Grandstand and Parade Grounds.
“I see that it is my great privilege to be here, to be here and discover anew this phenomenon I knew before, and today I know better,” the Pontiff said.
During this visit, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass to mark the fourth centenary of the Archdiocese of Manila and the Dioceses of Cebu, Caceres and Nueva Segovia at the Philippine International Convention Center grounds in Pasay City.
In a private meeting with members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, the Pope made the “strongest comments” defending the Catholic ban on artificial contraceptives. He also condemned the injustice in the country and noted the “increasing” gap between rich and poor.
“When powerful interests promote policies which are against the moral law inscribed on the human heart, they offend the dignity of man who is made in the image and likeness of God,” the Pontiff said. “In doing so, they undermine the foundations of society itself.”
Four million people, the biggest in his 16 years, 2 months, 29 days reign, thronged the Rizal Park yesterday to see and hear Pope John Paul II celebrate a Mass marking the end of the 1995 World Youth Day (WYD).
Even the Pope could not get through the surging mass in his Popemobile. He had to be transported to the Quirino Grandstand in the presidential helicopter.
He was visibly moved by the sight of the huge turnout.
“The Pope was reluctant to ride the helicopter because he was thinking of the multitude that would somehow be disappointed,” the aide said.
“He knew that since last night, they were already at the site.”
He boarded the helicopter only after being informed by security personnel that even President Ramos was forced to use it because the streets had become impassable.
“I do not remember an instance when the Holy Father rode a helicopter (to attend) a big gathering like this one,” the aide said.
“He wants to be seen by the people so he can bless them as he passes by.”
The Pope was disappointed over the last-minute change, he was overwhelmed by the Filipinos’ very warm welcome, the aide added.
It was a dramatic climax to his triumphant five-day visit and confirmed his view that the future of the Catholic Church lies in Asia.
“I personally have never seen a crowd this big in my life,” said Archbishop John Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Special Communications.
“This is marvelous. This is a wonderful outpouring of faith, love, fervor, and the (Pope) is very pleased. The crowd surpassed the two million people who turned out in 1979 at the Pope’s hometown of Krakow for the first visit to his Polish homeland after his elevation to the papacy,” Foley said.
It also dwarfed the million or so who faced down tanks and guns in the February 1986 uprising that toppled the strongman Ferdinand Marcos from power.
And the two million who rallied behind Cory Aquino at the Luneta after the snap elections.
People started massing at the Rizal Park as early as midnight Saturday, swelling the one-million crowd that attended the WYD delegates’ sunset vigil at the 20-hectare Rizal Park.
The throng grew swiftly as more and more people arrived early yesterday morning.
Among those who came for the Mass were delegations from the provinces, some coming from as far north as Vigan.
In his homily, the Pope roused the youth of the world to “heal and transform society” and to participate in God’s mission “in a unique and personal way.”
He urged them to respect the “beautiful gift of sexuality” and to resist the lure of alcohol and drugs as well as “peer pressure and . . . the pervasive influence of trends and fashions publicized by the media.”
As in the previous day, the Pope called on Filipinos “to play a fuller role in the Church’s elevating and liberating service to the human family.”
The themes of “mission” and “becoming apostles” prevailed in the Pope’s homilies and speeches in the past days.
His constant quote from the Bible was “As the Father has sent me, so do I send you.”
At the 1993 WYD celebration in Denver, the theme was “newness of life.”
According to an aide, the Pontiff had insisted on using the Popemobile to get to the Rizal Park.
`Excess of success’
“There is no security problem,” said Vatican spokesperson Joaquin Navarro-Valls as officials tried to decide on how to get the Pope to the park. “This is an excess of success.”
In a statement issued later in the day, Navarro-Valls said cancelling the Mass due to security risks was never considered.
“The Pope truly has a big heart,” he said. Navarro-Valls added that the turnout was estimated at five million.
From the Apostolic Nunciature on Taft Avenue, the Pontiff arrived at Malacanang Park aboard the Popemobile at 9:20 a.m., where he was greeted by the families of members of the Presidential Security Group.
They waved copies of his photograph and raised rosaries and images of Jesus Christ and the Blessed Mother for his blessing.
He then boarded the helicopter along with Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin and Papal Nuncio Gian Vincenso Moreni.
The President arrived at the grandstand on board the same helicopter at exactly 9 a.m. He was accompanied by his daughter Angel, her husband Norman Jones, and Ambassador Lolita R. Haney.
The three-and-a-half-hour Mass, earlier set at 8:45 a.m., did not begin until past 10.
After mounting the podium, the Pope stared out at the pennant-waving throng which stretched as far as he could see.
His face was almost devoid of expression, and his lips quivered as if he were talking to himself.
But he seemed to respond to the warmth of the crowd as the Mass continued.
At the end of the Mass, the multilingual Pope delivered special farewell messages in 13 languages, including Filipino.
He was brought back by the same helicopter to Malacanang Park, where he boarded the Popemobile for the trip to the San Carlos Seminary in Makati.
The Pope called the world’s youth the “hope for the future” on which will depend the coming Third Millennium which he described as “a marvelous epoch for humanity but which also raises not a few fears and anxieties.”
“Build your lives on the one model that will not deceive you,” he urged the youth.
“I invite you to open the Gospel and discover that Jesus Christ wants to be your friend.”
He challenged the Christian laity to do its part.
He called on “people who till the soil, factory workers, engineers, technicians, doctors, nurses and health care personnel, teachers, men and women in the legal profession, those who serve in public life.”
He also challenged “writers, people who work in the theater and cinema and the media, artists, musicians, sculptors and painters” to take part in the mission.
Again addressing the youth, the Pope added “one specific challenge and appeal, which involves the healing of a source of immense frustration and suffering in many families all over the world.”
Gratitude toward parents He said: “Parents and older people sometimes feel that they have lost contact with you, and they are upset, just as Mary and Joseph felt anguish when they realized that Jesus had stayed behind in Jerusalem.
“Sometimes you are very critical of the world of adults, and sometimes they are very critical of you . . . But always remember that you owe your life and upbringing to your parents.”
He exhorted both parents and children “to build bridges of dialogue and communication.
Young people from all over the world, including a black youth clad in a g-string, presented offerings at the Mass.
A young man from the Netherlands read the manifesto of the International Youth Forum.
The main concelebrants of the Mass were Sin, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Vatican Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sudano, and Eduardo Cardinal Pironio, head of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
Hundreds of cardinals, bishops and priests also served as concelebrants.
`To see him’
Scores of people who had been waiting for the Pope started leaving Rizal Park when they learned he had taken a helicopter.
“Why should I stay when I won’t see him, after all?” said an elderly woman. “I just came here to see the Pope.”
