Early Demonstrations

Filipinos have been taking to the streets in protest for more than a century. Most of the first street rallies were conducted by laborers and peasants.

  • On May 1, 1903, the Union Obrera Democratica de Filipinas (UODF, known formerly as the Union Obrera Democratica), the first workers’ union in the country, staged a massive rally calling for an eight-hour working day and the recognition of May 1 as a public holiday. Led by Dominador Gomez and attended by over 100,000 people, the rally culminated in the arrest of several members as well as the harassment of workers’ groups in the succeeding months.
  • Street protests began to gain popularity as a method of expressing public discontent in the 1920s due to poverty in the provinces and cities.[1] According to David Sturvenant, the Filipinization of the government did little to change the values of the landed elite.[2] The “paradoxical character of American policy” was enlightened on paper, but insufficient in practice: despite mass education, increased literacy, public health programs, and improvements in transportation, poorly planned economic policies undid them.[3] As such, upward mobility was still very difficult.
  • Racial conflict between Caucasian Americans and Filipinos only exacerbated matters. In January 1930, Filipino workers in Watsonville, California were beaten up by Caucasian workers, resulting in the death of a Filipino lettuce picker. A memorial service at Luneta Park was attended by 15,000 people; the service turned into a protest rally demanding independence from the United States.[4] The following month, students at Manila North High School instigated rallies for the dismissal of Mabel Brummitt, an American teacher who insulted her students. The students invited their parents and other sympathizers to join their cause. Among them was Benigno Ramos, a government employee who would later form the Sakdal (“to accuse”) movement.
  • Benigno Ramos’ Sakdal movement gave the American and FIlipino authorities the most cause for alarm in the 1930s. Through his newspaper Sakdal, Ramos managed to build a large popular base of supporters in Luzon.[5] The movement eventually led to the formation of the Partido Sakdal on October 29, 1933.[6] The Sakdalistas demanded nothing less than “absolute and immediate” independence, the abolition of most taxes, the distribution of land to the poor, the protection of workers’ rights, the nationalization of industries, the close monitoring of politicians,[7] the retention of lawyers for poor defendants, the formation of a 500,000-strong Philippine Army, the use of regional languages in public schools, the investigation of friar estates and ill-gotten Church wealth, and the “adoption of voting machines to prevent election frauds.”[8] At the end of 1931, the movement launched Mapayapang Pagsuway (Peaceful Disobedience), inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent civil disobedience in India. They boycotted foreign goods (particularly American automobiles), refused to pay taxes, pulled their children out of pro-foreign school, and refused to patronize stores owned by “enemies of Independence.”[9] When municipal officials tried to suppress the Sakdalistas in the provinces through police harassment, arrest, and denying their right of free assembly, the Sakdalistas took to the streets in protest. On May 2, 1935, the nonviolent campaign degenerated into an armed conflict with Sakdalistas armed with clubs, bolos, sickles, daggers, old pistols, and homemade guns faced off against Philippine Constabulary units in several towns around Manila.[10] The uprising failed, with at least 60 Sakdalistas dead and 40 injured.[11] With its provincial base fractured, the Sakdal party collapsed.[12]
  • When the Second World War broke out in the Philippines, labor groups like the Kalipunang Pambansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KPMP, National Association of Peasants in the Philippines) and the Aguman ding Maldang Taga-Obra (AMT, Union of Peasant Workers) were among the first organizations to be broken up by the Japanese.[13] Members who managed to evade arrest joined guerilla groups, such as the Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon (The Nation’s Army Against the Japanese, HUKBALAHAP).[14]

Political Protest in the Third Republic

After World War II, protest movements–mostly peasant and workers’ unions–re-emerged. Most of the local movements were affiliated with the Pambansang Kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid (PKM, National Peasant Union).[15]

  • In September 1945, just a month after the Japanese surrendered, some 50,000 farmers and laborers staged a protest march to Malacañang. The protesters demanded better conditions for workers, the release of their leaders who were imprisoned shortly after the war’s end, and a 60-40 sharing system in the provinces. Although  President Sergio Osmeña managed to address some of their demands, pro-landlord militant groups, known as “Civilian Guards,” also formed during this time, routinely harassing peasants and committing acts of violence against rural women.[16]
  • The Lapiang Malaya, which David Sturvenant described as “a 40,000-member organization much given to ornate uniforms, patriotic posturing, and martial Rizal Day rallies,”[17] was one of the most prominent protest groups of the period. It was formed in the 1940s by Bicolano Valentin de los Santos, whose authority and magnetism rose from both secular and religious claims: first, as the inventor of automobile turn signals, then as a medium who communicated regularly with the Deity and dead Filipino heroes.[18] Early in May 1967, de los Santos called on President Ferdinand Marcos to resign so a Lapiang Malaya government could take over. By May 20, more than 500 members were gathered at Lapiang Malaya’s headquarters along Taft Avenue in Pasay City,[19] supposedly to participate in a parade-demonstration.[20] The Philippine Constabulary (PC) repeatedly attempted to break up the assembly, but eventually tensions rose to the point of violence. In what The Manila Times referred to as “Bloody Sunday,”[21] 32 bolo-wielding members were slaughtered by PC troops armed with rifles.[22] Three hundred fifty-eight more were arrested and taken by the PC to Camp Crame in Quezon City.[23] In an attempt to stave off criticism that it had overreacted, the PC came out with a series dubious of intelligence reports linking the sect to the communists. Eventually, popular interest died down, taking Lapiang Malaya with it.[24] Lewis Gleeck Jr. noted that “no Filipino official ever accepted responsibility for failure or errors, let alone resigned as a result of disasters suffered under his command.”[25]
  • Lewis Gleeck Jr.: “Conventionally judged, the area of human rights was at its maximum during the first Marcos administration. The press was licentiously free, demonstrations were frequent, the enemies of the administration were not only not in jail, but were totally uninhibited in their attacks on the government. The churches were also under vigorous attack by their critics. The civil libertarisms were in fact having a field day. On the other hand, government was ineffective, the ordinary citizen was sometimes intimidated, frequently inconvenienced and at times deprived of his daily wage by demonstrators or strikers.”[26]

Student Protests in the Third Republic

Students would would also participate in demonstrations, but not until the late 1960s. According to Quirico Samonte, this political passivity was cultivated by the prevailing political culture then; the marked conservativism of the era, itself bolstered by Filipino values; as well as an education system that strongly promoted harmony between the citizenry and the government, especially considering that the latter signed on 15,000 new hires every year.[27]

  • Petronilo Daroy: “The 60s saw the resurgence of nationalism in the campuses as the students questioned  the roots of society’s problems. Inspired by the ideas of Claro M. Recto, the great Filipino nationalist who had been branded by the Americans as a ‘communist’, the students focused on the burning issues of the day, among them the military bases agreements, the parity rights and the Vietnam war. The latter was linked to the sending of a Philcag team in Vietnam which many viewed as involvement in a U.S. war of aggression against the Vietnamese people. It was the Vietnam war, then the raging issue worldwide which crystallized the nature of U.S. imperialism to many Filipino students due to the blatant use of the U.S. military bases in the Philippines as staging ground for attacks in Vietnam.”[28]
  • Eva-Lotta Hedman and John Sidel: “In addition to such prominent evidence of an expanding lumpen proletariat of sorts in the midst of downtown Manila, large numbers of the city’s youths from lower- and lower-middle class backgrounds, including working students, also crowded the Avenida during weekdays from the many private colleges and vocational schools in the area. A world apart from the country’s leading public and private schools–like the (secular) University of the Philippines (U.P.) and the (Catholic) Ateneo and La Salle–the so-called ‘diploma mills’ in the downtown area showed marked growth in their numbers as well as enrolment figures beginning in the 1960s. As the demand for formal qualifications and accreditation increased on the urban employment market, privately-run specialist colleges and technical institutes packed unprecedented numbers of fee-paying students into overcrowded and sometimes seriously dilapidated classrooms and even condemned buildings in downtown Manila. For example, the Philippine College of Commerce counted among its rapidly growing student population ‘mostly children of the lowest-income groups–laborers, janitors, carpenters, even laundrywomen’.”[29]
  • Petronilo Daroy: “Sectarian schools on the other hand,  followed a different pattern of politicization. Student activism took the form of criticisms of the church policies which were considered insensitive to the plight of the poor peasants particularly in Bicol, Negros, and Cavite. Vatican II reforms became the focal point for the questioning of the orientation of the church. The youth arm of the Federation of Filipino Farmers, Khi Rho Movement composed of seminarians and priests in cooperation with students from Ateneo University, San Beda, La Salle and Holy Spirit were particularly active in pressuring the church for reforms through pickets and marathon demonstrations. It was inevitable that the issue of Filipinization of the school administration in these Catholic institutions would also be raised along with demands for social change.”[30]
  • Eva-Lotta Hedman and John Sidel: “. . . it is perhaps not surprising that the ‘diploma mills’ emerged as the new center of student activism by the end of the decade. As noted by contemporary observers, such activism seemed to intensify and spread beyond individual campuses as school administrations not only failed to respond to demands for the reduction and itemisation of tuition and fees, the abolition of centralised control over student organizations and papers, but also sought to contain such issues by suspending or otherwise punishing individual students for breaking with college rules and regulations. Perhaps the very conditions associated with these ‘diploma mills’, where children of the labouring classes saw their aspirations to social respectability exploited in the factory-like, profit-driven mass production of college graduates, served to undermine such attempts to single out individual students for disciplinary measures and to invoke absolute administrative discretion over academic issues and campus life alike. In any event, rather than submitting to the terms outlined by college administrations with regard to proper conduct and, ultimately, private property, students challenged them, collectively and publicly, by picketing campuses, marching in the streets of Manila, and demonstrating outside Congress in the late 1960s. Whilst this wave of student activism focused but brief attention on ‘dialogue’ and ‘reform’ at the top of college administrations as well as national government, it also left behind a battle-scarred downtown area where buildings with broken and boarded-up windows remained a powerful testimony to the moment of struggle, thus recalling fragments of collective memory from the amnesia of history through lived experience itself.”[31]
  • Petronilo Daroy: “What came to be regarded as reform movements in school revolved around the issues of lowering of tuition fee increases, improvement of educational facilities, reaction against terror teachers and the like. Spearheaded by the Lyceum University students, other universities and colleges nationwide like U.P., Araneta University, Arellano University, University of Santo Tomas, Philippine College of Criminology, Holy Angels College (Angeles City), West Negros Colleges (Negros) and Wesleyan College (Nueva Ecija) were similarly swept with the torrent of student activism. Both the reformist and radical streams in student organizations were conscious of the need to integrate with the basic masses–the peasants, the workers and the urban poor in effecting social transformation. It became quite an acceptable practice for students to drop out of school in order to be fulltime in ‘mass work.’ Activism, which sometimes translated itself into anti-intellectualism meant not just opposition to certain particular issues but a complete rejection of the ‘establishment’ in favor of a counter-culture that was non-elitist and mass-oriented. ‘Learning from the people drives’ to integrate with the peasants in the provinces and joining strikes and picket lines in the factories to sympathize with the workers were some of the typical activities students and many out-of-school youth engaged in. This orientation was in sharp contrast with that of the student leaders of the 50s who regarded campus politics as a preparation for a career in traditional national politics. The articulation of issues of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism by the students of the 70s moreover, infused a more critical examination of Philippine political and economic problems.”[32]
  • Eva-Lotta Hedman and John Sidel: “With the mounting political activism that swept Manila campuses during this decade, students increasingly left their classrooms throughout the University belt not only to shop for food, movies or school supplies but to join in the mass demonstrations that filed through or converged upon downtown. As students (and some faculty), workers and peasants alike–and sometimes, together–launched new radical organisations and engaged in concerted collective campaigns during the course of the decade, Plaza Miranda–the ‘crossroads of the nation’–became a familiar destination not just for Nazareno devotees, downmarket clients, and during election years, political candidates, but also for mass activists–as well as the Metropolitan Anti-Riot squads organised for the occasion.[33]
  • Gregg Jones: “In the late 1960s, [Jose Ma.] Sison had written a widely read essay entitled ‘Student Power?’ in which he contended that only by building a movement that attracted the peasants and ‘working masses’ would students ever attain meaningful political power. As the radical study groups in Manila grew larger, they became known as ‘teach-ins,’ after the antiwar movement gatherings being held on U.S. campuses. In the Philippines, the teach-ins fostered lively discussions about the Vietnam War, U.S. military bases, U.S.-Philippine relations, Marx, and Mao. At UP, the teach-ins produced such future leaders of the Communist Party as Rafael Baylosis, CPP secretary-general at the time of his capture in early 1988, and José Luneta, who by 1989 was the only founding Central Committee member still active in the Party leadership in the Philippines. Sison’s patient attention to the student movement had begun to pay big dividends by 1969 as radical activists held regular demonstrations denouncing U.S. imperialism, its local ‘puppet,’ Ferdinand Marcos, the Vietnam War, and U.S. military bases. Commander Dante’s [Bernabe Buscayno’s] young face, lean face began appearing on the posters that radical students carried, and crowds echoed with chants of ‘Dante for president
  • Petronilo Daroy: “Manila had been experiencing a series of public demonstrations since the violent dispersal of an anti-Vietnam war rally outside the Manila Hotel on October 24, 1967 and the visit of Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson in Manila to attend the Manila Summit Conference. Shouting, ‘Yankee, go home!’ and ‘Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?’ the students were forcibly dispersed with truncheons resulting in injuries and several arrests. The event which was well-publicized marked the initial use of police brutality against the demonstrations which were to intensify in the 70s. It also began the start of open denunciation against men in uniform.”[34]
  • Lewis Gleeck Jr.: “When [Salvador P.] Lopez, a senior Filipino diplomat, was appointed U.P. president, student militance was about to boil over in violence. This was a dangerous coincidence, as Lopez’s sympathies were with the students, and sensing their opportunity, they began by making demands on internal university matters which quickly escalated to include outside political objectives. As related in the university’s official history, President Marcos intervened in the dispute at an early stage. On February 4, 1969 he arrived at the campus to discuss student grievances, agreeing to release funds for the Philippine General Hospital, the National Research Council and Mass Communication buildings and for retirees, as well as a substantial increase in U.P. operational expenses. . . . Before the year ended, the students provoked a bloody confrontation with the police forces when Vice President Agnew visited Manila on December 29 to attend the Marcos Inaugural in 1969.”[35]

The First Quarter Storm

According to Manuel L. Quezon III, the election year 1969 “was the year in which protesting in the style of the civil rights movement in the United States—peaceful, nonviolent, reformist—gave way to more militant protests and bluntly revolutionary aspirations among the youth, along with the flag hoisted with the red field up.”[36] Lewis Gleeck Jr. adds that “it seemed a game at which all–media, church, politicians, businessmen, students and perhaps even the President–could play. From 1969 to 1972, as it would ten years later, it was chic to make revolutionary pronouncements and to parade in demonstrations.”[37]

