Speech of President Corazon Aquino on the Mendiola Bridge Incident

Speech
of
Her Excellency Corazon C. Aquino
President of the Philippines
On the Mendiola Bridge Incident

[Released on January 22, 1987]

DEMOCRACY TESTED

While commiserating with the families of those who died in a bloody confrontation between farmers and the military at Mendiola Bridge, President Aquino orders a thorough and impartial investigation of the incident. She warns the people against those who might seek to exploit the situation and urges them to remain as the government continues its task of restoring democracy.

I am shocked over the bloody incident at Mendiola and deeply saddened at the lives that were lost. I commiserate with the families of the dead. I grieve equally over what this does to the ideals we stood for in the struggle to bring freedom and peace to our land, ideals we continue to cherish.

The persons responsible for this tragedy, whichever side they belong to, will be held to the fullest account. I have ordered a thorough investigation of this bloody incident and for that purpose I am creating an independent, non-governmental body with plenary powers of investigation, to be chaired by Justice Jose Feria. Brig. General Ramon Montano of the Capital Command and Director of the Metropolitan Police Force has made the offer to go on leave during the investigation. I have accepted it.

In the meantime, I urge our people to maintain calm and sobriety. There will be those who will seek to exploit this tragic incident for their own objectives, among which undoubtedly will be to derail our efforts to bring about full democracy in the coming plebiscite.

In the period before the plebiscite, attempts to destabilize the government and defeat our democratic aim will intensify. We are prepared for this contingency. We shall have law and order throughout our land, even as we pursue justice in this case and our larger aim to complete our democratic mission.

Again may I express my deepest condolence to the families of those who died and my grief over this tragedy that has struck our nation.

Source: Presidential Museum and Library