By the time the Mass started, the crowd in front of the Manila Hotel had shrunk to a third of its original size.
More than 100 children aged seven and below were reported missing while thousands suffering from intense heat and cold collapsed in the mass camp-out at the Nunciature and Rizal Park from Saturday night to Sunday morning.
As of 5:30 p.m. yesterday, the Department of Health counted 1,720 persons who were brought to emergency medical stations at the park.
The complaints involved dizziness, asthma, allergies and headaches, said Dr. John Layugan, a member of the Stop Disasters, Epidemics, Accidents and Traumas for Health (Stop Death) team.
Criselda Tungcol, 19, a WYD delegate from San Juan, Metro Manila, was rushed to the Polymedic General Hospital in Mandaluyong after suffering spasms at Rizal Park. She has since been discharged.
Although the Pope looked very tired and lost in thought as he arrived for a Sunday evening meeting with Asian bishops, aides said his Manila reception was just what he needed to help get through the loss of his former active lifestyle.
“That kind of change is difficult psychologically and this trip has helped him come to peace with himself about this new phase in his life,” the aide added.
“It has recharged his batteries.”
The following morning, the Pope left Manila for Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. In his farewell speech before some 10,000 people at the old Manila International Airport, the Pontiff said: “The Pope feels so well in the Philippines that he looks at another opportunity perhaps to return.”
He added: “I take with me a thousand images of the Filipino people.”
On February 1, in order to deepen the spiritual nourishment of its service-volunteer workers and for them to appreciate the heritage of Catholic worship and the sacrament, as well as enhance their knowledge of Catholic teachings on Scriptures and basic doctrines, the Foundation started its On-Going Formation and Cathetical Seminar at Amorsolo handled by Bishop Bacani and Rev. Fathers Bong Guerrero and Anton Pascual.
On April 1, right after the Weekly Family Appointment with El Shaddai at Luneta, Bro. Mike held a press conference at the National Press Club in Manila to air his protest on the proposed cutting of diplomatic ties with Singapore, an offshoot of the Flor Contemplacion case, and with other countries.
On May 28, the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life and the Foundation joined hands in celebration of the First National Day of Life with the hope of arousing the awareness of the public regarding the evils of abortion and euthanasia, and instilling the responsibility of everyone to promote life in obedience to the plan of God. The celebration was held simultaneously with the Family Appointment with El Shaddai during the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ at the Reclamation Area, Pasay City. A Marian procession was held, accompanied by the recitation of the 15 decades of the Holy Rosary. Special intentions for the youth, doctors, pharmacists, teachers, handicapped, prisoners and victims of violence were mentioned during each mystery.
The Eucharistic Celebration was officiated by Bishop Bacani, together with Most Rev. Bishop Ramon Arguelles, Manila Episcopal Chairman of Marriage, Family and Life Ministry; Very Rev. Msgr. Vicente Salgado and Rev. Fr. Watin of Romblon. During the Mass, Bishop Arguelles read a special letter to all Filipinos from His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, imparting his apostolic blessings to the event.
From June 3-4, amidst the storm and flood, thousands of people converged at the PICC-PNCC Grounds for the DWXI-PPFI Pentecost Overnight Celebration. Bishops Ramon Arguelles of CALMANA and Rolando Tirona of PPLM led the concelebrated Mass.
Thousands of members and followers of the Foundation braved the early morning summer sun as they gathered at the Yorty Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center during the first USA and Canada joint Charismatic Healing and Prayer Rally held on July 2. Some prayer-partners gave their testimonies on the miracle healing and life-changing power of the Word of God. Among them were the Lawas brothers, who “littered the street” back in Manila, where they indulged in prohibited drugs, alcohol and almost all kinds of vices. The Lord has changed their lives through the Good News. Now, together with some members of their families, they have become part of the music ministry of the San Francisco Chapter. Reverend Fr. Alfredo “Bong” Guerrero delivered his homily with witty and charismatic jokes, to the delight of all attendees. Afterwhich, Bro. Mike expounded from the Holy Scripture the value of getting close to God Almighty and following the Golden Rule. He gave emphasis on how to become a true Christian by believing that God will give whatever we ask, as long as we have faith in Him. The Holy Spirit manifested Himself, through the physical and emotional healing experienced by the attendees, as the love, peace and joy of the Lord filled the Yorty Hall.
From August 14-15, over a thousand people composed of the local and international parish chapter coordinators, service volunteer workers and staff of the Foundation held an overnight retreat at Puerto Azul, Cavite, in preparation for its 11th anniversary. Brother Mike delivered his first message at around 7:00 p.m. The congregation was held captive by his usual style and wit, that even the staff and workers of Puerto Azul Country Club took time to listen to him as he discussed the attributes that each one must possess in order to become a true servant of God. He was followed by Bishop Bacani who talked about “Faithfulness” as servants of God, and added cheerfully that a Christian’s life is a series of hatching (birth), matching (marriage) and dispatching (death). The wee hours of the morning were spent in sharing and group interaction. At 5:30 a.m., despite the fact that everybody remained awake throughout the night, everyone joined the morning joyful praise and worship to give thanks to the Lord. Around 9:00 a.m., Bro. Mike gave his morning message. At 11:30, a sumptuous lunch awaited the workers while Bro. Mike brought the retreat to a close with a prayer for peace, unity and love to reign among workers in the vineyard of El Shaddai. Shortly after, everyone went home filled with joy and a sense of oneness, and with renewed strength from El Shaddai.
The Eleventh Anniversary of the Foundation was held at the PNCC-PICC-CCP Grounds, Buendia Ave. Ext., Pasay City, from August 19 to 20. Three days before the event, tents of sack, plastic and umbrellas had already mushroomed in and around the venue. The members and followers of the Foundation from the provinces arrived in buses, trucks, jeepneys, and other vehicles festooned with streamers bearing the name “El Shaddai.” In view of the huge numbers of people coming to the venue, the Buendia Avenue Extension was closed and a big number of those who came had to stay in their vehicles, go to the rooftops of nearby buildings, or sit on the sidewalks and simply monitor the celebration on their portable TV and radio sets. His Eminence Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, officiated a mass wedding of one hundred eighty-two couples.
On August 27, 1995, an estimated four thousand people attended the 4th Anniversary of the Singapore Chapter of the Foundation held at the Blessed Sacrament Church in 1 Commonwealth Drive. Reverend Fr. Philip Kolandaisamy of Johor, Malaysia, together with Rev. Fr. Frank Pidgeon, officiated the Eucharistic celebration. Singapore employers and guests from Malaysia and Thailand joined its
members and followers as they sang and danced in praise and worship to the Lord. The church, including its aisles and choir loft, was jam-packed. Everyone felt the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as Bro. Mike delivered his healing message. The laughter of the audience echoed through the walls of the church which was a clear manifestation of God’s living power.