  • Gregg Jones: “Against the backdrop of worsening political turmoil, in November 1969 Marcos became the first Philippine president ever to win reelection, in the most violent and fraudulent campaign the country had ever seen. The radical students, already disdainful of a political system dominated by elitist, ideologically indistinguishable parties, reacted to Marcos’ tainted reelection with a vengeance. Student unrest peaked in January 1970 with the outbreak of three months of violent demonstrations that would become known as the First Quarter Storm. By spring, many of the students had graduated from attending teach-ins to conducting them in the slums and working-class neighborhoods of Manila.”[38]
  • Petronilo Daroy: “By 1970, demonstrations and street marches by militant student organizations which had by then achieved a high level of organization and commitment from its followers had become common occurrences. These demonstrations increasingly involved other sectors as well. Busloads of farmers from Laguna and the rice-producing provinces of Central Luzon would come to Manila to reinforce the throngs of students, young professionals, and workers from the city who marched in the streets. These rallies would inevitably wind up at the U.S. embassy or the famous Plaza Miranda in front of the old Quiapo parish church, where the demonstrators would deliver angry speeches. The Plaza was the traditional venue for public manifestations; it was the counterpart in Manila of the Mall in Washington, D.C. and Hyde Park in London.”[39]
  • Gregg Jones: “Marcos’ accusations that the communists were responsible for the demonstrations in Manila from the late 1960s until the declaration of martial law in 1972 raises the question of how much, in fact, Sison and the Communist Party did orchestrate or control the protests. Some scholars have  argued that ideology played little role in the protests, that the demonstrators were merely voicing discontent with long unattended social ills and the increasingly corrupt rule of Marcos or even mimicking student demonstrations that were sweeping the United States and Europe. Many of the participants in the demonstrations were motivated by a combination of these reasons. Marcos undeniably manipulated the turmoil for his political gain by using the communist guerrilla movement as a political prop to be trotted out on stage when it suited his needs and ambitions.”[40]
  • Lewis Gleeck Jr.: “Nonetheless, the revolutionary cadres were growing: indoctrination was going on, whether among landless laborers or tenants in the field or among students in classroom teach-ins; radical organizations were being developed with a varied ideological orientation which could be used in United Front tactics; experience in conflict was being gained, from street marches to fire fights, with tactical exercises in violence screened by peaceful demonstrations; media support intended to paralyze government resistance, especially to student violence, was growing. Whatever the increase in the strength of the true revolutionaries, there was a visible growth in the power of radical student organizations and of radical orientation in the media–particularly the Manila Times, the Manila Chronicle, and the Philippines Free Press, whose close ties to the radicals were much more valuable to the revolutionaries than magazines like the Graphic, long identified as a radical or revolutionary organ. There was a comparable growth in the influence of radically-oriented labor groups, such as the jeepney drivers, with their well-motivated hostility toward the police mulcters, whom they saw as military agents of authority.”[41]

Profiles: Student Movements in the First Quarter Storm

  1. Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines (SCAUP)
  • Mila Astorga-Garcia: “That the present temper of student activism in the Philippines can be traced, somehow or other, to the Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines (SCAUP) could hardly be considered an exaggeration. In the UP, long considered to be the seat of student activism, the SCAUP is recognized as the oldest and one of the major progressive student organizations.”[42]
  • Mila Astorga-Garcia: “Luzvimindo David, President of the SCAUP, says, ‘Since membership of the organization is limited within the UP, the only thing the members could do is to propagate ideas of national democracy within the UP’. That may well be the case, but the history of the SCAUP actually provides a background to student activism even outside the UP. In 1961, the SCAUP was founded in the wake of and in reaction to the CUFA [Committee on Un-Filipino Activities] witch-hunt of the late 50’s, as well as to counter the sectarian stranglehold on the UP. It discussed and propagate liberal ideas on campus at a time (as the ‘old-times’ in the university relate) when dissent was conducted in whispers. It was then a ‘non-partisan and non-sectarian’ organization.”[43]
  • Largely as a result of the Vietnam war, the SCAUP in 1965-1968, started to assume an internationalist outlook, shunning the narrow, chauvinistic concept of nationalism. During this period, it participated actively in anti-Vietnam war demonstrations and protests against the iniquitous ‘special relations’ between the Philippines and the United States. 1969, the year of student activism that saw Manila’s schools shaken by student strikes, also saw the transformation of the SCAUP from a ‘non-sectarian and non-partisan’ nationalist organization into a partisan national democratic organization ‘partisan to the interest of the Filipino masses.’ This is clearly seen and is declared in the Activist, the official publication of the SCAUP. The Activist is ‘guided by the ideology of national democracy.’ It ‘takes the progressive revolutionary stand in any issue’ and ‘refuses to engage in the empty rhetorics of frightened liberal intellectuals’. Having taken a definite stand for national democracy, the SCAUP now emphasizes the integration of the students with the workers and peasants.”[44]
  1. Kabataang Makabayan (KM)
  • Mila Astorga-Garcia: “Kabataang Makabayan is a name that has become synonymous to militant youth activism in Philippine setting. And no history of youth activism in the country can be written without making accreditation to the contribution of the KM in the national democratic movement. This is so because the KM has consistently stood for national-democratic ideals and militantly pursued them through democratic mass actions.”[45]
  • When the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) was founded in 1930, party leadership were suspicious of the student sector because the latter were members of the petite-bourgeoisie and thus could not be relied upon for a proletariat revolution.[46]
  • Patricio Abinales: “It was only in the 1960s, when self-taught Marxists spearheaded an anti-clerical and nationalist campaign at the University of the Philippines (UP) that the PKP gave due importance to the studentry. The Party, which decided to leave its self-imposed political limbo after the Huk debacle, could not ignore the growing influence of these university-based radicals who apparently were able to revive nationalist sentiments in the UP and even draw national attention to their anti-obscurantist resistance in the halls of Philippine legislative bodies through such organizations as the Student Cultural Association of UP (SCAUP). The radicals who were eventually brought into the Party’s fold were charged with the task of forming the Party’s student mass organization. On November 30, 1964, the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) was formed by these radicals).”[47]
  • Mila Astorga-Garcia: “Since its founding, the KM has staged demonstrations, seminars and teach-ins aimed at clarifying to the people the present state of Philippine society—which it calls semi-feudal and semi-colonial. The KM believes that the Filipino people are suffering and the country is backward because there is a monopoly of political and economic power concentrated in the hands of the big landlords, comprador class and big bourgeoisie and on top of them is a foreign power—US imperialism. The KM aims to break this monopoly of power by allying with workers, peasants, progressive intellectuals, professionals and the nationalist bourgeoisie in an effort to arouse and mobilize the masses towards the attainment of national freedom and democracy. This outlook, more than anything else, explains the persistent anti-American imperialist and anti-landlord tone in the programme, pronouncements and protest mass actions of the KM. This explains why it is for the scrapping of the parity, the abrogation of the Laurel-Langley, bases treaty, military assistance treaty, mutual defense treaty—in short, the elimination of RP-US ‘special relations.’ The KM stand on these and other important national issues have always been pursued by its members with a militance no other youth organization has equalled. That is why the military has long ago started a hate-KM campaign that has been equally militant, although oftentimes ridiculous and silly. Whenever violence erupts in a demonstration participated in by the KM, the military authorities are quick in pinpointing the KM as the instigator of violence. Several times has it also been singled out by witch-hunters and downright reactionary officials as ‘communist-inspired,’ etc., in an effort to isolate the KM from the people and totally discredit it as a national democratic youth organization. But these efforts, according to KM leaders, have fallen flat in the face of these accusers because the KM instead of being isolated had increased its members and mass following. Official listing of membership has reached the 12,000 mark the bulk of which come from the rural areas and factories. Mass following is estimated at 30,000 the bulk of which also come from the rural areas and factories. The KM maintains chapters in schools, offices, factories and city and rural community areas.”[48]
  1. Movement for Democratic Philippines (MDP)
  • Nancy Lu: “The Movement for Democratic Philippines was born out of a decision to sustain the move to democratize the system in the country shortly after the last national election. At that time there was a nationwide protest against election frauds and terrorism. The UP Student Council boycotted classes to dramatize the issue. Nationalist democratic in orientation, the MDP group was formally organized November 20, 1969. Different schools, reform movements, and school organizations were invited to join the MDP whose aims include basic land reform, nationalist industrialization, and militant protection of the seven liberties of the people. The MDP leaders tried to forge a united front of all the progressive organizations in the society— the students, the youth, the peasants, and the workers. The organization is run ‘not so much as a hierarchy with authority, but by consensus.’ The MDP sponsored major rallies including the one in front of the US embassy against Agnew as well as the one in front of Congress and Malacañang last January 30.”[49]
  1. Student Power Assembly of the Philippines (SPAP)
  • Nancy Lu: “At the height of student demonstrations in February, 1969, some members of the UP Student Council called on the student leaders all over the country. Together they organized the First National Conference on Student Power for National Democracy. Aware of the ascendancy of student power in the Philippines, the student leaders became very enthusiastic about forming a national organization that would more or less coordinate or consolidate the different activist organizations in the schools. On March 9, 1969, they formally ratified the general declaration which they called the Diliman Declaration. Since then they have adopted the campus as the initial battlefront. They also went beyond the campus by demonstrating against the fundamental issues concerning the ills afflicting the nation. They participated actively in the Boycott-the-Election movement. They also took interest in other major issues.”[50]
  1. Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK)
  • Millet G. Martinez: “Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan is another national-democratic organization whose following comes from young students, farmers, workers, intellectuals and professionals. From a handful of progressive-minded students and instructors of the University of the Philippines who founded the SDK, it has spread to other schools and in the rural areas, notably University of the East, Lyceum of the Philippines and the provinces of Rizal and Nueva Ecija. SDK was formed as an offshoot of an internal conflict in the leadership of Kabataang Makabayan. It is said that those who formed the first batch of SDK leaders were disgruntled KM elements who were expelled for anti-KM activities. These elements conducted a systematic campaign to discredit the KM leadership to such extent that the KM leaders were constrained to expell [sic] them from the organization. The founding of SDK in 1968 was followed by a rash of activities and recruitment motivated by a desire to put up a militant youth organization with the calibre of the KM. The UP campus was witness to this. Almost all protest actions in the UP during that time saw the SDK participation. It put out manifestoes on the UP Administration, Dow Chemicals, Vietnam demonstrations, Los Baños unrest and the February UP strike of students, faculty and non-academic workers. In all of these, SDK seemed to be bent on driving the KM from the national democratic movement.”[51]
  1. Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation (BRPF)
  • Millet G. Martinez: “As its international symbol denotes, the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation (BRPF) is concerned with the quest for peace. But its struggle for peace is quite different from the pacifist approach of passive resistance. The BRPF Philippine Council is a nationalist organization dedicated to a struggle against monopolistic capitalism, imperialism and feudalism. Founded in May 1965, it is part of the international BRPF established in 1963 under the leadership of Lord Russell. However, the BRPF Philippine Council exists as an autonomous body, free to formulate its program of action without consultation with its London office. Composed of about 600 professionals, students, peasant leaders and barrio school teachers, the BRPF’s main function is to help mass organizations in their educational program, for the purpose of evating the political and social awareness of the people, particularly the oppressed masses. It is presently headed by Professor Hernando Abaya of the University of the Philippines.”[52]
  • Millet G. Martinez: “‘The BRPF is anti-war and at the same time a socialist organization in the sense that it is opposed to monopolistic capitalism,’ Francisco Nemenzo Jr., past BRPF chairman, explains. The BRPF vehemently denounces US aggression in Vietnam as a grave threat to world peace. It has consistently voiced out its protest against the Laurel-Langley and the American bases agreement.”
  • Millet G. Martinez: “Nemenzo explains that the concept of ‘student power’ is misleading and divisive. Instead, he advocates a ‘People’s Power,’ composed of the mass action of students together with peasants and laborers. ‘Students alone cannot effectively bring change unless they unite with workers in their joint struggle for real democracy,’ he says. The BRPF has specially been active in agitating for the release of the political prisoners. So far, about 28 prisoners have been released, and the BRPF continues to help release more. The BRPF is also actively involved in supporting labor strikes, as those staged by Pantranco, SSS, New Frontier workers, to whom they gave assistance recently. Liling Magtolis, head of the BRPF Cultural Bureau, explains that the BRPF also composes songs which reveal the plight of oppressed workers. She states that these songs have been presented before labor strikers.”[53]
  1. Malayang Pagkakaisa ng Kabataang Pilipino (MPKP)
  • Millet G. Martinez: “An allied but entirely different organization is the Malayang Pagkakaisa ng Kabataang Pilipino (MPKP), composed of some 1,000 members, 80% of which are peasants and workers. Ruben Torres, MPKP president, explains that the MPKP is a movement for national democracy, with special emphasis on helping peasants. ‘The land reform program is not the genuine code which peasants are asking for. It has plenty of loopholes which lead to more oppressing conditions for the peasants.’”[54]
  1. National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP)
  • The single biggest student union in the country in 1970
  • Ateneo’s Edgar Jopson is the head of the organization
  • Recah Trinidad: “NUSP was born out of dissension 13 years ago. The largest union of students in the country was founded by student leaders who seceded from the now-defunct Student Council’s Association of the Philippines (SCAP). An NUSP official record listed many factors that led to the secession: ‘The SCAP recognized proxy voting, thus leadership was controlled by professional student leaders. These leaders promised votes to politicians, subjecting the SCAP to political pressures and silencing student opinion upon the dictates of the politicians.’ But is NUSP, which ultimately blossomed into an influential force with its 72 member-schools and some 400,000 student following, itself free from political pressure?”[55]
  1. Young Christian Socialists Movement (CSM)
  • Nancy Lu: “‘We there the first to demonstrate for a non-partisan constitutional convention,’ pointed out Benjamin G. Maynigo, secretary-general of the Young Christian Socialists Movement (CSM).”[56]
  • Organized in September 1967
  • Nancy Lu: “‘What is wrong in our society is the unbalanced social structure,’ noted Maynigo of San Beda College. ‘We are for change in the society. For the reason we are against conservatism. We are against conservative people including certain members of the clergy because with conservative people in the coming constitutional convention, for instance, we may be brought back to the very same system we are trying to change,’ he continued. Maynigo defined the target enemies of his nationalist group to include present oligarchs, government officials, and imperialists. To make sure the sincere, hardworking, and committed legislators speak the people’s will the CSM has organized the ‘Project Vigilante.’ The young ‘vigilantes’ are assigned to keep an eye on the congressmen and senators when they are supposed to be working. Their presence is conspicuous because the CSM does not want the members of Congress to make a mockery or farce out of the whole project.”[57]
  • Nancy Lu: “The CSM boasts of a nationwide membership which is 200,000 strong. This includes some 20,000 YCSP members coming from almost all schools. The CSM projects are funded by contributions from CSM members mainly. With communitarian socialism or ‘bayanihan’ as their ideology, the CSM members seek to introduce change in the social order.”
  1. National Students League (NSL)
  • Bibsy Carballo: “Even as a brewing rift within its ranks initiated by the UP group threatens to split the National Students League, the organization together with the National Union of Students of the Philippines, has been catapulted into the forefront of student activism as a proponent of non-violence in its demands for change. Organized in 1963, the NSL is composed of 23 state colleges and universities and government-owned institutions. It seeks to look after the welfare of students in the institutions but a primary objective is the seeking of change through revolutionary but peaceful means. Before the January 26 and 30 debacles, the NSL led a four-day sit-down rally in front of Malacañang which resulted in the acceptance of 90 per cent of its demands, which proves, acting president Portia Ilagan says, ‘that peaceful means are more effective than violence.’ Deploring the violence of January 30, the 18-year-old sophomore BSEE major at the Philippine Normal College observed that ‘if your methods are peaceful you can think of so many ways to gain acceptance while if you are violent there is only one road open.’”[58]
  • Bibsy Carballo: “Primary in the agenda of the NSL is the assurance of a non-partisan constitutional convention which is to be achieved through politicizing the students and the people by means of seminars and teach-ins to which leaders are sent.”[59]

