"Cory Aquino was just the beneficiary of the event."
Last Saturday, we had an interesting meeting of the 365 Club via Zoom. Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile started reminiscing about those three fateful days in February 1986 when he, then-PC/INP chief Fidel V. Ramos and then-Col. Gringo Honasan withdrew support for then President Ferdinand E. Marcos. This led to the EDSA People Power Revolution.
JPE told us that the withdrawal of support for Marcos was actually intended as a countermeasure against the plan of the late Chief of Staff Fabian Ver. Enrile said Ver was about to form a military junta, knowing full well that Marcos was very ill.
If and when Marcos died, JPE said, that Ver was ready to launch the junta making the former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos president. That was the reason why the RAM or Reform the Armed Forces Movement was created under Honasan.
During that time, Ver’s two sons (Irwin and Rexor) were strategically in command of Marcos’ security and the armored battalion.
For several months before the EDSA event took place, the RAM under Honasan were already training in Cagayan, Zambales, Ilocos Sur, and even in Metro Manila, JPE said. He told us that a member of the RAM was arrested by the Ver forces, which gave rise to the withdrawal of security forces detailed by Enrile for then Trade and Industry Minister Roberto Ongpin.
JPE was at the Atrium Plaza at that time with us at 365 Club, when Ongpin called him to inform him that his security detail had been withdrawn. I recall that JPE excused himself from the 365 Club and rushed to the Department of Defense headquarters — he was Defense secretary at that time. Enrile then called members of the media, particularly the Western press, to announce that the RAM was withdrawing support from Marcos.
According to JPE, he then called Ramos to tell him what was happening, enjoining the latter to join forces with him. After JPE’s press briefing, he then transferred to Camp Crame to wait for Ramos.
JPE told us that he was ready to die at that time knowing the full consequences of his actions. “I had told my wife and family that as a consequence of my actions it could mean my life,” he said.
The rest of the JPE’s account is already history — when people from civil society, students, and the clergy gathered around Camp Crame. Radio Veritas told the nation that the late Cardinal Sin was enjoining people to go to EDSA.
When I asked JPE why he and his group had to hand power to the late Cory Aquino, who earlier was in Cebu, when it was reported that he himself had formed a junta to take over after Marcos left Malacanang, he told me that he was not too sure and confident that the people would accept the junta. “Since Cory Aquino was then the face of the opposition, we decided to hand power to her,” he said. This led Cory to be sworn in as the new Philippine president at Club Filipino in Greenhills.
With Marcos having left Malacanang the night before and with Cory being sworn in as the new president, more than 500,000 gathered at EDSA in what was romantically called the EDSA People Power Revolution. Actually, it is a misnomer — it was not a real revolution. It was just a change of regime.
Nonetheless, the real story behind the so-called People Power Revolution is now told. The “Yellows” should stop making something of it every year. Santa Banana, Cory Aquino is not the icon of democracy since she was just the beneficiary of EDSA!
When people celebrate EDSA every February, I often wonder: What is there to celebrate?
Media did not give much importance to the visit last week of former Senator Bongbong Marcos and his sister Senator Imee Marcos to Davao City Sara Duterte-Carpio in the occasion of the mayor’s birthday.
I am quite certain that plans for next year’s election were on the agenda.
Bongbong had already indicated his plans to run for President, while Sara, despite clamor for her to run for President, has remained silent.
If Sara decided to run, where will that put Bongbong? That’s the big question in the minds of people. Will Bongbong settle for the vice presidency? The bigger question, however, is whether Sara would settle for the vice presidency. How about plans of the ruling party for Duterte himself as VP?
It has been said that politics is the art of the possible. Will it be Sara-Bongbong or Bongbong-Sara or ever Sara-Digong?
Will President Duterte run for Vice President is another question. I don’t want to speculate on it.
Newly-appointed police Chief Guillermo Eleazar has agreed that the Secretary of Justice should examine police records on extrajudicial killings in connection with President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs. This shows promise for the DOJ to pinpoint accountability.
However, the problem is whether the reported deaths in connection with the illegal drug war is accurate. While police records show that some 5,000 or more have been killed in cases of what the police claim “nanlaban,” or having fought back, unofficial estimates show that some 25,000 have been killed by the police in Duterte's war on drugs.
Nevertheless, what is noteworthy is that some accountability is now on the works of Eleazar as the police chief, something that never happened under past police chiefs. But, my gulay, Eleazar is due for retirement in November. Will the six month time be enough to pin some accountability among the police?
Whatever happens, this is a step in the right direction if only to stop the culture of impunity that has been the hallmark of Duterte’s war on illegal drugs. Eleazar and Justice Secretary Menardo Jimenez will surely get the people’s support in this effort.
What is important, to my mind, is that something must be done to stop the culture of impunity which has been the hallmark of the President’s war on illegal drugs.