From September 30-October 1, some two hundred thousand members and followers of the Foundation, weathered typhoon Mameng’s onslaught that fell in torrents over the PEA Grounds in Pasay City during the Weekly Family Appointment with El Shaddai, threatening to disrupt the rally. Lightning and thunder came in succession as the voices of the emcees, lectors, and choir members on-stage weakly filtered through the microphones which had already been turned full blast. Umbrellas were rendered useless against the strong winds and heavy downpour which left everyone soaking wet and shivering. Despite this, the attendees were determined to hear Bro. Mike speak for the first time, after he met an accident on Sept. 16 wherein his arm was fractured during his routine jogging at Puerto Azul. It had been two weeks of continuous intercessory prayers for his recovery, especially before his bone surgery on Sept. 21. It was indeed a miracle, for ten days after, the servant-leader was able to attend the Weekly Family Appointment with El Shaddai. It was around 4:00 a.m. when Bro. Mike, with his arm still in cast and sling, delivered the healing message amidst the rampaging storm.
On October 7, at the formal launching of the “Piso Para sa Pasig Fund Raising Campaign” at the Rizal Park Orchidarium spearheaded by First Lady, Mrs. Amelita Ramos, the Foundation through Bro. Mike Z. Velarde expressed his support for the PPP project, a special campaign to bring back life to the Pasig River.
The Hong Kong Stadium, a billion-dollar, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex situated in Wanchai, became the venue of the 7th Anniversary of the Foundation’s Hong Kong Chapter held on November 22. An estimated 30,000 attendees eagerly participated in the Eucharistic Celebration with Bishop Bacani as the main celebrant; and Rev. Fathers Roman Carter and Nevio Vigano, spiritual directors of the Hong Kong Chapter, as concelebrants. Brother Mike once more shared the Good News of the Lord through his healing message. In between his talk, he gave examples of living testimonies of the miracles that God performed in the lives of our brothers and sisters. The whole assembly was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit as Bro. Mike’s message closed with a healing prayer. Tears of joy and repentance welled from the eyes of those who have been touched by God’s Holy Presence. The attendees, composed of Filipinos, Hong Kong nationals, and foreigners, went home joyfully renewed and united in the Spirit of the Lord.
Amidst the yuletide spirit and cheer, 110 couples who had been living together as common-law husbands and wives finally tied the knot during the Christmas Family Reunion with El Shaddai held at the PEA Grounds in Pasay City, from December 23-24, 1995. Close to three million people stood witness to the blessed event as Bishop Bacani officiated the mass wedding ceremony assisted by other priests. Romance pervaded the air, bringing smiles to the young and old alike who stood shoulder to shoulder, seemingly unaffected by the cool December breeze.
In January 1996, Bro. Mike Z. Velarde arrived in Japan early on his annual visit to the different chapters abroad. The chapter’s members and followers have greatly increased since it was first opened in 1992. This was noted during the successful Mass and Healing Rally held on January 28. Some two thousand and five hundred Filipinos, Japanese, and other foreign national covenant members and friends joyfully converged at the Nippon Kyoiku Kaikan Hall, situated at 2-6-2 Hitotsubashi Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo.
On February 25, in response to Bro. Mike’s call for unity, some 100,000 members and followers of the Foundation braved the scorching heat of the sun as early as 10:00 a.m. to join hands with the nation in commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the 1986 EDSA Revolution. The whole-day affair aimed to rally the nation for peace, unity, freedom and thanksgiving. The Foundation was assigned to lead the ecumenical prayer and worship activities.
After the Mass led by His Eminence, Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, the prayer-partners began their fellowship at about 6:00 p.m. with joyful praise songs. To the delight of everyone, Bishop Bacani, in his white robe and scarlet sash, expressed his joy and appreciation for the presence of the thousands of prayer-partners that evening. During the lighting of thousands of candles, a magnificent glow filtered through the darkness of the night filling the intersection of Ortigas Avenue and EDSA. Brother Mike delivered his healing message about the “Extraordinary People of the Lord.” He concluded his message with a healing and deliverance prayer which included five particular intentions, as follows: that God forgive the sins of our nation; that He grant us the freedom we seek in our land; that He grant us “amnesia” from the past and the courage to look forward to our future with faith, love and unity; that He grant divine wisdom and extra-ordinary courage to our president so he could continue his vision of Philippines 2000; and that God grant to all of us the extraordinary power to remain firm in our faith. The fellowship ended at midnight.
From April 4-7, the Foundation held its Holy Week Family Appointment with El Shaddai at the PICC-CCP Grounds beamed live nationwide via satellite on IBC TV-13.
Sixty five converts from other sects, young and old, was baptized during the Holy Mass on Easter Sunday. The newly-baptized converts joined more than 300 more for confirmation during the Pentecost Overnight Celebration of the Foundation held at the PICC-CCP Grounds from May 24-25 beamed live nationwide via satellite on ABC TV-5.
In June 1996, when Bro. Mike flew out of the country to fulfill some engagements, a former service-volunteer assigned to security filed charges of illegal transfer of funds against him with the SEC. The allegations appeared in various newspapers, as well as on TV news programs, not only in the Philippines, but throughout the world as well. Brother Mike, upon his return, denied the accusations and narrated the facts of the case in a Special Mass and Healing Rally held at the PICC-CCP Grounds on July 6, before close to a million people. He also invited his accuser and cohorts to look into the accounts of the Foundation. On August 14, the SEC Court through a resolution cleared Bro. Mike of the charges.
His Excellency, President Fidel V. Ramos was the guest of honor during the Twelfth Anniversary of the Foundation at the PICC-CCP Grounds from August 17-18. In line with the anniversary theme, which is unity, leaders from the different charismatic groups were invited to speak in a CLSS. During the Thanksgiving Mass officiated by Bishop Bacani , a mass wedding took place, in which eighty couples who had been living together as common-law spouses finally tied the knot. Brother Mike delivered the Healing Message about the “Miracle Touch of Unwavering Faith.”