Major Demonstrations during the First Quarter Storm

  1. Rally for a non-partisan Constitutional Convention (January 26, 1970)
  • Gregg Jones: “The First Quarter Storm began on January 26, 1970, when Marcos and his flamboyant wife, Imelda, stepped outside the Congress building in downtown Manila following the president’s delivery of his state of the nation address. A raucous crowd of 20,000 radical students, workers, and peasants jeered the shaken president and first lady and hurled rocks and bottles at their car. Afterward, police scattered the mob with batons.”[60]
  • Petronilo Daroy: “On January 26, 1970, the newly re-elected President Marcos was to deliver his State of the Nation address in Congress where he was expected to talk about the Constitutional Convention in 1971. All sectors of Philippine society were thus interested in influencing it including the church which issued its own position paper. In preparation for the opening session, Edgar Jopson of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) issued a manifesto entitled ‘Isang Panawagan Para sa Convencion Constitucional na Walang Pakialam ang mga Partidong Politico’ (A Call for a Constitutional Convention Without Interference from Political Parties). It was endorsed by several student groups, mostly from Catholic schools and universities, such as the Pambansang Samahan ng Mga Mag-aaral sa Pilipinas (National Union of Students of the Philippines), the National Youth Constitutional Convention Movement and the National Union of High School Students. Labor groups like the National Association of Trade Unions and the Malayang Samahang Magsasaka (Free Union of Peasants) were also present. The NUSP applied for a permit to hold a rally in the vicinity of Congress and at the same time issued a public invitation to other groups. The response was tremendous: the KM, SDK, MPKP, and the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation agreed to join the NUSP. Little did they know that they were walking into a death trap.”[61]
  • Petronilo Daroy: “. . . as early as January 19, the Manila Police Department and the PC Metrocom elements met in Malacañang to map out security measures for the inevitably turned into clashes with the police and the Metrocom and efforts at dispersal resulted in injuries to many. The military and the police claimed that demonstrators were armed; the truth was it was often the civilians who were injured and none of the military and police elements. At the Malacañang conference, Operation Plan (Oplan) ‘Payapa’ was discussed and adopted. It called for the involvement of the MPD, the Metrocom Central Sector, the Metrocom Reaction Strike Force, the Presidential Security Agents, Metrocom Reaction Strike Force, Metrocom Sub-task Force Reserve, GHQ Reserve, and the Manila Fire Department Unit. On January 23, the Manila police department formally drew up Oplan ‘Bagong Buhay’ which would entail the services of 21 officers and 447 patrolmen to handle crowd control both at Malacañang and in the Congress premises to complement Oplan ‘Payapa’. Following the plan both the crowd control groups and the anti-riot groups were provided with crash helmets and truncheons. The Metrocom troopers armed themselves with truncheons, wicker shields and helmets. When the January 26 demonstrators arrived at the Congress building, they found the premises and the building itself already saturated with uniformed men; the south stairway by seven men; the parking area in front of Congress by sixty-five rookies, and the area around the flagpole across which the demonstrations converged and held their own ‘congress,’ by ten regular policemen. Reserve units were stationed at the Agrifina Circle (around 200 meters from Congress), while at City Hall, also close to Congress, two platoons of about 60 to 70 Metrocom troopers were deployed. Confronted by uniform men in battle gear, the students broke out into chants denouncing the military budget.”[62]
  • Petronilo Daroy: “Amid the blare of the public address system installed in Congress and surrounded by the military and the police, the rally initially went on peacefully. The speakers alternately denounced the ‘system’ and were unanimous in emphasizing the need for change, although different representatives of each organization had their own version of how to achieve that change. The Rightists diagnosed the system as heavily dominated by corrupt politicians. Hence, the call for a constitutional convention that would be independent of political interference.”[63]
  • Petronilo Daroy: “It was when the demonstrators began pushing towards the Marcoses that Col. Jasmin gave the order to a platoon of reaction strike forces to push them back. They were joined by riot policemen who rushed down the driveway of Congress towards the street where the demonstrators were. Stones, pop bottles, wooden frames, and other projectiles flew. Pillboxes exploded. The onrushing riot policemen and troopers went on swinging their truncheons, whacking at demonstrators who came near. At the investigation subsequently conducted by a Senate special committee after the bloody demonstration, Sen. Emmanuel Pelaez testified that upon seeing the melee he asked a certain Paralejas to withdraw his troops but the latter told him he could not do so without an order from the MPD chief of police. On the other hand, Col. Tamayo told Pelaez that he could not withdraw his policemen because doing so would be construed as abandonment of duty. Several policemen, Pelaez noted, had no name plates. As the turbulence continued, he said he appealed to both the crowd and the policemen to desist from committing violent acts but his plea went unheeded. At one point, he said, he had to embrace a young student to prevent several policemen from further him with truncheons.”[64]
  • Petronilo Daroy: “Sen. Jose Roy was attacked by demonstrators as he arrived in his car. Riot policemen came to his aid and chased demonstrators, some of whom sought refuge in a slow-moving jeepney filled with female students. Several policemen swooped down on the jeepney, indiscriminately hitting those lying on the ground, pulling out those who had gone inside the jeepney, and poking their batons at those who could not be flushed out. When the riot was finally quelled, the injured numbered about 47 officers and men of the Metrocom and 38 demonstrators.”[65]
  • Primitivo Mijares: “In his ‘State of the Nation’ address before a joint session of Congress in January, 1970, he boasted about the improved peace and order situation, while he warned that the general situation was like a ‘social volcano’ that was about to erupt. The ‘volcano’ virtually erupted on the faces of Marcos and his wife on January 26, 1970, minutes after his speech before Congress. Demonstrators, egged by agitators, and harassed by the Constabulary riot control troopers, threw their placards at the President and the First Lady, missing them by a hair-breadth as they prepared to enter their limousine.”[66]
  • Patricio Abinales and Donna Amoroso: “Exiting through the front door, Marcos and his wife were pelted with stones and confronted with placards and an effigy of a coffin symbolizing the death of democracy. Police and presidential security forces responded by beating students with truncheons.”[67]
  • Raymond Bonner: “The mob pelted them with a papier-mâché replica of a crocodile, rocks, and bottles. It was a shocking occurrence, the first time since independence that a Filipino leader, let alone the president, had been so disgraced.”[68]
  • Petronilo Daroy: “Television brought the violence outside Congress to living rooms across the nation. The next day, the University of the Philippines and the Philippine College of Commerce convoked meetings of their faculties to protest the ‘police brutality’ of January 26. At these meetings, some members proposed mass resignation.”[69]
  • Manuel L. Quezon III: “The moderates tried to pacify by means of speeches the radicals, among them the Maoist Kabataang Makabayan. But the radicals, as Lacaba reports, were “spoiling for trouble” with the cops and were “in no mood for dinner-party chatter and elocution contests.” From the battleground that was the vicinity of the Legislative Building on Burgos, the demonstrations that now launched the First Quarter Storm moved on to the premises of Malacañang, after a relative lull of three days in which student groups still took to the streets to denounce the government.”[70]
  1. Battle of Mendiola (January 30, 1970)
  • Gregg Jones: “Four days [after the January 26 rally], thousands of chanting demonstrators marched to the palace, where they commandeered a fire truck and rammed through the main gate. The mob spilled onto the palace grounds burning automobiles and cheering. Soldiers and police beat the demonstrators back with tear gas and truncheons, but six demonstrators were shot to death and several others wounded in sporadic clashes that continued late into the night outside the palace near Mendiola Bridge.”[71]
  • Eva-Lotta Hedman and John Sidel: “. . . student and other radical protesters fought military and police forces for hours over this bridge separating the area surrounding the presidential palace from the heart of downtown where the battle then continued to rage throughout the night. Whilst government troops had regained control over Mendiola and J.P. Laurel Street by nine o’clock in the evening, according to the foremost contemporary chronicler of the First Quarter Storm [Jose F. Lacaba], they failed to clear in similar fashion the streets of M. Aguila, Legarda and Claro M. Recto and in Quiapo from demonstrators who ‘found doors being opened to them, or people at second-floor windows warning them with gestures about the presence of soldiers in alleys’. Such manifestations of support for the demonstrators from among the broader downtown population stood in sharp contrast to the reactions by many of those living in the walled and guarded enclosures of suburban exclusive so-called ‘villages’ . . .”[72]
  • Raymond Bonner: “. . . demonstrators marched across Mendiola Bridge and tried to storm Malacañang, in front of which the protesters then burned candles near a realistic coffin, mourning the death of democracy. The violence escalated. During a daylong demonstration that began with a march and ended with a mock trial of President and Mrs. Marcos and the United States, a twenty-three-year-old university student was shot in the head.”[73]
  • Primitivo Mijares: “. . . the demos tried to ram with a firetruck commandeered from Manila firemen preparing to ‘shoot’ at them with water hoses. What followed was the so-called ‘Battle of Mendiola’ which pitted young boys and girls, armed with bamboo sticks and stones, facing Armalite-wielding ‘shock troops’ of Marcos from the Presidential Guard Battalion. It was a massacre.”[74]
  • Ferdinand Marcos: “. . . demonstrators numbering about 10,000 students and laborers stormed Malacañang Palace, burning part of the medical building, crashing through Gate 4 with a fire truck that had been forcibly commandeered by some laborers and students amidst shouts of ‘Mabuhay Dante!’ and slogans from Mao-Tse-Tung, the new Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army. The rioters sought to enter Malacañang but the Metropolitan Command (METROCOM) of the Philippine Constabulary and the Presidential Guards repulsed them towards Mendiola Bridge, where in an exchange of gunfire, hours later, four persons were killed and scores from both sides injured. The crowd was finally dispersed by tear gas grenades.”[75]
  • Petronilo Daroy: “In the entire area near the Palace called the University belt, street fighting continued late into the night. A dreaded paramilitary unit called the Monkees was called in from Tarlac. To flush out the demonstrators, the police gassed the entire University belt. Activists sought refuge in boarding houses and from windows, while throwing pillboxes and bottles at the military and police elements in the streets. The military crashed their way into dormitories and boarding houses. Pockets of students in the streets tried to set up barricades and lit up automobile tires in the middle of downtown Recto Avenue. It took seven hours to control the sporadic street fighting, with the students and workers armed only with molotov cocktails and pillboxes. The next day, the official announcement admitted three dead and several wounded.”[76]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “That night, an exodus of privilege made ghost towns of the exclusive villages in the suburbs; the chi-chi crowd, fear in their guts and guilt in their hearts, holed up with their hysteria in the big hotels, driven there by the certainty that Forbes Park and Bel-Air and Dasmariñas and Magallanes would be set afire by an avenging people.”[77]
  • Eva-Lotta Hedman and John Sidel: “In the years leading up to martial law, downtown Manila thus in many ways emerged as both site and target for the escalating political violence that seemed to polarise the nation, as perhaps most fatally testified to by the Battle of Mendiola where government forces killed at least six students . . .”[78]
  • Petronilo Daroy: “The Battle of Mendiola Bridge was a turning point in the political ferment of the seventies. It became the basis for Ang Bayan the official publication of the CPP, to repeat its warning against fascism which had previously been dismissed as exaggerated ‘propaganda’ and to reiterate its appeal that only an armed struggle could dismantle a repressive government.”[79]
  • Manuel L. Quezon III: “Firefighters arrived at the scene, literally to extinguish the political conflagration at the Palace gates, but the hose they aimed at the protesters yielded a ‘sputtering spurt,’ then the comical became tragic as the protesters ran after and roughed up the fleeing firefighters, then rammed the fire truck into Malacañang’s Mendiola gate. The very center of power suddenly became a tear-gassed arena, as the presidential guards at once engaged the protesters who were lobbing Molotov cocktails into the Palace grounds. Amid the blaze of a parked vehicle that had been set on fire, the presidential guards managed to drive out the mob, and the battle shifted again to downtown Manila where, this time, not just cops, but ‘constabulary troopers’ confronted the protesters, reports Lacaba. There were also looters among this defiant crowd, who exploited the situation, smashing shop windows and spiriting away ‘jewelry and shoes.’ Soon enough, ‘the soldiers started firing with Thompsons into the ground,’ the dreadful staccato intended as warning, and yet some protesters were hit by shrapnel. Lacaba himself became caught up in the frenzy of rushing some of the injured to the nearby hospitals, and it is remarkable, going by his account, that not a few residents in the area helped hide the protesters who, fleeing from their pursuers, had wandered into the maze of Manila’s dark alleys. By dawn, the revolution of January 30 was quite over, hundreds had been arrested and an eerie, smoke-filled silence was restored in the city. But this was just the beginning of the Storm.”[80]
  1. Demonstration at U.S. Embassy (January 31,1970)
  • Gregg Jones: “. . . rampaging demonstrators attacked the U.S. Embassy, hurling Molotov cocktails, shattering windows, and ripping the U.S. seal from the embassy gate. In the days that followed, the radicals attacked the downtown Hilton Hotel and other perceived symbols of the U.S. presence in the Philippines.”[81]
  • Raymond Bonner: “The [day after the Battle of Mendiola] rampaging demonstrators, many with white bandannas around their foreheads, assaulted the American embassy. Shouting, ‘Down with imperialists,’ ‘Yankee, go home!’ and ‘Imperialist pigs!’ they ripped the large, circular U.S. seal off the embassy’s outer wall. Stones and homemade firebombs were hurled at the embassy, shattering glass doors and windows. When the U.S. marine security detachment lobbed tear gas grenades, the mobs retreated to the nearby business district, smashing windows in restaurants and offices, tossing a Molotov cocktail into the Manila Hotel, burning cars, and mauling people on the streets who got in their way.”[82]
  1. Plaza Miranda Rally (February 12, 1970)
  • Eva-Lotta Hedman and John Sidel: “Within less than two weeks of the ‘Battle of Mendiola’, a large rally held at Plaza Miranda avoided violent confrontations with government forces who refrained from charging this collective claim to the crossroads of the nation as, reportedly, some ten to fifty thousand people ‘sat on the streets, leaned against buildings, lolled around the plaza, stood on the other underpass roofs and on the roofs of low buildings nearby, leaned out from the church belfry, hung from the trees in the church patio’ for hours while listening to speakers standing outside Quiapo Church ‘denouncing imperialism, feudalism, and fascism’.”[83]
  1. First and Second People’s Congresses in Plaza Miranda (February 18 and 26, 1970)
  • Tens of thousands of people congregate at Plaza Miranda for a “people’s congress” to denounce U.S. imperialism, feudalism, and fascism. Demonstrators dramatically reenacted the American conquest of the Philippines. From Plaza Miranda, demonstrators marched in the direction of Malacañang. They pelted the U.S. Embassy with sticks, stones, and homemade bombs. They also targeted Caltex, Esso, and Philamlife, which they deemed to be “imperialist” enterprises.[84]
  1. People’s March from Welcome Rotonda to Liwasang Bonifacio (March 3, 1970)
  • Oscar Evangelista: “The people’s marches inaugurated the strategy of hiking around Manila’s populous streets denouncing facsism, feudalism and imperialism through banners, streamers, leaflets and bullhorns. Subsequently, it became a pattern to congregate in different areas of the City, march around the major streets and converge in a common place, usually Plaza Miranda.”[85]
  1. Poor People’s March and People’s Tribunal at Plaza Moriones (March 17, 1970)
  • Raymond Bonner: “. . . the First Quarter Storm dissipated in April, when students left Manila for the provinces and the start of summer vacation.”[86]

