Rizal Famous Quote “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinangalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan. has never been so timely, as today marks the 32nd anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.”Thirty years after People Power toppled a dictatorship and restored democracy to the Philippines, the important time in our country’s history for generations to come.
With that, let’s take a walk down memory lane to recall the events that led to one of our country’s most defining moments.
September 21, 1972 – President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed Proclamation No. 1081 on September 21, 1972, placing the Philippines under Martial Law. Some sources say that Marcos signed the proclamation on September 17 or on September 22—but, in either case, the document itself was dated September 21.
March 8, 1980 – Aquino suffered a heart attack in prison. He was transported to the Philippine Heart Center, where he suffered a second heart attack. Doctors determined he needed coronary artery bypass surgery; however, no surgeon wanted to perform the operation out of fear of controversy, and Aquino refused to undergo the procedure in the Philippines out of fear of sabotage by Marcos, indicating he would either go to the United States to undergo the procedure or die in his prison cell.
May 8, 1980 – May 8, 1980, First Lady Imelda Marcos arranged for Aquino and his family to leave for the U.S. He underwent the coronary bypass surgery in Dallas, Texas and met with Muslim leaders in Damascus, Syria, before settling with his family in Newton, Massachusetts.
August 13, 1983 – By 1983, news of the political situation in the Philippines led Aquino to return to his homeland, fully aware of the danger that awaited him.
August 21, 1983; 1:04 PM – Aquino, after flying in a circuitous route from the United States to several Asian cities such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to meet Malaysian Leaders, and then to Hong Kong, boarded a China Airlines plane in Taipei and landed in Manila on August 21, 1983. Prior to his departure from Taipei, Aquino gave an interview from his room at the Grand Hotel in which he indicated that he would be wearing a bulletproof vest. He advised the journalists that would be accompanying him on the flight: “You have to be ready with your hand camera because this action can become very fast. In a matter of 3 or 4 minutes it could be all over, and I may not be able to talk to you again after this.” His last few moments in the flight while being interviewed by the journalist Jim Laurie, and just prior to disembarking from the flight at Manila airport, were recorded on camera. Upon the airplane’s arrival at gate 8, soldiers boarded the airplane to arrest Aquino. The soldiers escorted him off the airplane and onto the jet bridge; however, instead of following the jet bridge to the terminal, they exited the jet bridge down the service staircase onto the apron, where a military vehicle was waiting to bring him to prison. Sometime between his egress from the aircraft and his boarding of the ground vehicle, several gunshots were heard. When the firing stopped, Aquino and a man later identified as Rolando Galman lay dead on the apron, both from gunshot wounds. Aquino’s body was carried into an Aviation Security Command (AVSECOM) van by two AVSECOM SWAT soldiers, while another soldier at the bumper of the van continued to fire shots at Galman. The AVSECOM van sped away, leaving behind the bullet-riddled body of Galman. The subsequent Sandiganbayan ruling later established that Aquino had died before arriving at Fort Bonifacio General Hospital.
August 31, 1983 – The Long Walk to Freedom, That several millions actually turned out for Ninoy’s funeral astonished even the mourners themselves. Aquino’s funeral procession lasted for 12 hours (from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) as millions of people flock the streets to catch a final glimpse at the assassinated senator.
November 3, 1985 – President Marcos announced that a presidential snap election will be held in the following year. A victory would legitimize his prolonged control of the country. The opposition convinces Ninoy’s widow, Corazon “Cory” Aquino, to run against Marcos.
February 7, 1986 – The country’s first elections post-Martial Law was marked with incidents of fraud, vote-buying, intimidation, and violence. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) tally board showed Marcos leading, while the National Citizen’s Movement for the Free Elections (NAMFREL) had Aquino on top. Several sectors, including the church and key military officials, condemned this.
Saturday, February 22, 1986
6:45 PM – Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces of the Philippines Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, two key leaders of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), announced their break from the Marcos camp in a press conference. They also confirmed the massive cheating during the elections, declaring that Cory is the country’s true president.
9:00 PM – Jaime Cardinal Sin goes on air via Radio Veritas and asks the Filipinos to support Enrile and Ramos. Many people, including nuns and priests, went to the section of EDSA between Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo to aid Enrile, Ramos, and their troops.
Sunday, February 23, 1986
1:00 AM – Government troops destroy Radio Veritas’ transmission tower to cut off its broadcasts to the provinces. Despite this, thousands of people still flocked to EDSA to show their support to the rebels.
1:30 PM – Several tanks, manned by a contingent of marines, attempted to make their way to Camp Aguinaldo and Came Crame, but were blocked by the throngs of people on EDSA. Gen. Artemio Tadiar threatens to open fire at them, but the crowd does not budge, responding by praying, singing “Bayan Ko,” and offering soldiers food. The soldiers withdraw peacefully.
3:00 PM – Corazon Aquino asks for Marcos to step down before going into hiding. An armed group of marines are prevented from reaching the camps by groups of people manning makeshift barricades.
6:30 PM – Radio Veritas goes off air. Other radio stations continue to broadcast reports about the ongoing rebellion.
Monday, February 24, 1986
1:00 AM – Word that Marcos is planning an attack on EDSA spreads. People gather again, with nuns and priests leading the formation of human barricades on the streets.
4:00 AM – The United States tells Marcos that “his time is up.” President Ronald Reagan agrees to give Marcos asylum.
5:00 AM – Marcos condemns the EDSA rebellion on air, saying the government will “wipe them out.” His top generals give the go signal for an all-out attack on EDSA. Ramos calls for civilian reinforcement, and rebel soldiers steel themselves for battle.
5:15 AM- Marcos troops enter Camp Aquinaldo and occupy the golf course fronting Camp Crame.
6:00 AM – More soldiers defect to the rebel side.
6:30 AM – Leading radio announcer June Keithley announces that the Marcoses have fled the country along with Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Fabian Ver, one of Marcos’ most loyal henchmen.
9:00 AM – The Marcoses and his generals appear on TV to declare a nationwide state of emergency. His press conference gets cut off the air at 9:50.
4:30 PM – Cory Aquino talks to the crowds on a makeshift stage in front of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency Office on the corner of EDSA and Ortigas Avenues.
6:00 PM – Reagan publicly calls for Marcos’ resignation and endorses Aquino’s provisional government.
8:10 PM – Marcos appeals to loyalists civilians to go to Mendiola and declares a 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM curfew, which no one observes.