On September 2, 1996, Bro. Mike and Hon. Leonardo Quisumbing, Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), signed an agreement between the government and the Foundation to set up an El Shaddai Overseas “Desk” to look after the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers worldwide. The signing took place in the presence of Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., author of the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995, at his Makati City residence. The Memorandum of Agreement states that the DOLE through the POEA shall allow whenever feasible and appropriate the Foundation to maintain an active Guidance, Counseling and Spiritual Assistance Desk at the POEA Action Center to attend to the morale, welfare and spiritual concern related to overseas employment and other matters; that the DOLE through the OWWA shall extend possible and appropriate assistance to its members who may be in need of guidance counseling and spiritual assistance as well as other welfare services while at the jobsite; that the Foundation shall assign at least two responsible members/officers to man its desk at the POEA Action Center and shall communicate to DOLE/POEA/OWWA the concerns of its members which require immediate action or solution. The said agreement is a positive step of the government in its serious efforts to help alleviate the plight of our Filipino migrant workers abroad.
The House of Representatives Chapter of the Foundation held its 2nd Anniversary on Nov. 28, 1996 at the main lobby of the Batasang Pambansa Bldg., Batasan Complex, Quezon City. Several employees of the Congress and prayer-partners within the area including Cong. Dante Liban of Quezon City were present during the occasion. The affair started with the celebration of the Holy Mass which was officiated by Rev. Fr. Fernando Canicula, parish priest of St. John of the Cross, Pembo, Makati City. This was followed by a CLSS. Brother Mike delivered the message on the importance of being empowered by the Holy Spirit-the power that we need in order for us to overcome trials and temptations and to turn our problems into miracles.
Before the year ended, the Catholic hierarchy of the Philippines, through His Eminence Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, in solidarity with the instruction of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, called on Filipinos to participate in the launching of the Great Jubilee Year 2000-a 3-year celebration in preparation for the 2000th birth anniversary of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thousands of Catholics from the different religious and lay organizations including the Foundation responded to this call as they gathered at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on December 1. A concelebrated Mass, officiated by the bishops and priests led by Cardinal Sin, highlighted the affair. His Excellency Most Rev. Gian Vincencio Moreni, DD., Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, read a letter from the Vatican before the multitude. In line with the theme of the occasion, Bro. Mike focused his healing message on how to prepare ourselves for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “let us not worry about anything, instead, let us put our trust in the Lord; let us fill our hearts with the Word of God and remain faithful in His love; and let us forgive those who have offended us and forget our past hurts. For forgiveness is a step to humility, humility to obedience, and obedience to Eternal Life.”
From December 21-22, millions of members and followers of the Foundation joined in the colorful and joyful celebration of the Family Christmas Reunion with El Shaddai held at the PICC-CCP Grounds, Buendia Ext., Pasay City.
Just looking at the stage design, one can feel the Christmas season, wherein a giant Christmas tree were placed. The was made up of piled-up boxes with 5 in. x 5 in. x 7 in. in size covered by colorful Christmas wrappers. This is the same box, called Miracle Vision Prayer-Request Wish Box, which the attendees brought in the affair as instructed by Bro. Mike. The box had ribbons with color gold, symbolizing the virtue of faith; yellow, symbol of love; and white, symbol of good works. It had a hole to like a money-box, where the attendees put a duplicate copy of their 12 prayer-requests. During the Holy Mass, 101 couple who had been living outside the grace of God finally tied the knot. Some of them were the pair of Bro. Lucino dela Cruz, 64 years old, and Sis. Lolita Papango, 63 years old, who had been living together without the blessing of the church for almost 38 years. Notable among them was a Swiss national who married a Filipina, a couple both afflicted with leprosy, at a Muslim convert. Prior to this, close to 50 among them were baptized and confirmed first before they were allowed to get married, according to Church regulations.
From December 28-29, in order to welcome the coming year 1997, millions of people gathered for an overnight fellowship at the PICC-CCP Grounds beamed live nationwide via satellite over IBC TV-13. A Basic Christian Maturity Seminar was held led by several disciples of the Foundation.
Jan. 3, 1997 throwback: The headline quotes former President Fidel Ramos in his annual report to the nation or Ulat sa Bayan at Malacañang the day before, heralding to Filipinos the economic and social progress ushered in by his administration.
Among the achievements Ramos touted in his speech was the economic growth the country experienced in 1996, as proven by the 7.1 percent gross national product growth that year, record-low inflation rates since 1992, declining unemployment rates and increase in exports.
Ramos noted that these achievements were the result of his administration’s efforts to establish peace and security through agreements with Moro rebels and intensified crime prevention and law enforcement.
“This past year, we could say we have crossed the threshold from the point of takeoff toward sustainable development,” Ramos said in his address, adding that the country had come to a point when it ceased to be the Sick Man of Asia, but rather loomed as Asia’s newest tiger economy.
This headline is crucial because that pronouncement would be turned upside down a few months later. By July of that year, the 1997 Asian financial crisis would affect the Philippines, raising interest rates, sending the peso plummeting from P26.00 to P46.50 versus the dollar, causing the Philippine Stock Exchange composite index to drop to 1,000 points from the previous 3,000, and contracting economic growth to a paltry three percent. It was a lesson on cautious optimism that we can use today, given our own economic achievements in recent years.
On January 22-26, 1997, Filipino Catholics celebrated the CBCP-organized 5th National Eucharistic Congress held at PICC and Quirino Grandstand in Manila. During the 14-hour overnight vigil at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta which started at 7:00 p.m. of January 25, millions of believers and members of various lay organizations, including the Foundation, nuns and priests together with the cardinals, archbishops, and bishops, from all over the country, attended the vigil. An elder-disciple of the Foundation talked before the congregation on how to prepare oneself in receiving the Eucharist. In the morning of January 26, President Ramos gave his message to the assembly. Shortly after this, Papal Legate, His Eminence Anthony Joseph Cardinal Bavilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia (USA) led the concelebrated Mass, together with their Eminences Jose Thomas Cardinal Sanchez, Prefect, Congregation for the Clergy, Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal; Tuguegarao Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan; Most Rev. Gian Vincenzo Moreni, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines; and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bacani.
On March 20, Bro. Mike was the Guest of Honor and Speaker during the luncheon meeting of the Manila Rotarians at the Century Park Sheraton Ballroom, Vito Cruz, Manila. In his message, he told everyone that what we need to realize our quest for national peace, unity and prosperity is the “Missing Part”-the Lord Jesus Christ.
On July 1, the Foundation’s radio program, “Alay Pagmamahal” reached its first year of broadcast over Metro Broadcast-Metro Plus (1044 kHz) AM, a Hong Kong-based radio station. This is the only Christian radio program in Filipino being aired in Hong Kong. The program aired audio tape of “Alay Pagmamahal,” a radio program of Bro. Mike in Manila being heard every Tuesday and Thursday over radio DWXI (1314 kHz) AM. The program tackles the ever-present problems in relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, parents-in-law and sons or daughters-in-law, and other members of the family; and gives advices or suggestions as solutions based on the Word of God. Since its broadcast, many Filipinos working there became its listeners and gave their testimony that they experienced strength, vigor and hope in life in spite of their homesickness, hardship in living there, and anxieties brought about by problems that they received from their respective family back home. Aside from this, many broken families were restored after they followed the advices they have heard on the program.