Political Protest in the Years Leading up to Martial Law

The First Quarter Storm set in motion a chain of mass protests against the government. Petronilo Daroy writes: “The momentum set by the January 26-30 student demonstrations unleashed a torrent of mass protest actions against everything that was construed as ‘establishment.’ Students, joined by sympathetic workers and peasants in the thousands, swelled the rallies and marches sponsored by the Movement for a Democratic Philippines, a coalition of student and professional groups established established in the aftermath of the Battle of Mendiola. Student activism while already building up in the late 60s reached its peak in the 1970-71 period. It was not uncommon for the youth during this time to claim the movement as a continuation of the ‘unfinished revolution of 1896’, a reference to the failed Philippine revolution led by Andres Bonifacio. A strong ideological influence that undoubtedly manifested itself in many political formulations of the student movement had been the cultural revolution of China, then the revolutionary model of the Third World countries. . . . The snowballing effect of the First Quarter Storm may be gleaned from the numerous organizations which mushroomed or were reactivated in the aftermath of the January 26-30 demonstrations. Apart from the KM and the SDK, a plethora of mass organizations like the Samahan ng mga Guro ng Pamantasan (Union of University Teachers or SAGUPA), Samahan ng mga Makabayang Siyentipiko (Union of Nationalist Scientists or SAMASA), Malayang Pagkakaisa ng Kabataang Pilipino (Free Union of Filipino Youth or MPKP), and the first feminist organization with a national democratic orientation the Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (Free Movement of New Women) or MAKIBAKA was established. Cultural groups such as the KAMANYANG of the Philippine College of Commerce, Panday Sining of KM and Gintong Silahis of SDK as well as artist groups like the Nagkakaisang Progresibong Artista-Arkitekto (United Progressive Artists and Architects or NPAA) were notable for their contribution to the redefinition of culture that was mass-oriented and nationalist. Through street plays during rallies and marches, these artists brought the issues straight to the masses. Using Pilipino, the language of the masses, was a condition sine qua non for communication with the people. This was a big boost to the popularization of the national language which had not fully developed due to the ambivalent policies of the government.”[87]

  1. Plaza Miranda Bombing (August 21, 1971)
  • Gregg Jones: “Ten thousand people had gathered that evening of August 21, 1971, in downtown Manila’s Plaza Miranda for a Liberal party rally to proclaim the candidates for November’s congressional and local elections. At 9:10 P.M., before a national television audience, at least three fragmentation grenades were tossed toward the speaker’s platform, where the party’s Senate candidates and other prominent Liberal leaders were seated. The first grenade clattered to the wooden stage and exploded, spraying the crowd with deadly shrapnel. Moments later, a second grenade arced through the air and exploded above the platform. At least one [sic] another grenade was thrown at the stage but failed to explode. Nine people were killed, and more than 100 were wounded.”[88]
  • Lewis Gleeck Jr.: “It was the Plaza Miranda bombing of August 21 that made Marcos’ removal from office in 1973 almost a certainty, unless he seized power by a putsch. To this day, those responsible for the outrage have not been identified, but since it was the proclamation of the Liberal Party candidates for senator and Manila mayor that was bombed, the reaction was certain to hurt Marcos and the Nacionalistas. Hurt the Nacionalistas it did, grievously. Instead of winning the senatorial election of 1971 by a predicted 6-2 margin, they lost, 2-6. Whether or not voters believed the LP charge that Marcos was responsible for the bombing, it was the LPs who had suffered. They were rewarded with the voters’ mandate. The president attempted to blame the Communists, but few believed him. It took several years for additional, persuasive evidence to surface which made them in fact the most likely proprietors, through the possibility that it was the work of Mayor Villegas or Marcos supporters (acting on their own, as in the 1983 assassination of Senator Aquino) was also widely suspected. The most significant result of the calamity was that Aquino, who was not present, was the principal beneficiary, and Marcos was the principal loser. Fortunately, none of the LP senatorial candidates lost their lives, but Osmeña and Salonga were gravely injured, and nearly all of those on the platform were severely wounded. Somewhat obscured by the election campaign, which left 250 (!) dead in its wake, Imelda had slipped off to hobnob with royalty in Persepolis, where the Shah was staging a spectacular celebration of the 2,500th year of the Persian Empire.[89]
  • Lewis Gleeck Jr.: “The Plaza Miranda tragedy was deeply traumatic for the Philippines. There, at the symbolic center of Philippine democratic politics, two persons, later identified as Muntinlupa criminals probably in the employ of an aide of Mayor Villegas, threw grenades at the inaugural rally of the Liberal Party, killing several bystanders and critically injuring nearly all the leading figures of the Liberal Party. The principal exception was Senator Aquino, who said he had been warned by an unidentified source not to be present. (He later changed his story to having been kept late at previous appointments). Senators Salonga and Osmeña, both Presidential aspirants, were at first given only an outside chance to survive. Senator Roxas, Liberal Party President and Mrs. Roxas were also seriously hurt, and the Liberal Party candidate for Mayor of Manila, Congressman Bagatsing (whose proclamation had been the signal for the bombing), lost a leg in the holocaust. The event introduced a quite unusual element of violence at upper levels into Philippine elections, where violence had nearly always taken a private, individual form and had been concentrated at the Mayor and Police Chief level in the provinces.”[90]
  • Raymond Bonner: “Shortly before 9:15 P.M. on August 21, 1971, during a Liberal party rally of more than 10,000 supporters at Plaza Miranda—in the heart of downtown, Manila’s Hyde Park—two fragmentation grenades were hurled at the speakers’ platform; other explosives were detonated beneath the stage. In the bloody heap of bodies just below the microphones were those of a ten-year-old cigarette vendor and two newspaper photographers. At least six persons were killed. All of the Liberal party’s eight senatorial candidates were among the more than 100 seriously wounded. . . . Senator Jovito Salonga, the party’s leading [presidential] candidate, had the bones in one ear shattered; deep canyons cut by the shrapnel permanently scarred his forearms. The wife of one senator had both kneecaps smashed. The Philippines Free Press, the least sensationalist of the country’s newspapers, called it the ‘most villainous, outrageous and shameful crime in the annals of local political violence . . . a night of national tragedy and infamy as democracy—Philippine style—bared itself in all its terrifying ugliness.’ Marcos, reacting to the incident by immediately suspending the writ of habeas corpus, charged that the Communists were responsible for the bloodshed and repeated his accusations that Aquino was aiding and abetting them with money and weapons. Though Aquino was the Liberal party leader, he escaped the carnage, arriving late because he was attending a dinner. He also said that he had received an anonymous phone call warning him of the attack and that after the party he was further delayed when he went home to put on his bulletproof vest. Aquino’s absence led to suggestions that he, in a desperate effort to eliminate all challengers to his power within the party, had been behind the attack. No one was ever convicted, and in late 1986 it was still being reported that the Plaza Miranda bombing ‘remained a mystery.’”[91]
  1. Diliman Commune (February 1971)
  • Petronilo Daroy: “In January 1971, a transport strike called by Pasang Masda, an organization of jeepney drivers led a jeepney strike over the increase of gasoline prices. Actively supported by students and workers, the strike paralyzed the entire jeepney service in Manila. At the University of the Philippines, students staged a sympathy strike which developed into the so-called Diliman Commune. The 12-day Commune cut off the campus in Diliman, Quezon City, as well as the entire route passing through Diliman from the rest of the city. Students put up barricades in the campus which the police insisted on dismantling. In the confusion, one student was killed when a professor fired at the picketing students. Incensed by the police action, the students occupied all buildings in the Diliman campus, commandeered the radio station (DZUP) and the University Press and began to broadcast anti-government propaganda. Adopting the names of the writers of the 1896 Propaganda Movement, they used the facilities of the U.P. press to publish a paper called Pulang Bandila (Red Flag). In an unprecedented show of unity, students, faculty members and non-academic personnel closed ranks to defend the University. The siege of Diliman drew out creative forms of student protest which sustained the 12-day struggle. It was an opportunity for the national democratic groups on campus to consolidate and popularize the concept of a ‘national democratic cultural revolution’ that the commune epitomized.”[92]
  • In the lead-up to the 1971 midterm elections, University of the Philippines students, supported by faculty members and non-academic personnel, occupied the Diliman campus and barricade its main roads. This movement was known as the “Diliman Commune.” The university radio station broadcasted a recording of the President making love to American actress Dovie Beams. Some residents in the area banded together and hunted down the radical students in the defense of order and their property rights. President Marcos ordered the Philippine Constabulary Metropolitan Command to retake the campus. The Philippine Constabulary went to UP and dismantled the barricades. Violence ensued. Three students died. The demonstrations in UP Diliman ended only after the school administration accepted some of the demands of the students. The military siege was also put to a halt following a recommendation made by University President Salvador Lopez to President Marcos.[93]
  • Lewis Gleeck Jr.: “A year [after the First Quarter Storm], the students would make common cause with jeepney drivers protesting an increase in gasoline prices. The drivers were accustomed to rough tactics, and encouraged by such allies, the students set up their first ‘human barricade.’ They scuffed with the U.P. security forces, and after a choleric U.P. professor discharged several weapons, one student was shot and later died. This led to the entry of Quezon City police into the campus, despite objections from Lopez. The campus was completely barricaded by the students, who set up the ‘Diliman Commune,’ and red flags sprouted on the campus. . . . This proved counterproductive, however, stimulating vigilante groups composed of veterans and property holders who had been obliged to vacate their homes—developments unreported by the U.P. history.”[94]
  1. Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil Liberties (MCCCL) rallies
  • Petronilo Daroy: “The military used [the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus after the Plaza Miranda bombing] to arrest some well-known activists like Luzvimindo David of Kabataang Makabayan (Nationalist Youth) and Gary Olivar of the Movement for a Democratic Philippines (MDP) and swoop down on headquarters of several mass organizations. The people responded by vigorously opposing the threat of fascist rule. A broad alliance of civil libertarians, progressive Constitutional Convention delegates, students, professionals as well as workers united to form the Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil Liberties (MCCCL) led by Jose W. Diokno. The alliance had three basic demands: a) lift the writ of habeas corpus; b) release of political prisoners; and c) resist any plan by the Marcos government to declare martial law. The alliance was successful in forging unity among diverse groups such as those from the ‘Nat-Dem’ groups and the ‘Soc-Dem’ groups as well as various civic organizations on the bases of these demands. In rally after rally attended by as many as 50,000 people, the MCCCL warned of the imminence of martial law even as the writ of habeas corpus was eventually restored. It held the biggest demonstration on September 21, 1972 . . .”[95]

Political Protest during Martial Law

President Marcos declared Martial Law on September 23, 1972. According to Gregg Jones, “Martial law left the once-formidable legal protest movement in disarray, its leaders in hiding or in prison, its activists driven into the underground or cowering in fear.”[96] However, political protest did not vanish entirely. Gregg Jones elaborates: “In the late 1970s, against the backdrop of a weakening economy, communist efforts to rebuild an urban protest movement were beginning to bear fruit. Party cadres had organized communities of homeless squatters in Manila to fight the demolitions of their communities. Martial law had crushed the increasingly militant labor movement, but beginning in 1975, radical unions under the direction of Party cadres began challenging a strike ban imposed by Marcos. The CPP even succeeded in reviving the student movement in 1977 by organizing protests to oppose a tuition fee increase and to demand reestablishment of student councils and newspapers. Gradually, the strikes by militant workers and demonstrations by students and slum dwellers eroded the paralysis martial law had inflicted on Philippine society, enabling the revolutionary movement to step up its organizing activities in urban areas. . . . The successful student protests against higher tuition fees in mid-1977 encouraged CPP leaders to begin making plans for a sustained wave of demonstrations in Manila modeled after the legendary First Quarter Storm seven years earlier. The scheme called for widespread, coordinated protests by students, factory workers, and slum dwellers. Party leaders anticipated that the moderate political opposition would join the campaign and lend an air of mainstream respectability to the protests. . . . In fall 1977, [Communist] Party planning for the urban destabilization campaign abruptly came to halt when Marcos announced the scheduling of elections for a new National Assembly the following April.”[97]