The Thirteenth Anniversary of the was celebrated at the PICC-CCP Grounds from August 23 to 24, His Eminence, Jose Thomas Cardinal Sanchez, Most Rev. Naval Bishop Filomeno Bactol, Bishop Bacani, and some Reverend Fathers and Spiritual Directors of the Foundation for local and overseas chapters attended the affair. A number of public officials also graced the occasion. Brother Mike presented the “Blessed Are the Peacemakers” Award to President Fidel V. Ramos, the guest of honor.
In spite of heavy rains, close to 600,000 people trooped to the Rizal Park, Manila on September 21, 1997 to join a prayer rally for peace and unity called by His Eminence Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin and former president Corazon C. Aquino. The rally was held in protest of move to amend the Constitution before the 1998 national elections. The attendees were from the different NGOs, civic, business and political groups, Catholic religious organization, and non-Catholic groups. This include the thousands of flaglet-bearing members of the Foundation. Representatives of the different groups in attendance signed a covenant against charter change. An ecumenical invocation was held with leaders from Islam, Protestant and other sect groups participating. Brother Mike represented the Catholic Church. As a result of the rally, the move for charter change in then congress were stopped as called by former president Fidel Ramos.
On November 14, Bro. Mike, together with Bishop Bacani, and some members of the Foundation went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land via Italy. As they arrived in Rome, they went to Santa Maria Maggiore Church in Assisi for a Thanksgiving Mass. Then, they visited some of the famous tourist sites in the country. On November 16, they went to the Vatican City for the Papal blessing.
In the afternoon, they proceeded to Magna Aula in Pontificio Ateneo Antonianum for the scheduled Mass and healing rally of the Foundation’s Rome chapter. Approximately three thousand members and followers from its different chapters in Europe attended the affair. His Eminence Jose Thomas Cardinal Sanchez from Vatican officiated a concelebrated Mass, afterwhich, Bro. Mike delivered his healing message. On the 20th of November, the pilgrims left for Tel Aviv, Israel. The following day, they went to Haifa, Cana, Nazareth, Capernaum, Mt. Tabor and Jericho. On November 23, they held a Mass and Healing rally at St. Peter’s Church in Jaffa. About 2,000 of its members and followers attended the rally. Bishop Bacani officiated the concelebrated Mass, and Bro. Mike delivered the healing message. In the succeeding days, they visited the old city of Jerusalem, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, Ein Karem, the Via Dolorosa, where they walked through the 14 stations placed along the route Jesus had taken from Pilate’s judgement hall to Golgotha; the pool of Bethseda, Mt. Zion, the Dead Sea, and many other significant places. After the pilgrimage, they left for Hong Kong for the 9th anniversary of the chapter there. About 36,000 prayer-partners attended the celebration held at the Hong Kong Stadium on Nov. 30, 1997.
From Nov. 14-15, while Bro. Mike was away, the Foundation, together with over 29 national and international organizations and institutions, participated in the National Conference on Women held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
On January 9, 1998, close to 200 Filipino members and followers of the Foundation, together with several Africans, joined the First Anniversary of its cell group in Tripoli, Libya held at the San Francisco Catholic Church Compound in Tripoli. Most Rev, John Giovanni Martinelli, Tripoli Bishop, officiated the Holy Mass, together with Rev. Fr. Daniel Farrugia from Malta, its spiritual director.
From January 22-24, the Foundation, together with the Philippine Catholic Church hierarchy and members of religious and lay organizations from all over the country, participated in the National Congress on the Holy Spirit held at the Cuneta Astrodome and PICC Plenary Hall. The theme of the affair was “Holy Spirit, Renew the Face of the Earth!” The aim of the Congress was to prepare Catholics for the coming Great Jubilee Year 2000. The event culminated with an overnight vigil at the PICC-CCP Grounds, from January 24-25, hosted by the Foundation. Early in the morning, Papal Legate, His Eminence William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore (USA), officiated a concelebrated Holy Mass, together with Archbishops Jaime Cardinal Sin of Manila and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of Cebu and other bishops and priests.
In response to the call of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II for a joint witness and collaboration of the ecclesial movements in the Catholic Church, the Pontifical Council for the Laity, headed by its president, His Eminence James Francis Cardinal Stafford, held the First World Congress of Ecclesial Movements at the Domus Pacis in Rome, Italy, from May 27-29, 1998. About 350 delegates participated in the congress. Most of them were bishops, representatives of different movements in the Catholic Church and dicasteries of the Roman Curia, Catholic personalities, and fraternal members of other Churches and Christian communities. The Foundation was represented by Bro. Mike, and its Spiritual Director for international chapters, Very Rev. Msgr. Mario R. M. Castillo. On the last day of the occasion, Bro. Mike shared his testimony on how he was miraculously healed of his heart ailment in 1978 and how this experienced led to the establishment of the Foundation. The congress concluded with a Holy Mass.
During the Pentecost celebration of the Roman Catholic Church on May 30, 1998 at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, the Foundation, together with other ecclesial movements and new communities, had an audience with His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. The members and followers of the Foundation, together with more than one million people who joined the occasion, warmly welcomed the Pontiff. After the meeting with the Holy Father, members and followers of the Foundation convened at the Don Orione Theater in Rome, Italy for a 2-hour healing rally. Some of the attendees were from the different chapters of the Foundation in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Kuwait, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, USA, and the Philippines. Brother Mike delivered to the congregation the healing message taken from the Word of God that brings joy, healing and Salvation to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
It was Friday, June 12, 1998, a public holiday. Thousands of spectators flocked to Rizal Park awaiting the start of festivities for the Philippine Centennial Year celebrations.
They came by the busloads – couples, families, friends, even whole villages – donning caps, holding umbrellas and wearing Filipiniana attire amid the morning heat. Others wore the nation’s colors and carried various sizes of Philippine flags.
It was a field day for many, and the beginning of a long weekend. They laid mats and cardboard on the grass, brought out packed lunch in Tupperware and exchanged small talk.
For some, the park became an instant classroom for parents to give impromptu lectures to their children on Philippine history, culture and tradition.
One parent, Elizabeth Montecillo, brought her two sons and a nephew so she could tell them about the country’s heroes and the important events of the past. “Earlier, they inquired about the Rizal Monument,” she said. “It’s good for them to learn history at an early age.”
The children had a lot to look back to; it was, after all, 100 years of Philippine history. The festivities commemorated the day when Filipino revolutionaries, led by then-president Emilio Aguinaldo, declared the country’s independence from Spanish colonial rule in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898.
A 42-float parade depicted the country’s history during the celebrations at Quirino Grandstand, which was witnessed by then-president Fidel Ramos, vice president Joseph Estrada, members of government, the diplomatic corps, and other guests.
One float featured a life-size caravel, which showed the arrival of the Spanish colonizers in 1521 led by explorer Ferdinand Magellan. A mock battle was performed reenacting the Battle in Mactan between Magellan and the island’s natives.
The 300-year Spanish colonial rule was portrayed in the succeeding floats. It showed the country’s conversion to Christianity, the people’s enslavement to serve the Spanish empire’s economic needs, the revolts against colonial rule, the period of nationalist enlightenment, and the bloody revolution that it brought forth.
At the apex of the parade, a two-story replica of the Aguinaldo Mansion slowly made its way along the parade grounds. On the balcony, actor Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., an actor who starred in numerous action movies, played the part of President Aguinaldo.
With a solemn expression, Revilla held the flag from a long pole as he stood along with two other actors, Dante Rivero and Juan Rodrigo, who read the Declaration of Independence. When the declaration was read, he slowly waved the flag to the cheers of spectators wearing farmer costumes.
He then went downstairs, walked out of the mansion with the flag, and went up the stage to the awe of government dignitaries. As the drums rolled, Revilla handed the flag to Ramos, who then raised it with one hand before planting it on a stand at the stage.
Ramos had reenacted the same event from the balcony of the Aguinaldo Mansion in Kawit, Cavite, earlier that day.
In his speech during the celebrations, Ramos addressed the crowd. “Today, we have grown into the responsibility and the glory of nationhood. We are prepared to account for ourselves in the global community. We have begun to make our own history.”
“We, Filipinos, are rejoicing in our coming of age — in the final proof of our ability to understand, to use, and to protect the liberty our heroes won for us a century ago,” he said.
The celebrations culminated with a military parade that showcased our armed forces’ might, including a fly-by of Air Force jets. The evening was capped by a 30-minute fireworks display at Manila Bay — the largest and longest the country has seen — in the colors of the republic: red, white, yellow and blue.
On June 13, 1998, on the occasion of the Centennial Celebration of Independence Day of the nation, the Foundation took part in the “Pista ng Kalayaan” (Feast of Freedom) held at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila. The different agencies of the government and the private sector joined in a socio-civic parade in their respective floats. The Foundation’s float showed a gigantic dove, symbolizing freedom, in accordance with the Catholic Church’s celebration of the Year of the Holy Spirit. The float depicted the different historical events in the country with the theme: “Faith, Love and Unity.” Faith-depicted the first Holy Mass in the country held in Limasawa on April 7, 1521, signalling the beginning of the embracing of the Christian faith by early Filipinos. Love showed the martyrdom of Fathers Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora who were killed for their fervent love of God and country. Unity depicting the unity of Filipinos here and abroad at present through the Word of God being proclaimed by the Foundation. At the side of the float, a Bible verse could be read as such: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). This verse reiterate that the freedom of the country from its colonial masters were achieved by the Filipinos, not only through violent wars, but, most of all, through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Foundation joined the nation for the inauguration of the newly-elected President of the Philippines, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, held at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila on June 30, 1998. More than two million Filipinos witnessed the event. The program started with a prayer for the President led by Bro. Mike, together with Bishop Teodoro C. Bacani Jr., and representatives of other religions and sects in the country. In history of the nation, Bro. Mike was the first lay man who led the invocation for the inauguration of the President of the Philippines. After the inaugural address of President Estrada, the crowd feasted on more than 5,000 roasted pigs and 20,000 roasted chicken prepared by the Foundation and supporters of the President. The big celebration dubbed “Pistang Bayan ng Pagkakaisa,” is an offering of the Filipino to God, with prayers for peace and prosperity in the country and for the President. At 10:00 p.m., the Family Appointment with El Shaddai was held in thanksgiving for the peaceful transfer of leadership in the country. After the candlelight ceremony led by Bro. Mike, he enjoined everyone to continually pray.
On the occasion of its 14th Anniversary, the Foundation held an overnight fellowship at the Quirino Grandstand, Manila, from August 22 to 23, 1998, with the theme: “New Heart, New Spirit” (Ezekiel 36:26). The affair was televised live nationwide via satellite on IBC TV-13. Over three million people from Metro Manila, the provinces, and abroad joined the celebration, which started at four o’clock in the afternoon. Several priests expounded the theme of the mission of the Foundation which is “Faith, Love, and Unity.” During the concelebrated Thanksgiving Mass with Bishop Bacani as the main celebrant, a mass wedding was officiated, wherein thirty-seven couples, who had been living as common-law husbands and wives, finally tied the knot. Sister Belen del Monte-Velarde, wife of Bro. Mike, shared with the crowd her experience about the successful quadruple heart bypass operation of Bro. Mike in the USA in July 1998. The anniversary was also attended by a number of government officials led by His Excellency President Joseph Ejercito Estrada and Vice-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The President, together with Vice-President Arroyo and Bro. Mike, led the symbolical lighting of a miniature radio transmitter tower, which ushered the re-launching of DWXI (1314 kHz) AM radio, now broadcasting with an increased power of 30 kW from its previous 15 kW power in 1994. The radio station started broadcasting with a power of 9 kW in 1981.
On the occasion of the feast day of San Lorenzo Ruiz on September 28, 1998, Bro. Mike, together with Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, former Manila Mayor Ramon Bagatsing and the late Justice Antonio Barredo, received the first-ever San Lorenzo Ruiz Basilica Awards at the San Lorenzo Ruiz Minor Basilica Church in Binondo, Manila. The awards were given to outstanding Filipino Catholics who have excelled in their respective fields, while adhering to the principles of love of God and country, and have helped in a way in the propagation of the faith that San Lorenzo Ruiz died for with a group of missionaries. Brother Mike was cited for his pro-eternal life stance and his efforts to bring the eight-million members and followers of the Foundation closer to God. In his acceptance speech, Bro. Mike said that he was humbled by the award. “God truly works in mysterious ways, and my own life is a testimony to that. I may be the recipient of this award, but all the glory belongs to Him,” he added.