  1. Interim Batasang Pambansa (IBP) election noise barrage (April 6, 1978)
  • Emmanuel de Dios: “On the evening of April 6, 1978, Manila was rocked by a massive noise barrage. At a prearranged hour, eight o’clock, residents of the metropolis came out into the streets and banged on pots, pans, and washbasins, stoked bonfires in the middle of the roads, drove at random through the city in cars, jeeps, and trucks, honking horns and shouting above the din, ‘LABAN! LABAN!’ (Fight! Fight!). The immediate occasion for that evening’s noise barrage was the election for Parliament, the Interim Batasang Pambansa (IBP) the following day, for which the legal opposition had put up candidates headed by the still imprisoned ex-senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino. Laban was also the acronym of the Opposition party in Manila. (The full name was Lakas ng Bayan, or People’s Power.) Shortly before the elections, Aquino had given the only public interview he had been allowed from prison. Ninoy had earlier agreed with Senators Gerardo Roxas and Jovito Salonga that the Liberal Party call for a national electoral boycott.”[98]
  • Emmanuel de Dios: “One reason for the noise barrage had been ‘to let Ninoy Aquino in his prison cell know that the people had heard his message.’ But the matter had really gone far beyond the election; it had turned into an outpouring of pent-up protest against the dictatorship. This urban phenomenon was unprecedented and surprising even to those who had organized it. Until then, the only open and large-scale resistance to the dictatorship had been put up by the armed underground movements: the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), whose operations were predominantly in the countrysides. The noise barrage, on the other hand, not only added a new locus to the resistance but also succeeded in enlisting open support from the hitherto unorganized majority of the middle classes, apart from the underground urban mass organizations. It would be from these same wellsprings of urban support that the later events of February 1986 would draw.”[99]
  • Emmanuel de Dios: “The Batasan elections themselves proved to be a huge, though for some not totally unexpected, frustration owing to the fraud that accompanied it. Despite the obvious show of support of the populace for the opposition candidates—the Marcos regime was anxious to show a ‘clean sweep’ for the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL—New Society Movement) slate in Metro Manila, especially since it was led by Imelda Marcos. It was a matter of pride; hence even Aquino was edged out by a nobody from the KBL. In certain regions, there were token gains for the opposition, for after all, the point of the whole effort on the part of the dictatorship was to legitimize its rule by allowing some measure of participation by disenfranchised members of the traditional political parties. At this time, Marcos was under pressure from the Carter administration and the U.S. Congress to improve his human rights record.”[100]
  1. Post-IBP election rally (April 9, 1978)
  • Emmanuel de Dios: “The manipulation of the election results convinced a large section of these otherwise conservative and moderate elements that more drastic action was in order. A peaceful march of about 500 people on April 9 to protest the fraudulent elections was broken up and the participants, among them prominent opposition leaders, were arrested. As Steve Psinakis, who would later be accused by the Marcos regime of masterminding ‘terrorist activities’ put it, ‘The April 7 election has made it clear to everyone that the Marcoses have left the Filipino people with only one solution: FORCE.’ Ironically, therefore, the elections, which Marcos had hoped would ameliorate the conflict, deepened it instead.”[101]

Assassination of Ninoy Aquino and Subsequent Protests

According to Ma. Serena Diokno, “It was the Aquino assassination, more than any other event in the Marcos regime’s long history of repression and violence, which moved countless Filipinos, especially the once timid middle class, to awaken and jointly fight the reality of dictatorship. For many it was, in the words of a Makati businessman ‘. . . the spark that gave us the courage to speak up.’ Indeed, from that shocking moment on the tarmac in August 1983 until the EDSA Revolution in February 1986, numerous organizations emerged to protest the iron strength of the Marcos dictatorship.”[102]

  1. Ninoy Aquino’s Funeral
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “On [August 31, 1983], about two million Filipinos turned out to be counted; they joined the procession, lined the streets, displayed banners and ribbons, and chanted all throughout an eleven-hour journey. The unprecedented funeral set the tone for the protest movement that was to evolve. It was a movement that in the next two years increasingly challenged the Marcos regime’s stockpile of teargas, bullets, and repressive presidential decrees. In subsequent rallies and varied mass actions, demonstrators, linking arms and bearing no weapons, bravely faced the U.S.-supplied arms of the state.”[103]
  • John Chua: “So I began to take pictures. I went to the funeral Mass in Santo Domingo; I went there at 5:00 a.m. to make sure I could get a good position to take photographs. The church was full and there was a huge crowd outside trying to get in. After the Mass, I went with the funeral procession. I got rained on twice, first in Lawton and then in Luneta. I had to go home and get more film. If this had been just any other event, I would have quit and gone home. I saw this guy in a wheelchair who went from Santo Domingo to the cemetery. By the time we got to Luneta, he was exhausted, but he kept going. The people who went would not give up and leave, no matter how tired or uncomfortable they were. It was as if they had made a vow or thought of what they were doing as penitence. That was really an emotional event, one of the most emotional events I have covered.”[104]
  • Eugenia Apostol [editor-in-chief of Mr. & Ms. Magazine]: “[The day after the funeral], I said, ‘What’s this? Not a single photo of the funeral in the papers, as if nothing happened.’ What really got me was the Times Journal. What they printed was the photo of the spectator who was hit by lightning—that was their top news! The next morning, I brought all our photos and printed everything. I handled it myself. It was like I put in everything, the past 35 years, all in one afternoon, into that special edition.”[105]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “It was a movement that witnessed moments of unity and success. The immediate post-assassination period set a number of precedents since the imposition of martial law in 1972: on September 16, the first rally ever held in Makati (Ugarte Field); on September 21, dubbed as the National Day of Sorrow, the largest multi-sectoral demonstration in Liwasang Bonifacio, in which organized groups and parties participated; on                                                                                                                                                                        October 26, the first rally outside the American Embassy, after the Supreme Court had ruled unexpectedly in favor of the Anti-Bases Coalition, the organizer of the rally, and on October 28, the first women’s march, held first in Makati and then from Liwasang Bonifacio to Luneta. It was also, however, a movement wracked by dissension. After breezing through a relatively easy birth in August 1983, the protest movement had to weather a number of difficulties. Some of these were the early conflict between the church’s call for national reconciliation and the people’s demand for the removal of Marcos, the agonizing period of deciding whether or not to take part in the parliamentary (Batasan) elections in May 1984, the failed BAYAN congress (BAYAN – Bagong Alyansang Makabayan) in May 1985, and the founding of the BANDILA (Bansang Nagkisa sa Diwa at Layunin – A Nation United in Thought and Purpose). In the final analysis, the protest movement was a movement of unity and struggle—of oneness in opposition to the Marcos regime, its authoritarian apparatus, and its abuse of the Filipino people; of differences within a movement colored by varying shades of political understanding, at times sadly marked by personal political ambition; and of unrelenting struggle against a dictatorship propped up by the government of the United States. In the final analysis, the protest movement was a movement of unity and struggle—of oneness in opposition to the Marcos regime, its authoritarian apparatus, and its abuse of the Filipino people; of differences within a movement colored by varying shades of political understanding, at times sadly marked by personal political ambition; and of unrelenting struggle against a dictatorship propped up by the government of the United States.”[106]
  • Mark Thompson: “Rather than sparking class strife, the Aquino assassination unleashed outrage across socioeconomic lines against the Marcoses’ material accumulation, arbitrary repression, and dynastic ambitions. The Catholic Church endorsed the anti-Marcos protests, in which business and professional groups participated. The assassination also encouraged members of the military and losers in the Malcañang succession struggle to start plotting a coup.”[107]
  • Mark Thompson: “Previous efforts by opposition politicians in the Philippines to mobilize the citizenry against the regime either had proved ephemeral (the noise barrage before the 1978 legislative elections), had backfired (the arson and bombing terror campaign), or had relied largely on communist organizers (the 1981 presidential boycott). Antigovernment protests after Aquino’s murder, in contrast, lasted for months, put Marcos on the defensive, and provided opposition politicians with a noncommunist following. According to government estimates, 165 rallies, marches, and other demonstrations took place between August 21 and September 30, 1983. The largest was Aquino’s funeral procession in Manila, which took eleven hours and was attended by an estimated 2 million people. Protest demonstrations continued into the following year, with more than 100 held between October 1983 and February 1984. The biggest of these was the 120-kilometer ‘Tarlac to Tarmac’ run (from Aquino’s home province to the international airport where he was murdered), attended by an estimated five hundred thousand people.”[108]
  1. Ayala Avenue rallies
  • Monina Mercado: “Never the scene of rallies before, Ayala Avenue in the country’s major financial and business district became the setting of protest marches and meetings. Held on a regular weekly schedule after the Aquino assassination, the protest rallies were invariably announced by a blizzard of yellow confetti from the buildings along Ayala Avenue . . . The protest was thus oddly lighthearted while given to major issues of justice, human rights and the restoration of democracy to the Philippines.”[109]
  1. Justice for Aquino, Justice for All (JAJA)
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “Conceived in the wake of the Aquino assassination, JAJA was born of shock and confusion, of anger and popular indignation. Above all, as its credo eloquently states, it was born of a deep-seated yearning for justice and freedom . . .”[110]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “Barely two months after its establishment, JAJA had grown to about ninety chapters and member organizations. Sen. Lorenzo Tañada, the chairman, confessed: “We did not foresee that it would snowball so soon.” JAJA epitomized the new protest movement of the eighties—the cause-oriented movement. This opposition movement, while not monolithic, distinguished itself from the traditional political parties that had long dominated the Philippine political scene. Its emergence pointed to the fact that under Marcos political parties had become largely irrelevant, given the regime’s monopoly of the electoral process, the military, and the media since 1972, and the consequent need to shift from electoral politics to pressure politics as the dominant mode of protest. Pressure politics, a term coined by the chairman of JAJA’s executive committee, Sen. Jose W. Diokno, referred to mass actions and other peaceful means of protest intended to exert organized popular might or influence not only on Marcos but also on those around him. ‘A dictator who sees himself abandoned by (his) allies eventually runs away.’ Diokno said, citing the examples of deposed dictators such as Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran and Idi Amin of Uganda.”[111]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “By opting for methods outside of the electoral arena, cause-oriented groups such as JAJA veered away from the traditional methods of changing regimes. But there were other ways, in which these groups differed from political parties. First, cause-oriented groups tried to focus on issues rather than on persons in an effort to address the problems of Filipino society and seek solutions to them. The disposition towards issues created the opportunity to develop new leaders who faced not the prospect of losing in an election, but the threat of arrest and detention, and even of salvaging or disappearing while in the hands of the military. Apart from Tañada and Diokno, both senators of the defunct Congress, new leaders emerged who, under the aegis of traditional political parties, would perhaps not have stood a chance. Most of these leaders were young and relatively unknown as opposition figures although they were respected in their own fields. Among them were Lino Brocka, a film director and board member of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), Leandro Alejandro, chairman of the University of the Philippines Student Council, and Ninoy Aquino’s younger brother, Agapito nicknamed ‘Butz’. . . . Second, in its search for structural change rather than piecemeal reforms, the cause-oriented movement paid particular attention to the education and politicization of its members as well as of the general public. In its primer, for instance, JAJA stated that it ‘supports massive multi-sectoral and information campaigns’  through rallies and assemblies, fora, symposia, in schools, factories, offices, districts, and neighborhood communities, mass demonstrations, marches, picketing, boycotts, and all forms of militant protests. Other forms of concrete actions were prayer rallies, protest runs, wearing or displaying of protest symbols such as pins, stickers, posters, streamers, and other paraphernalia; and organization of JAJA chapters representing all social sectors and classes.”[112]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “By far the most effective means of calling public attention to particular issues were mass actions. The resurgence of organized peaceful protest was marked by a fervor reminiscent of the late sixties and early seventies. From the Aquino Funeral procession to the end of April 1984 (before the Batasan elections), nearly two hundred demonstrations and mass actions took place nationwide, excluding strikes by labor boycotts of newspapers and businesses. These mass actions included religious masses and prayer rallies, marches and demonstrations, confetti and noise barrages, and other innovations such as window shopping at Rustan’s (the premier department store reportedly owned by Imelda Marcos), ‘pasyalan’ (strolling) along Ayala Avenue, jogging for justice, night-long vigils outside government offices, and candlelight processions. All these, the people supported complete with Ninoy hats, yellow ribbons and sun visors, huge murals of the regime’s martyrs, and other kinds of protest paraphernalia.”[113]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “Virtually every opportunity that could be used for protest was used. Even Ninoy Aquino’s tomb became the scene of an All Saints’ Day protest action. An activist businessman captured the mood of the times when he said: ‘The exciting thing that is happening is . . . that the silent majority have finally found their voices. They have found expression and I think that the demonstrations, the confetti, and the simple mechanical act of pressing down your hand to your horn is an externalization of that. You might even call it a political act . . .’ Even Filipino humor found its way early into the protest movement. Leaflets were distributed inviting the public to a dog show in Ugarte Field during the march of professionals on November 11, 1983. Pet owners were asked to dress up their dogs in Ninoy shirts and to given them ‘a leisurely stroll for justice,” while the advice for ‘your pet peeves’ was to ‘tie them down with a yellow ribbon and give them a “TUTA” shirt or tag with the name of your favorite columnist, minister, ambassador, and/or P.S. : Bark for Benigno, Howl for Hope.’[114]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “Many unorganized citizens responded spontaneously to the calls for mass actions. They read about the rallies in the alternative press or heard about them from friends and officemates. An employee of a Makati firm explained that for the Makati rally on September 16, 1983, for example, shreds of paper inviting people to Ugarte Field were simply passed around the offices and thereon ‘everything was spontaneous.’ Another pointed out that those who attended the rally came largely on their own initiative and not as members of an organization. The general feeling was a desire to get involved in some way; rallies provided that avenue. Said a forty-year-old businessmen from the southern city of Bacolod who took part in a local rally: ‘We are not as brave as the people in Manila, but just the same we are outraged.  We want to organize. . . ” Davao City farther down south experienced ‘yellow’ Fridays from October to November, 1983. The afternoon motorcades in Davao, complete with confetti throwing and a noise barrage, always ended at St. Paul’s Church for mass, as runners ‘jogged for justice.’ In Cebu City, a rally sponsored by a local cause-oriented group was attended by some twelve thousand people and led by Inday Nita Daluz, a radio commentator who later ran for and won a seat in the Batasang Pambansa in the 1984 elections. The mountain city of Baguio had its own yellow day on November 15, 1983, when participants were asked to wear ‘anything yellow.’
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “Activists took to the streets to highlight the following events: Independence Day (June 12), Fil-American Friendship Day (July 4), the anniversary of the Aquino assassination (August 21), the anniversary of the imposition of martial law (September 21), Ninoy Aquino’s birthday (November 27) and Human Rights Day (December 10). A new organization would debut at nearly every rally. Among these groups were: the August Twenty-One Movement (ATOM), INAHAN in Cebu (Integrity, Nationalism and Humanism against Neo-colonialism), CHRIST in Davao (Citizens for Human Rights and Social Transformation); CHIME in Metro Manila (Chamber of Industries in Music and Entertainment); MOSLEM (Muslim Organization for Solidarity, Liberty and Equality for the Masses); TWO (Tarlac Women’s Association); UPO (United for the President’s Ouster); CLAD (Citizens of Las Piñas for Aquino and Democracy); CATS (Citizens’ Alliance Towards Solidarity); and many others. What bound all of them together were sympathy for Aquino and opposition to the Marcos regime. Beyond that lay a broad range of political colors and orientations.”[115]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “By catering to various groups and orientations, JAJA opened the door to all groups that opposed the dictatorship and gave them the opportunity to mingle with one another, to understand the problems of different sectors, and to work together despite their differences. A businessman who participated in the Lakbayan march that dramatized the boycott of the May 1984 elections expressed this sentiment aptly: ‘We have to get off our high horses and work with everyone.’ The same attitude had to apply to other sectors if the alliance was to succeed.”[116]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “Towards the middle of 1984 JAJA was superseded by another alliance, the Coalition of Organizations for the Restoration of Democracy (CORD), which retained most of JAJA’s features and membership.”[117]
  1. KOMPIL Congress
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “The earliest attempt at unity was the KOMPIL Congress (KOMPIL—Kongreso ng Mamayang Pilipino—Congress of the Filipino People) held on January 7 and 8, 1984. According to a congress organizer, KOMPIL was born out of a ‘need to explore the possibilities of unifying the various opposition elements.’ Interestingly, the congress was organized by the more moderate groups of professionals, a few of whom belonged to JAJA (such as the August Twenty-One Movement—ATOM) while most were part of the Alliance of Makati Associations (AMA), a parallel coalition of groups mainly responsible for the confetti rallies in Makati.”[118]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “Delegates to the congress came from all over the country, and representation was both sectoral and regional. the gathering hoped to answer two questions: (1) Should the ‘Marcos Resign’ movement continue? (2) In whom do the people place their trust and confidence as alternative leaders of government?”[119]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “. . . the ‘Marcos Resign’ movement, which was the initial campaign of the protest movement, had slowly been obfuscated by other issues such as the devaluation of the peso and the question of presidential succession. Since MArcos claimed to hold power on the basis of a ‘covenant with the people,’ KOMPIL hoped to ‘dramatized the people’s repudiation of this covenant.’ Similarly, the search for alternative leaders would answer ‘the recurring objection that if the present administration steps down, there are no alternative leaders.’”[120]
  • Leaders chosen by KOMPIL congress: Domocao Alonto Jr., Jose W. Diokno, Teofisto Guingona, Eva Estrada-Kalaw, Salvador “Doy” Laurel, Horacio Morales, Cecilia Muñoz-Palma, Ambrosio Padilla, Aquilino Pimentel, Francisco Rodrigo, Rene Saguisag, Jovito Salonga, Lorenzo Tañada, Claudio Teehankee, and Enrique Zobel.[121]
  • Alternates chosen by KOMPIL congress (inclusion was just a “moral accolade” and bestowed no real power): Fr. Conrado Balweg, Salvador Lopez, Justice Jose B. L. Reyes, Jaime Cardinal Sin, and Jose Ma. Sison.[122]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “By no means was the KOMPIL Congress a monolithic group. A congress organizer categorized the different views among the delegates into those who were for the ‘Marcos Resign’ movement; those for his ouster (presumably more militant than the ‘Marcos Resign’ advocates); those who were anti-fascist but did not view American imperialism as part of the Marcos dictatorship; and those who did.”[123]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “As it turned out, the main issue that befuddled the congress was what action to take in the coming Batasan elections. ‘Unfortunately,’ one organizer recalled, ‘the issue of boycott or participation really created a cleavage among those who attended the congress and among those who were elected as alternative leaders.’ The result was a compromise to boycott the elections or to take part in them depending on whether or not certain conditions were met. The conditions were discussed on the floor of the congress. Of about 2,300 delegates, 70% voted for the repeal of secret degrees; 61.4% for a newly appointed and independent Commission on Elections (COMELEC); 61.3% for the preparation of a new voters list; 54% for the repeal of the presidential power to make appointments without need of Batasan approval, and 50.4% for the condition that martial law can be declared only if approved by a two-thirds vote of the Batasan.”[124]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “None of the opposition’s demands was even considered by the Marcos regime. Yet some of the signatures to [an open letter entitled “Call for Meaningful Elections” (CAMEL) that was signed by all leading opposition figures] opted to participate in the election. Foremost among them was Corazon Aquino. The boycott-participation debate was a hotly contested one. Proponents of participation hinged their arguments on the assumption that the May elections were the nation’s ‘last chance for democracy’ and that boycotting them would pave the way for a bloody revolution. The leading advocate of this line of thinking was Jose Concepcion Jr., then the head of the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL).”
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “On the other hand, boycott advocates led by Tañada, Diokno, and Butz Aquino believed that the Batasan elections served two masters: Marcos, who wished to use the elections in order to blunt the popular demand for his resignation; and the U.S. government, which wanted the Filipino people to legitimize the 1973 (Marcos) constitution and thereby legalize all the concessions it had obtained from the dictatorship. The boycott camp further maintained that the elections were only for the Batasan, Marcos would remain in office until 1987 even if the opposition were to win a clear majority. An opposition-controlled Batasan would therefore be unable to effect real reforms, given the powers Marcos enjoyed.”[125]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “Pressure to abandon the boycott stance mounted in February as Cardinal Sin called on the people to vote in the elections. Another powerful supporter of the participation position was the U.S. government. . . . Contrary to American views, the elections did not bring about political normalcy. The people, as expected, were cheated. From almost nothing, opposition candidates gained the predicted one-third of the seats in Parliament, but being in the minority they could neither repeal Amendment 6 nor restore the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Now, more than ever, there was a need to unite the opposition. In the year that followed the elections, two major attempts were made in that direction: the Convenor Group-National Unification Committee (CG-NUC) and BAYAN. Both, however failed to achieve their goals.”[126]
  1. Risks for protesters
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “In May 1983 two “secret” presidential decrees were leaked to the public. These decrees, P.D. 1834 and P.D. 1835, had been signed the day before Marcos “lifted” martial law [on January 17, 1981]. They made subversion, rebellion, sedition, and related crimes capital offenses. Reacting to public outrage, Marcos said he had already withdrawn the two decrees in order to amend them. After all, he explained, they had not yet been published in the Official Gazette. But Marcos lied to the people. On July 21, 1983, he issued P.D. 1877, which replaced the Presidential Commitment Order (PCO) with the Preventive Detention Action (PDA). In its preamble, P.D. 1977 [sic] referred to subversion and other political crimes as capital offenses. By so doing, it treated the two secret decrees as already in force despite Marcos’s announcements in May that he had withdrawn them.”[127]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “One cannot appreciate the value of the protest movement, or measure the dangers posed to those who took part in it, without considering the constraints imposed by these repressive decrees. For example, apart from increasing penalties for subversion, rebellion, and sedition, P.D. 1834 and P.D. 1835 created at least four new crimes: (1) holding a meeting ‘for propaganda against the government,’ with organizers of such meetings subject to punishment of life imprisonment to death, while those ‘merely present,’ to imprisonment of six months and one day to six years; (2) giving ‘aid and comfort’ to those who commit rebellion or sedition, including one’s own children, which was punishable with life imprisonment to death; (3) allowing the use of ‘any form of mass communication . . . for . . . sustained propaganda assaults against the government,’ with those who managed the media subject to punishment of life imprisonment to death; (4) conspiring to commit subversion—which previous anti-subversion laws never defined or punished—the punishment for such conspiracy under P.D. 1835 being imprisonment of twelve years and one day to twenty years. These four offenses were not the only new crimes created. For instance, P.D. 1877-A (which amended P.D. 1877 on July 23, 1983) spoke of a crime of ‘alarm and scandals’ which consisted of making ‘discordant noises . . . on kettles, tin, horns, etc., designed to annoy or insult.[128]
  • Ma. Serena Diokno: “Unfazed, the protest movement continued to grow, but it paid a heavy price. According to the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, 4,168 political arrests were made in 1984 and 2,371 by midyear of 1985; in 1984, 150 disappearances were recorded and 117 by midyear 1985. The same source reported that 538 persons were summarily killed (‘salvaged’) in 1984 and 238 in the first six months of 1985. Human rights groups and lawyers identified three main sources of human rights violations in the country: the Philippine Constabulary (PC), which was then headed by Gen. Fidel V. Ramos; the Integrated Civilian Home Defense Forces (ICHDF) and other paramilitary forces, and the ‘secret marshals’ ostensibly organized in the early eighties to stem urban disorder. Marcos refused to acknowledge that torture and illegal arrests were the norm for the military.’[129]