On November 14, in accordance with Presidential Proclamation No. 47, close to a million people, led by the President, joined together for the launching of the First National Day of Prayer and Fasting for National Strength and Unity against All Adversities held at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila. The rally was held for the strengthening and unity of the Filipino people amidst the crises, adversities or calamities experienced by the country, and in assisting the fellow countrymen under those circumstances. Representatives from different sectors of the nation offered prayers, according to their needs in particular and for the country in general. In his special message, the President asked the crowd to pray for his fruitful stint during the APEC Summit held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from November 17-18. At the end of his speech, the President led the congregation for the recitation of “Our Father.” Brother Mike, led the crowd in prayer for the President. In his homily during the Mass, Bishop Teodoro Bacani praised the President for leading the multi-sectoral prayer rally. In his healing message, Bro. Mike talked about having a peaceful and prosperous life.
A colorful and glorious celebration of Christmas was attended by close to four million people during the Annual Christmas Overnight Family Reunion with El Shaddai held at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila, from December 25-26. Dubbed “Pamaskong Salu-salo ng Masang Pilipino at Pangulong Joseph Ejercito Estrada”, the affair was beamed live nationwide via satellite sa IBC TV-13 at PTV-4. A Thanksgiving Mass was led by Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr., together with Rev. Fr. Anton Pascual at Rev. Fr. Sanny de Claro, spiritual directors of the Foundation; Rev. Fr. Emmanuel I. Cruz of Malolos; Rev. Fr. Manheim Abellana, SDB, of Malig, Davao; and Rev. Fr. Roger Orpiada of Our Lady of Assumption Parish, Malate, Manila. One hundred and twelve children received their First Holy Communion at the Mass. After the candlelight ceremony, Bro. Mike delivered his healing message about Christmas. In his Christmas message, President Estrada thanked the prayer-partners for their prayers during his stint in the APEC Summit in Malaysia last November 1998.
Before the affair ended, the President, together with Bro. Mike and Sis. Belen, distributed gift packs, containing 3 kg. rice, 1 kg. bihon, 1 kg. sugar, 1 large can of sardines, 1 big onion, at 1 bunch of garlic, to more than 4,000 indigent people from different places in Metro Manila and distant provinces.
Signaling the start of the celebration of 1999 as the Year of God the Father, the CBCP organized a conference about the event at the PICC Plenary Hall, from January 20-23, 1999. The conference theme was “Father of Jesus…Father of the Church of the Poor.” Close to five thousand delegates from the clergy, religious, youth groups, and lay communities, which included the Foundation, participated in the affair. The Great Jubilee Year will mark the Church’s celebration of the 2,000th birth anniversary of the Lord Jesus Christ and the beginning of Christianity’s third millennium. This will start on Christmas Eve of 1999 and will end on January 6, 2001. The 3-day conference emphasized on the compassionate and merciful God the Father. The confab ended at a prayer rally at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila, where thousands of members and followers of the Foundation led by Bro. Mike joined the delegates. A Holy Mass was concelebrated by Papal envoy Jose Cardinal Sanchez, Papal Nuncio Gian Vicenzo Moreni (+) and Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin. In his healing message, Bro. Mike echoed from the Holy Bible the inspirations and promises of God the Father to His people.
On February 22, approximately 100,000 members and followers of the Foundation trooped to the EDSA Shrine in EDSA-Ortigas Ave. Interchange to join the nation for the 1986 EDSA Revolution 13th Anniversary. The theme of the affair was “Isabuhay ang Diwa ng EDSA, Ipaglaban ang Kalayaan!” (Live Up to the Spirit of EDSA, Defend Our Freedom!) A concelebrated Thanksgiving Holy Mass was led by Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, assisted by Bishop Bacani. In his message to the crowd, President Joseph E. Estrada stressed that the celebration was held not to fight any political chaos but to alleviate the plight of the marginalized poor. This was followed by a fellowship of unity led by Bro. Mike. In his healing message, he expounded that to attain a lasting unity in our society, every Filipino should reconcile to God and to one another, love one another, and learn to accept one another.
On March 7, in order to strengthen the peace and order situation in the Philippines, thousands of members and followers of the Foundation led the nation in a Prayer Rally for Peace and Unity at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila. The event was beamed live nationwide via satellite at PTV-4. The theme of the affair was “Tayo’y Pilipino: Sandugo, Sanlahi, Isang Katawan-Magkaisa na Tayo!” (“We are Filipinos-One Blood, One Race, One Body: Let Us Unite Now!”) Prayers for peace and unity were offered by representatives of various sectors led by Bro. Mike. Their prayers included the plea for the release of police and military captives held by the CPP-NPA-NDF and for the resumption of peace talks between them and the government; and also for an end to the armed conflict in Mindanao. To symbolize the national desire for peace and unity, thousands of doves were released by the congregation. Signed personal petitions of each attendee were tied to the birds’ legs. A celebration of the Holy Mass was led by Rev. Fr. Anton Pascual, Spiritual Director of the Foundation, together with Rev. Fr. Manheim Abellana, SDB. In his healing message, Bro. Mike expounded about having peace that comes from the Lord-one which cannot be shaken even in times of troubles.
On April 13, the radio DWXI (1314 kHz) AM launched its newest program entitled “Gintong Aral, Gintong Ani,” led by Bro. Mike. This served as the propaganda arm of the newly-established El Shaddai Brother’s Keeper Multi- Purpose Cooperative, which aimed to alleviate the economical and social status of its future member, according to the principle of FLU: “Faith, Love, and Unity” of the Foundation. The radio program tackles all the necessary informations about the cooperative. The cooperative is open only to members of the Foundation. Completion of a Catholic Life-in-the-Spirit Seminar (CLSS) is a prerequisite for those willing to be a member of the Foundation and the cooperative.
On April 19, 1999, in support of the Linis-Bayan program of the government, thousands of members and followers of the Foundation, led by its Servant-Leader Bro. Mike Z. Velarde, joined together in cleaning the stretch of Roxas Blvd. and Airport Road. This also served as their gift to President Joseph Estrada who celebrated his 62nd birthday on that day. In a telephone conversation, Bro. Mike told the President that it was the only gift that the Foundation could give on his birthday. In response, the President told him that he was elated and was thankful for the initiative taken by the group. As early as 6:00 a.m., the assembly of volunteers were seen sweeping the streets with their own broomsticks. They were wearing white T-shirts printed with the slogan “El Shaddai Linis Bayan Troops: Linis Kalsada, Linis Konsensiya” (Clean Street, Clean Conscience). The volunteer-sweepers jubilantly cheered as Bro. Mike moved from one point to another of the long stretch in a motorcade. Brother Mike was joined by his wife, Sis. Belen, TV host Cory Quirino and supporters.