1986 Snap Elections

In the first week of November 1985, Marcos went on the David Brinkley Show and announced his intention of holding a snap election.[130]

  • Gemma Almendral: “Ferdinand Marcos was never a gambler where his personal fortunes were at stake. Though he took pains to create the impression that his victories always represented the spontaneous, unbridled clamor of the majority, he always made sure that full institutional support—laws, rules, logistics—were harnessed to guarantee the results he wanted. The snap election was no different. What clinched the decision was the certainty that the KBL still controlled all 65 cities and 90 per cent of all municipalities and barangay councils.”[131]
  • Gemma Almendral: “the legitimacy of the traditional institutions and the people’s loss of faith in them were not the only problems Marcos faced. After a decade of near-decimation during Marcos’s martial rule, the legal opposition was able to flex its muscles again after Aquino’s death. The 1984 Batasang Pambansa elections, which saw an unexpected number of oppositionists winning in KBL bailiwicks, particularly those of Imelda Marcos, was a test case for the forces which opposed Marcos but rejected the violent option of the Left. Like a genie popped out of its bottle, the opposition was no longer the pathetic, ineffectual, fractious grouping picking up the crumbs from the Marcos machinery, as it was condescendingly regarded by the U.S. Armed with the people’s anger and sensing the sweet taste of victory, all the opposition needed was a pivotal, unifying force to propel it to victory.”[132]
  • When asked publicly, Cory Aquino hinted that she might run against Marcos if a snap elections was called, provided that a million citizens signed a draft for her. She didn’t think he’d ever allow an election anyway. But when he did, she was forced to consider running for election seriously.[133]
  • Gemma Almendral: “. . . the citizens’ draft spearheaded by a new organization which called itself the Cory Aquino for President Movement (CAPM), was drawing more and more adherents. The CAPM was conceived by former publisher and political prisoner Joaquin ‘Chino’ Roces and a group of businessmen who shared a common disgust over the inability of politicians to get their act together. They decided that only a non-politician like Aquino could unite the disparate anti-Marcos forces into a synchronized whole . . . The CAPM’s objective was to get a million citizens to sign a draft-Cory-for-president-manifesto—not an easy task in a repressive regime. Vic Sison, the CAPM’s executive director, explained that each signature was not only a vote for Aquino but also a pledge to work actively in the campaign. When the movement was officially launched in mid-October, it already had 18,000 signatories from Metro Manila; within a month, from the time Marcos made his announcement to the deadline set by the group, about 1.2 million from all over the country sent in their signatures. It was a first-ever citizens’ draft in a country known for its two-party system, and it caught the fancy of millions from all walks of life, some of whom sent money along with their signatures.”[134] Cory Aquino and Doy Laurel filed their certificates of candidacy as president and vice president respectively.[135]
  • Gemma Almendral: “. . . the electoral climate was no longer what Marcos knew, much less wanted, it to be. Despite her floundering campaign machinery, Cory Aquino proved to be the phenomenon of the season. Drawn by her simplicity and sincerity, crowds of hundreds and thousands all over the country waited for hours to catch a glimpse of her and hear her talk about the agonies she and her family went through during Ninoy’s incarceration. The tale of woe which she used to the hilt proved to be highly effective. As more observers noted then, the masses wept and identified with her and her sufferings under the dictatorship, and pledged to protect and support this valiant woman who had very gallantly taken up the cudgels for them. The strategy, whether or not consciously adopted by Aquino, defied existing conventions of a presidential campaign and Marco’s usual bluff and bluster only highlighted her intention of presenting herself as the ‘complete opposite’ of the strongman.”[136]
  • Gemma Almendral: “An unprecedented feature of the Aquino candidacy was the proliferation of campaign materials which, rather than being distributed free as the Marcos camp was doing, were for sale. Ambulant vendors were earning quite a sum through the sale of yellow memorabilia; Aquino’s campaign headquarters in strategic city centers were raking in as much as P45,000 ($2,200) a day from the proceeds of Cory stickers, dolls, hats, umbrellas, pins, and other campaign paraphernalia. The money certainly beefed up the campaign coffers but the more important effect was the sense of identification and participation in the Aquino-Laurel candidacy of people from all sectors. This proved invaluable in priming the people for the bigger, forth-coming struggle. The spontaneous popular mobilization and build-up would be sustained until the final confrontation with the dictatorship.”[137]
  • Gemma Almendral: “Two days before the end of the campaign period, the opposition called for a miting de avance (final rally) at the Luneta grandstand. Aquino leaders were apprehensive at first that they would be able to draw a crowd of respectable size. But their presidential candidate was adamant. ‘If we cannot fill up Luneta then this whole exercise is useless.’ She was right. The average estimate of the crowd which gathered that night was a million cheering, praying, and chanting Metro Manilans.”[138]
  • COMELEC went to great lengths to reduce the number of Cory votes come election time. Thousands of voters found their names missing from the lists. NAMFREL estimated that over a million people were unable to vote.[139]
  • Gemma Almendral: “. . . the evil scheme backfired—the disenfranchised were furious and with strengthened resolve pledged to escalate the struggle to topple the dictatorship. . . . The mass turnout of vigilant, determined, and angry citizens disproved the contention of skeptics that “nothing positive will come out of the February 7 polls.’ Instead of deodorizing the Marcos regime, the exercise unlocked the KBL’s Pandora’s box of deceit, fraud, and terrorism and exposed the fact that the House of Marcos was standing on quicksand. More importantly, the election afforded the people an appreciation of the value of moving together as one in pursuit of a common goal.”[140]
  • Gemma Almendral:  “. . . [Marcos] turned to his KBL-dominated Batassang Pambansa (Parliament) and had himself proclaimed President-elect on February 20 to render all other protests academic. The move triggered a heated debate and a walkout by 57 oppositionists in the Assembly. On the same day Aquino was similarly proclaimed in a ‘people’s victory rally’ at Rizal Park. Almost two million gathered that afternoon to affirm that ‘Cory is our only president’ and listen to her instructions for the civil disobedience campaign. . . . Aquino’s list of [crony] firms and products to be boycotted included San Miguel Beer and Coca-Cola two of the most popular drinks in the Philippines. Coke was easier to give up; San Miguel was the real test case of the move’s effectiveness. A day after the announcement, the stock exchange experienced a massive slump. Restaurants began cancelling orders for beer, coke, even ice cream. The banks in the list registered bank runs and other crony firms which felt they would be next in the escalating civil disobedience campaign, began to get nervous. For Filipinos abroad who were monitoring events closely, the apparent success of the campaign was the turning point.”[141]