Not even the strong winds and heavy rain could dampen the spirit of close to 1.2 million people in joining the 15th Anniversary of the Foundation held at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila, from August 20-21. Most of the attendees were already in the venue days before the overnight affair beamed live nationwide via satellite over RPN TV-9. Before noon of August 20, in observance of Bro. Mike’s birthday, the attendees feasted on roasted chickens, pigs and calves as a gift of the family and friends for his natal day. Early in the afternoon, the crowd jubilantly caught with their umbrellas inverted thousands of miracle-souvenir handkerchiefs thrown into the air from several helicopters. A thanksgiving prayer was offered by Bro. Mike for his birthday and for the anniversary of the Foundation. He also led the congregation in prayer for their prayer-requests, which were tied to balloons and released to the air at the signal of Bro. Mike. His Excellency, President Joseph E. Estrada, the guest of honor in the occasion, gave his greetings and message to the crowd. The President was with First Lady Eloisa Ejercito Estrada, MD. In attendance also were some members of the cabinet; several senators led by Senate President Blas Ople; several congressmen led by House Speaker Manny Villar; and friends of Bro. Mike from the business, entertainment, media, legal, and religious sector. A Thanksgiving Mass was led by His Eminence Jose Thomas Cardinal Sanchez of the Vatican City, together with Bishop Bacani; Very Rev. Msgrs. Mariano T. Balbago Jr. of Antipolo Diocese and Mario A. Castillo; and Rev. Fr. Anton Pascual and Rev. Fr. Sanny de Claro, spiritual directors of the Foundation. Joining them also were several spiritual directors from the international chapters of the Foundation namely Reverend Fathers Bernard J. Nolan of Brisbane, Australia; Leo E. Steinbock of L.A., Ca., USA; and Thomas Kawamura of Tokyo, Japan, as well as from the Philippines namely, Dwight de Jesus; Remigio Mendoza of Mabini, Batangas; Manheim Abellana, SDB; Eligio Santos of San Ildefonso Parish, Makati; and Stephen Punnakal and Victor Maung Thit of the Our Lady of Assumption Parish, Malate, Manila. Highlighting the Mass was the mass wedding of 50 couple who had been living together for a long time without the blessing of the Church. They decided to get married for they had known through their listening of the Word over DWXI (1314 kHz) AM, that they are living against the will of God, for it is written in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “…Do not be deceived: Neither the sexual immoral…nor adulterers…will inherit the Kingdom of God.” After the Mass, a candlelight ceremony was held followed by the delivery of the healing message of Bro. Mike.
On September 13, 1999, after the press release of the CBCP Permanent Council Statement regarding its fraternal concern on the Foundation, the news media came out with the following issues: that the Foundation is becoming a cult because of some of its practices; that there is a lack of transparency in the administration of its funds; and that it will eventually break away from the Catholic Church and establish its own church. To clarify the stand of the Foundation on the issues, Bro. Mike called for a press conference on Sept. 16, 1999. It was held at 8th Flr., Queensway Bldg., 118 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City and attended by tri-media people from different establishments in the Philippines and abroad. Bishop Bacani and its spiritual director, Rev. Fr. Anton Pascual also gave their views on the issues during the forum.
On Nov. 13, 1999, in accordance with Executive Order No. 169 signed by the President, complementing Presidential Proclamation No. 47, declaring the second Saturday of November of every year as National Day of Prayer and Fasting Against All Adversities, thousands of people from different sects and religions in the Philippines joined together for the affair held at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila. Reverend Ephraim Perez and Bro. Boy Baldomaro of the New Hope of Life Church, Baliuag, Bulacan led the congregation in the singing of praise and worship songs. Bishop Efraim M. Tendero of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCES) exhorted the crowd about the importance of prayer. Reverend Reynaldo Santillana of the Christian Ministers Council of Bulacan led the invocation. This was followed by the offering of prayers of representatives of the different sects and religions, namely, Bro. Joe Villanueva of the Mission to All the World Ministry; Rev. Fred Magbanua of the Christian Leaders Alliance of the Philippines (CLAP); Imam Abdul Bashit Kareem Bantuas of the Muslim community; Rev. Kenneth Aguillera of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP); Minister Adriel Obar Meimban, Ph.D. of the Iglesia ni Cristo; Most Rev. Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr. of the Catholic Church; and Bro. Bert Lotilla of the Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship. Their prayers for the nation were as follows: peace and unity, healing of the nation, lasting peace and prosperity in Mindanao, productive collaboration between the media and the government, eradication of poverty and graft and corruption in the public service, and bountiful harvest and improvement of economic growth and employment. A candlelight ceremony was held after the special message and prayer of the President. The congregation led by Bro. Mike joined together in the recitation of the “Our Father”. He also prayed for unity among Filipinos amidst adversities and for progressive development of the nation.
Two years and four month after the country celebrated its centennial; on November 13, 2000 the House of Representatives impeached President Estrada for the first time.
When the Senate failed to convict the impeached president, he was toppled through yet another show of mass protests at EDSA.
The nation ousted former president Joseph Estrada and installed then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as its new leader after four days of a peaceful popular uprising in the heart of the nation’s capital.
The ruling middle class and elite, angered by more than a month of intricate and tense impeachment proceedings, rallied at EDSA once more to call for Estrada’s resignation. This, after Estrada’s Senate allies voted not to open the envelope supposedly linking Estrada to a bank account of a certain Jose Velarde purportedly containing kickbacks from an illegal numbers game.
Facing pressure from both protesters and dwindling support from Cabinet members, local executives and foreign ambassadors, Estrada resigned and left Malacañang. The second EDSA Revolution was a “success.”
This chapter in our country’s political history comes to fore once again as we remembered and reflected about the 30th anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution this past week.
The second EDSA Revolution is a textbook case of societies’ tendencies toward mob rule and undermining democratic institutions. The million-strong people power at the EDSA Shrine in 2001, and the subsequent pro-Estrada riots that happened in May of the same year, bypassed legal and democratic means of regime change such as impeachment and elections.
It could be argued that the Senate was dominated by Estrada allies and, therefore, could not be relied upon to give an objective guilty verdict, hence the need for another people power. But that argument failed to find justification after Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr. initiated the opening of the second envelope to members of the media, which revealed that Jose Velarde was Jaime Dichavez, not Estrada.
As The New York Times reporter Seth Mydans put it, “The popular uprising took place when it became clear that due process – his impeachment trial in the Senate – would not produce the result many people hoped for: his removal by constitutional means.”
Nevertheless, this is not to justify the corruption and excesses of the Estrada administration. Democratic institutions like the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan later tried and found Estrada guilty of plunder on September 12, 2007.
But if the second EDSA Revolution had failed to take place, we would not have placed another despot in power in the form of Arroyo. If it did not happen, the May 1 riots and the other attempts against her administration would not have occurred and added legitimacy to her rule through her successful defense of Malacañang. And Arroyo would not have vied and won in a flawed election in 2004.