  1. Saturday, February 22, 1986
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “The moves of the State against possible attackers had on this Saturday, February 22, already reached coup proportions. The Marcos government was set to strike outside and inside its ranks—outside, at Cory Aquino and her leading supporters; inside, at the military reformists headed by Enrile. Thus would Marcos avert a downfall that the February 7 polls had already decreed. Threatening to reimpose martial law should Cory call a nationwide strike, the strongman in Malacañang sneered: ‘We can handle anything they throw at us.’ And he assailed as the ‘acts of ungracious losers and of modern-day imperialists’ the propaganda campaign to demean his ‘victory.’ Nor was he shamefaced by the looming diplomatic boycott of his inaugural. It would be a huge show as usual at the Luneta. According to at least one report, more than twelve million pesos was being released to henchmen for the hauling in of truckloads of hakot crowds to turn the park into a sea of Marcos cheerers, the rates being from thirty to fifty pesos per head. Two couturiers—Ballestra the Latino and Pitoy the Moreno—had prepared the sumptuous gowns that Imelda would wear at the big bash. And round her, of course, would glitter the usual crony coterie in this year’s gold and diamonds.”[142]
  • On the morning of February 22, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile received a call from Trade Minister Bobby Ongpin, who told him that his (Ongpin’s) nineteen bodyguards were being rounded up. Enrile called his office and learned that the bodyguards had been caught with firearms in a restricted marine brigade area. Enrile had provided Ongpin with the bodyguard and found hints of a plot to implicate him in a coup d’etat. A coup would have justified his arrest and the arrest of all the young officers involved in the Reform the AFP Movement, “an activism fomented, it would transpire, by Minister Enrile.”[143] By lunch time, Colonel Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan and Colonel Eduardo “Red” Kapunan, both members of RAM, informed Enrile that General Fabian Ver, Marcos’ retired Chief of Staff, was organizing teams to round up RAM leaders. Faced with only two options—dispersing or regrouping, Enrile chose the latter as the “more honorable” of the two. He called his men to assemble at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, along EDSA. Lieutenant General Fidel V. Ramos, Ver’s supposed successor as Chief of Staff, joined Enrile at 6 o’clock. Enrile and Ramos held a press conference, stating that they had broken away from the Marcos regime. When asked if the media were invited to stay the night, Enrile said: “If you want, and if you want the experience of mortar fire. You are welcome to join us. We have no food . . .”[144] An hour after the press conference, Cardinal Sin spoke over Radio Veritas, beseeching listeners to go to support Enrile and Ramos: “Go to Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo. Lend your support to Enrile and Ramos and protect them. And bring them food, they have nothing to eat.”[145]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “In a trice entire families were racing to Camps Crame and Aguinaldo bearing pots of cooked rice and pans of pancit and trays of sandwiches for the two arch-rebs and their troops. First by the dozens, then by the hundreds, and then by the thousands, the Filipino people stormed the military gates with whatever offerings they could afford: bunches of bananas or sincamas, cans of biscuits, bags of balut, baskets of puto and bibingka, boxes of pizza. And having come, they stated. The people stayed on the stretch of highway running between the two camps. Hadn’t Cardinal Sin asked the faithful to support Enrile and Ramos and to protect them? ‘I would be happy if you could show them your solidarity and support,’ the Cardinal had said. ‘They have shown their idealism.’ And so these food-bringers camped out along the walls of the two camps and kept an eye on the troops deployed thereabouts. ‘Only,’ jested the campers, ‘instead of them protecting us, it’s we protecting them.’ The idea had spread that the State would not dare attack Camps Crame and Aguinaldo with the public camping out there on EDSA. Thus began the epic vigil on the highway during those four white nights of the tiger moon.”[146]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “Although he had heard that artillery was being mounted at the University of Life compounded to bombard Camp Aguinaldo, Enrile could not but feel confident that Marcos and Ver would think twice before shelling an area teeming with squatters of every ilk:  men and women, young and old, the worldly and the religious. Even professors and nuns and posh Makati villagers had turned into kanto boys and girls, hobnobbing on the pavement with farmer and fishwife. Not to mention the hordes of foreign correspondents, who dogged Enrile’s blue jeans. ‘The newsmen were with us, they asked if they could stay with us, and I said we would be happy but we had no facilities and they said: ‘We don’t care about conveniences, we just want to be around.’ And all the time people were streaming into the ministry building. People kept coming in and they told us that outside on the streets were hundreds of thousands, were millions, of people protecting us. And Radio Veritas was still calling on the public to come and protect the military rebels. And it was quite funny that we in the defense department who should be protecting the people were being protected by them.’”[147]
  • After the press conference, Enrile received a call from Cory Aquino, who was campaigning for civil disobedience in Cebu. She asked what happened, and if she could do anything, to which Enrile replied ‘Just pray for us.’”[148]
  • At eleven o’clock, Marcos held a press conference, attended only by his tuta press (most of the foreign press was at EDSA). He claimed that Enrile and Ramos were behind a plot to assassinate him and Imelda, and they only revolted because their treason was discovered. However, the people did not believe him. The Marcoses decided to push through with the inauguration on February 25 on Palace grounds instead of Luneta. Diplomats and foreign guests were not invited.[149]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “As midnight approached, the crowd that was expected to dwindle on EDSA seemed to be swelling instead. There weren’t hundreds of thousands there, much less millions, but a cautious estimate would place the crowd that kept vigil that first night at close to a hundred thousand. One reason for the eager turnout: it was such a beautiful night. A moon almost full made the ambience so lucid some people claimed they could read by its light; and the air was so brisk and crisp it was a delight to be out of doors. However, the size of the crowd was soon being proclaimed by the redolence of the nooks where nature’s calls were being answered, especially westward along the encampment walls where the shrubbery was dense. When the wind wafted from there, the crowd visibly winced. Nobody was being pompous or heroic about his camp out on ground threatened with bombardment. The priests and nuns and the pious were there from obedience; the other adults were simply anti-Marcos; for most of the young all this was just a lark.’”[150]
  1. Sunday, February 23, 1986
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “At 3:11 a.m. businessman Jaime Ongpin broadcast an appeal to ‘concerned citizens’ to assemble ‘in very large numbers’ at Camps Crame and Aguinaldo. ‘Large groups are a deterrent to violence,’ said Ongpin.”[151]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “As dawn approached, Enrile asked the media men and sympathizers who crowded his office on the third floor of the ministry to descend to the ground floor because there might be a helicopter attack on the building. Enrile recalls that so many people kept giving him rosaries and crucifixes that he found himself simply loaded with rosaries and crucifixes.”[152]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “Enrile and his forces moved out of Camp Aguinaldo as if in procession, accompanied by nuns chanting the rosary and freedom fighters carrying ikons of Our Lady. Upon emerging on the highway he was astounded by the crowd there. ‘We saw a sea of people shouting, shouting so loudly we felt at that point there was no way we could fail when we had the support of the people. That was the trend of my thoughts as I crossed the road. I could hardly squeeze through because the crowd was so thick.’ At Camp Crame he joined General Ramos on a fourth-floor terrace that afforded a panoramic view of the area around the two camps, from Ortigas to Santolan to Cubao. ‘And oh my God I was so amazed at the number of people in the area. And they were chanting and clapping and laughing and cheering for us!” Not so gladsome was what they saw beyond Ortigas: a column of seven tanks and a contingent of two marine battalions from Fort Bonifacio were rushing towards the camps.”[153]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “As Enrile saw it, the rebel position was to be crushed between two pincers closing in from Ortigas and Cubao. ‘But the assault fizzled out. Because of the people. The people stopped the tanks and the troops.’ In a drama that enraptured the free world, Filipino freedom fighters stopped the machinery of war with their unarmed bodies, with their smiles, with their prayers, and with songs, flowers, jokes and extreme unction.”[154]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “Restaurant supervisor Rolando A. Domingo went [to EDSA] for a look-see and found he could not get out anymore. He had already been to Camp Crame that Sunday morning and his ‘first glimpse of rebel soldiers’ was three jeeploads of fatigue-clad men flashing the L sign.
  • ■ Rolando Domingo: “The Camp Crame gate was festooned with banners and placards. Up in the cement guardhouse was a mix of civilians and soldiers with yellow ribbons tied to their weapons. The arms were not government-issued. From where I stood, I made out the familiar configurations of an Israeli-made Uzi, a Galil assault rifle, and a Belgian Fal. Each soldier had a Philippine flag stitched or taped to their sleeves, with the sun and stars at the bottom.”[155]
  • ■ Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “Rolando Domingo walked through the crowd listening to men with bullhorns urging people to mass either at the main gate on EDSA or at the 13th Avenue gate.”[156]
  • ■ Rolando Domingo: “I recognized a priest from Ateneo; he bought a bag of peanuts and threw it to the soldiers inside the camp, telling them to share it around. A man with a bag of buns began tossing the buns to the soldiers. Still another bought out the entire stock of a cigarette vendor and flung the packs over the gate. The soldiers were all smiles as they scampered to collect the cigarettes. Then loudspeakers boomed and the crowd applauded. The gates opened and above the massed heads waved the national flag. The crowd chanted: ‘Ra-mos! Ra-mos! Ra-mos!’ And the general appeared and read out the list of military sectors that had joined the rebellion.” That afternoon, towards three o’clock, after fetching a friend in Makati, Rolando Domingo returned to the scene at Crame.[157]
  • ■ Rolando Domingo: “On the way we passed a jeepload of marines, whom we cheered, thinking they were on their way to join the rebels. We overtook three jeeps, then four Eager-Beaver personnel-laden trucks, and then—to our shock—three tanks. Not tanks really but armored personnel carriers (APCs) big enough to carry at least twenty troops. They were so huge—as big as Love buses.Each had an ordinance load of at least one .50-caliber Browning machine-gun. And how fast they rolled! My car was doing 80 KPH as we overtook the last one. As they roared up the highway they threw up pieces of chipped pavement.”[158]
  • ■ Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “Domingo parked his car past the Shaw Boulevard underpass; he and his companion walked to where the APCs were disgorging their loads.”[159]
  • ■ Rolando Domingo: “Marines in jungle combat gear, not olive-drab fatigues but the light green uniforms whose colors are intended to blend with jungle foliage. They were not ammo belts but combat bandoliers designed to hold as many as ten 30-round combat clips. They lined up against a wall and inspected their rifles, really well-worn M-16s. Some even had incomplete slings and were just fastened to the shoulders with makeshift nylon straps. Another truck was pouring out a platoon of troops that looked even more elite and combat-experienced. These were Scout Ranger troopers wearing camouflage and terrifying firepower. One of them had M-60 cartridge link belts crisscrossing his chest. Another was unloading a bazooka while two companions pulled out wooden crates that I presumed contained the deadly rockets for the recoilless rifle. We hailed them: ‘Whose side are you on?’ They remained grim-faced. We flashed the Laban sign. They glanced toward their officers.”[160]
  • ■ Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “As Domingo and his companion approached the EDSA-Ortigas intersection they saw why the armored column had stopped. The crowd on EDSA had barricaded the intersection against the advancing tanks and troops.”[161]
  • ■ Rolando Domingo: “Five buses lined up in the center blocked the way and people were tearing at the pavement to make the road impassable. Suddenly, to my horror, I realized I stood in the path of an APC whose gears were in neutral. From the crowd came cries of ‘Sit down! Sit down! Everybody sit down so the soldiers can see how numerous we are!’ I sat down, I was in shock. Then somebody began leading the crowd in the praying of the rosary. It was a woman in white, kneeling in front of the tank. Others joined her. My companion pulled out her rosary. Newsmen were video-taping the scene as the woman in white prayed out loud, stressing the words ‘now and at the hour of our death.’ For the first time in years I felt a Presence. Somebody’s presence was very strong there.”
  • ■ Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “Then the commander of the troops signalled the tanks to turn right into the grassy vacant lot at the corner of the crossing. The people cheered. Then nuns stepped forward and mingled with the troops, trying to get them to talk. ‘Why don’t you answer?’ asked the nuns of the tight-lipped soldiers. At least one of them shyly answered: ‘We were ordered not to talk.’”[162]
  • ■ Rolando Domingo: “By now, sandbags blocked the highway all the way to the concrete road leading to White Plains. All around were people, entire families together, students in groups. The mood was tense but festive. Helicopter hovered overhead, flying so low we could see the troops on board waving to us. ‘They’re on our side,’ smiled everyone. I saw one Sikorsky gunship with rocket pods mounted on the side. It was already dark when we decided to go home. We walked back to my car only to find we couldn’t get out. We decided to spend the night on EDSA, as close to Camp Crame as possible, just in case the government troops attacked. That way, we would have enough time to figure out what to do. Food was never a problem. Those who kept vigil shared. Food-brigade vans and cars had sandwiches to dole out.”[163]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “UST Professor Elena Roco . . . cites as unforgettable the scene she beheld on Sunday afternoon when, going towards the highway from Santolan Road, she heard a pounding noise as of a thundering herd in flight and saw hundreds of thousands of people rushing along EDSA. At first you might think that a panic was on and that this wild mob was fleeing in terror. Actually these people were not running away from danger; rather were they running eagerly towards the danger! . . . The onrushing tanks had been sighted approaching Ortigas Avenue, mounted with huge fearful-looking guns, and the freedom fighters were racing to meet those guns—and to stop those tanks!”[164]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “One reason people took to the streets by the thousands was Mr. Marcos’ attempt to silence what had become the voice of freedom in the land: Radio Veritas. Radio Veritas was doing a marathon coverage of the rebellion, from the rebel camp especially, and orders were issued to stop the coverage. On Sunday morning, February 23, government troopers assaulted the Veritas radio station and destroyed fifty million pesos’ worth of equipment. Deprived of the coverage, they had been following so avidly, the city folk decided to go to EDSA and see the uprising for themselves. As it turned out, Radio Veritas was silenced only for a while. Using emergency facilities, it was able to resume its broadcasts. It wasn’t the only voice the fascists wanted to silence; there was a threat to raid the offices of the opposition press, and, from Saturday on, the staffers of the Inquirer, which had become the biggest newspaper in town, sat on pins and needles, awaiting the rapping of a rifle butt on the door. A later revelation is that, even before the revolt, Mr. Marcos’s information officer, Gregorio Cendaña, already had plans to move not only against the opposition press but also against the tuta papers, to make sure that editors strictly toed the Marcos line.”[165]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “Alas that on Sunday, February 23, the Marcos line had become ‘Tama na! Sobra na! Palitan na.’ On EDSA the scene had become a rhapsody in yellow. Almost everyone was in yellow shirt or skirt, or wore a yellow ribbon round the head. Vendors made a killing selling yellow ribbons for a peso or two. A grotesque item was the yellow hat in the form of a hand flashing the L sign. The song heard on all sides was Ang Bayan Ko, the anthem of this revolution against fascism; but there was also a curious revival of an oldie from the 1950s: the political ditty called Mambo Mambo Magsaysay. And of course the young ones were always ready to give out with Tie a Yellow Ribbon.”
  • Leah Navarro (singer): “Winnie Monsod and Tita Techie Velasquez and I linked hands and the three of us were the first to approach the tanks. My heart was pounding and I had to fight down this great desire to cry. I was really scared. There were 50-mm machine guns staring at us. I said to a soldier in a tank: ‘Boss, wouldn’t you like to come down here? It must be hot in there.’ But he said: ‘No, ma’am, we have air-con here.’ Other people had joined us and were talking to the troops. Somebody had thought of bringing a cassette and was playing the appeal of General Ramos. One very brave lady climbed up the lead tank and sat down on top of it. The soldiers begged her to go down but she only asked them to light her cigarette. Then she called to the people on the ground to give the soldiers food. We were asking the troops to join us, to listen to Ramos, and we offered to tie yellow ribbons to their tanks, but they kept their mouths shut.”[166]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “Some of those at Ortigas actually tried to push back the oncoming tanks—an effort that had foreigners snorting in awe: ‘Those crazy Filipinos!’ Someone saw Vickie Perez de Tagle on a ‘head-on collision’ with an APC pressing her hands hard against the tank while the soldier manning the tank watched her with tears streaming down his cheeks. Sonia Roco led another ‘tank-repelling’ group but what made their tank hesitate was a cry to the soldier visible on top of it: ‘Sonny, your mother is down here!’ Sonia, who’s Mrs. Raul Roco, was one of the ladies who organized a food brigade when the rebellion started. She and her neighbors set up a chicken-and-rice table at Gate 4 at Camp Aguinaldo.”[167]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “When the tanks kept coming on the people began lying down on the road. Then those behind would rush forward to protect those who had lain down. It was amazing to see how, with no one directing them, the crowd moved in  unison, making it impossible for the tanks to proceed without running over people. When the tanks swerved from the center of the highway as if intending to detour to the right of it by smashing through some subdivision walls, the crowd rushed to block the detour as well.”[168]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “Christine Araneta was with the blockaders linked arm to arm on Ortigas and they had vowed not to break this kapit bisig while the tanks advanced. Then here came the tanks, closer and closer, until Christine Araneta could feel on her face the heat of the armored vehicles. Louder and louder roared the approaching tanks until it seemed as if it was the blockaders themselves who were screaming in terror—and yet the linking of arm to arm was not broken. Nobody fled or collapsed; everybody stayed put, ready to go under the wheels of the onrushing machines of war. And then the tanks stopped. . . . Christine Araneta remembers a group of girls going off to carry flowers to the tanks. She remembers nuns and priests leading in the singing of Immaculate Mother as they slowly inched their way closer to the soldiers, to whom they were presently offering flowers and rosaries. Among those who summoned up enough courage to approach and address the troops was Letty Garcia Gonzalez, who works at Citibank. She was carrying a crucifix and the crowd opened up as she was pushed forward so she could hold the crucifix in front of the troops.”[169]
  • Letty Garcia Gonzalez: “When I was face to face with the marines I found myself tongue-tied but I forced myself to speak. I greeted each of them with a ‘Peace, brod.’ They all looked very young, under twenty, and I told them that the Lord loved them and that we, all the people there, loved them too. I kept repeating ‘Peace, brod,’ because it seemed the most effective thing I could say. One of the marines, looking embarrassed, explained that they were merely following orders. After that I felt easier about talking to them. I told them I was the mother of two small boys and I had come all the way from Las Piñas, leaving one of my sons sick in bed; but I felt I had to come to EDSA at the call of our country and share in the general concern. I told them my husband was out of the country, working in a foreign land because he could not get a decent job in his own country. I’m afraid I broked down and cried in front of the marines I begged them not to hurt us who were risking our lives to recover our freedom, our liberties, our democracy. I urged them to join us instead.” [The crowd around Letty started flashing the Laban sign while singing Ang Bayan Ko] “I raised my crucifix higher as my tears started falling again but I found myself singing louder. At around six p.m. the tanks began moving again and the crowd hurried on their guard and they stopped the people from approaching the tanks. I clutched the arm of the marine in front of me and begged him to let me pass through. He lowered his arm and I quickly slipped past him towards the tanks and the crowd followed me. When we stood before the advancing tanks we got goose-pimples listening to their loud engines. I had resigned myself to whatever fate awaited me and I commended my spirit to the Lord. Then I stood before the tanks and raised my crucifix high as I cried to the drivers of the tanks: ‘Brod, peace be with you! Brod, God loves you! Brod, we love you! Peace, brod!’ The people were surging around the moving tanks and dusk was falling. Then we heard the officers ordering the tanks to retreat to Shaw Boulevard. We followed joyfully as the tanks turned around and we all kept shouting: ‘Peace, brod! We love you, brod! Jesus loves you, brod!’ —until the last tank had retreated from Ortigas.”[170]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “. . . rubble and rocks and what-not were being piled up on the intersection at Ortigas. Buses were hailed to a stop, emptied of passengers, and parked across the way as roadblocks. People hammed their cars at that crossing and all along Ortigas Avenue to prevent passage to Santolan. Said an onlooker of a smart new car being parked in the middle of the street to block it: ‘What a pity. That car must be worth a lot.” Shrugged the owner: ‘Some things are worth more.’ At half-past three that afternoon General Tadiar had issued an ultimatum that if the blockaders didn’t clear off within thirty minutes the tanks would ram through them and proceed on their way to attack Camp Aguinaldo. The ultimatum panicked no one. When the thirty minutes had passed the blockaders were still at the barricades. Some of the marines manning the tanks said they had been fighting in the jungles of Bicolandia and Zamboanga when hurriedly flown to Manila and given the assignment to take Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo.”[171]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “After the retreat of the tanks, the crowd thinned out at the Ortigas intersection but not for a moment throughout the night were the barricades there 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, Rose Osmeña and Linda Garcia—had 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 Marcos had added to his list of fakes when the ‘concerned’ artists and writers who supported him were rewarded with ‘Rolex’ watches faked in Taiwan. How Franz Arcellana of the U.P. and the Tiempos of Silliman were—repeatedly but unsuccessfully—wooed to head that assemblage of ‘concerned’ artists and writers. 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—in stark contrast to the brawny superstars who, onscreen, champion the masses against their exploiters, but who, offscreen, prefer the exploiters to the masses. 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 General Ramos had become ‘the Nora Aunor of the Revolution,’ cheered and mobbed everywhere he went by people wanting to touch and kiss him.”[172]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “Though the marines had retreated they made their presence felt through the night by repeatedly firing into the air. This violent method of ‘psyching’ the public should have been successful, since weariness and sleeplessness could not but make the vigilantes highly sensitive to repeated shocks of fear. And yet those shocks failed to make the people abandon their watch, people who knew their vigilance would earn them no medals.”[173]
  1. Monday, February 24, 1986
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “What began this Monday was first, bad news, and then good news—but the good news turned out to be bad too. The tidings of great alarm were of a tear-gas assault to clear EDSA of barricades and blockaders. The tidings of great joy were that Mr. Marcos had fled to Guam. . . . Above the twin camps hovered two fighter planes as Enrile and Ramos spoke to rapturous crowds dancing on the highway.”[174]
  • Juan Ponce Enrile: “. . . Commander Jardiniano of the navy, who was in charge of the naval combat ships, sent word that they too were supporting our efforts. Suddenly the balance of forces had swung to our side. That same morning, between half-past seven and eight o’clock, there was a radio broadcast to the effect that the President had left the Palace. And so we became jubilant. We were embracing each other, we were crying on each other’s shoulders. Then we went out to deliver speeches. We went forth to address the people.”[175]
  • Juan Ponce Enrile: “All of a sudden we learned that Channel 4 was broadcasting about the President being still in the Palace. We checked the information and learned that Marcos was indeed still in Malacañang. So what happened was that I instructed General Ramos to send a team to take over Channel 4—and that was done very well by Col. Santiago & Co. And in the meantime we sent a helicopter attack group to fly over Malacañang and hit the area with rockets. there were twelve helicopters to hit the area rockets but our orders were not to hit the palace itself because we did not want to harm the president.”[176]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “But that innocuous raid would bring out in Marcos the hysterical coward who screamed that his family was ‘cowering in terror in the Palace.’ Wasn’t it about time they cowered?”[177]
  • Joby Provido [a commerce senior in La Salle at that time]: “At five o’clock Monday morning my mother was banging on my door with tears in her eyes. ‘The tanks are coming!’ she cried. ‘They’re going to tear-gas the people!’ I jumped out of bed and put on what clothes I could grab. The people on Radio Veritas were telling what to do in case of a tear-gas raid and they were asking all those who lived near Crame to bring wet handkerchiefs. I gathered towels and handkerchiefs, anything that was cloth, and put them in a pail of water. My parents were calling up neighbors, asking them to do the same.”[178]
  • Joby Provido: “Nuns, priests and seminarians formed the front line [at the Camp Crame side gate on the Santolan corner of Third Avenue], to soften the hearts of the attacking troops. We were moving around distributing wet cloth while the crowd prayed the rosary. After each mystery a priest would brief us on what to do during the attack. Suddenly three helicopters swooped down over our heads. The crowd became tense, no one knew what to expect. There were seven helicopters in all, according to reports, but we could see only three in delta (or triangle) formation. . . . We could see their mounted machine guns pointing downward. The crowd prayed louder, the religious continued singing. Then it happened. The lead helicopter waved a white flag! The others did the same. The soldiers on the choppers leaned out to flash the Laban sign. The multitude went wild! People were laughing and crying and hugging each other. A sort of miracle had likewise happened at Libis (the other end of Santolan Street) which had been tear-gassed. But when the troops threw the horrid gas the wind abruptly changed and blew the gas back to the troops! Some soldiers had to be rushed to the clinic to be treated. . . . Then they descended and made a landing on the parade grounds. As the men stepped out of the iron birds they saluted towards headquarters, maybe in honor of General Ramos and the flag there. Coincidentally, Radio Veritas was at that moment announcing that a large part of the Philippine Air Force had defected to the rebel side. The transmitter of Veritas had been bombed by the loyalists but June Keithley was using DZRB (104.1 MH) as a substitute station. I must say this was a smiling revolution indeed, especially when the news spread that Mr. Marcos had fled the country. People went into a frenzy cheering and dancing.”[179]
  • Joby Provido: “People posed in front of tanks and helicopters to have their picture snapped on this momentous occasion. Then Enrile and Ramos appeared in front of headquarters for a victory speech. Ramos kept jumping with joy. Enrile introduced Colonel Gringo Honasan, who had discovered in the nick of time the orders of Malacañang to round up Enrile and Ramos and their men. . . . There they spoke from the roof of a white Ford Fiera, which later collapsed from their weight. Rejoicing turned into confusion when Crame announced that Marcos was alive and well and still in Malacañang. The false news of his flight must have been just a ploy to demoralize loyalist troops. Marcos countered it by appearing on TV.”[180]
  • June Keithley, a Radio Veritas disk jockey who covered EDSA, received at least twelve phone calls claiming that Marcos had fled, landed in Guam, and appeared on TV in San Francisco. One caller claimed to be a representative of the Presidential Security Command. Keithley also got calls from Cory Aquino and Ramos to the same effect. Then it turned out that the reports of Marcos’ departure were false.[181]
  • A friend of June Keithley: “[June] was so depressed because she took her role as a broadcaster very seriously. She had been responsible for all the euphoria and now she was responsible for all the disillusion and despair. . . . She was about to leave at half-past eleven when there was an urgent phone call for her. The caller did not identify himself but warned her not to go home because she was going to be picked up. At once her colleagues gathered around June and she went down eight flights of stairs (use of elevators had been banned) surrounded and protected by a host of ‘bodyguards.’  Instead of going home she went to her sister-in-law’s place. June now realized that she had to stay alive, no matter what, because without meaning to, she had become a rallying point.”[182]
  • Bert Tajonera [business executive at that time]: “. . . [at three o’clock in the morning on Santolan road, White Plains side] even sixty-year-old women, my mother’s mahjong barkada, stuck it out there. Even when hit by tear gas, they would not move back. They just lay down on the ground, weeping and wailing, but still stubbornly forming a human barricade. So the soldiers were ordered to advance with fixed bayonets. The bayonets were supposed to scare off the people. And while brandishing their bayonets, the soldiers were bidden to ‘Sugod! Sugod!’ But they couldn’t advance because of the human barricade, on which they just didn’t wish to use their bayonets. Then they got orders to throw more tear gas at the crowd, but the soldiers didn’t have masks either and when, maybe with God’s help, the wind started blowing the gas back at them, the soldiers started crying, too.”[183]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): At half-past three o’clock a.m. some UP guys were at the junction of EDSA and Ortigas when an army truck came cruising along, apparently on a surveillance mission. ‘There were only about a hundred people in the human barricade there. Word was out that Marcos would order an attack at dawn. So the crowd—made up of nuns, seminarians, ROTC U.P. Vanguard guys, and other brave souls—carried rocks from the ADB building construction site on EDSA. The rocks were heavy but the battle cry of ‘Isang bato para kay Marcos!’ helped. There was a payloader at the construction site but the watchmen there didn’t have the keys to it, so the payloader was pushed all the way to the intersection at Ortigas. The right lane of the highway had buses and cars blocking it. The left lane now had the payloader, some cars, and the rocks carried there and piled up—producing a formidable looking barricade. But there were only about a hundred people there and two tanks were coming!’”[184]
  • Bert Tajonera: “The seminarians made the flag-bearers and all the women line up in front—right in front of the barricade. The strategy was to have women in the vanguard so they could talk to the soldiers first. Then the gentlemen were lined up in kapit-bisig formation. When everybody was in place, there were only three rows of people! So composed of the UP Diliman guys and their battle cry was ‘Onward Christian soldiers and one Muslim!’ They asked a seminarian to start prayers. The seminarian, visibly shaking, could only mutter: ‘Later! Later!’ But, in the kapit-bisig formation, one could feel each other’s pulsating heartbeats and everybody knew it was time to pray—NOW!’”[185]
  • The tanks reached the first row of the barricade before retreating. The crowd was jubilant, but their celebrations were short-lived: they heard Enrile say on the radio that two armored personal carriers were coming to Ortigas. But when the APCs arrived, they also turned around and retreated. “At the makeshift barrier of bus, car, payloader and rock, where doom had twice been jilted, exulting cadet and nun, coed and philosopher, clapped their hands and danced to the rising sun.”[186]
  • A little after 8 a.m., tuta media station Channel 4 goes off air as the MBS-4 compound over by the “New Armed Forces of the People”, as Ramos called them. An hour later, loyalist troops were deployed along Panay and Bohol avenues in the Channel 4 neighborhood. Shots were fired, and the people who had come to get a good view scampered off to safety. A little before 11 a.m., priests conferred with the Marcos loyalist commanders in the area. The commanders said they wanted to join the revolution, and the crowd responded with cheers. The soldiers were terrified when they saw the crowd surging down Panay Avenue towards them, but the people only embraced them and cheered for them.[187]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “The cheer is ‘Mabuhay ang mga bagong sundalo ng Pilipinas!” The soldiers then bring out from the OMA building huge portraits of Marcos and his wife, which they drop from the wall into the crowd.”[188]
  • Midweek Magazine: “In an instant the portraits are torn from their frames and people jostle for a chance to stomp on the portraits. Some try to tear the portraits to pieces but the canvas is too tough for bare hands. Others cry: ‘Burn them! Burn them!’ But the portraits won’t burn either. Says one man in awe: ‘They won’t burn! Even the devil won’t have them!’ He then pours gasoline on the portrait of Imelda Marcos, crying: ‘If this still doesn’t work. . .’ There is no controlling the crowd. Some spit on Imelda’s portrait and others jeer to see that the first thing the flames do is create a big searing hole in her pelvis. ‘There!’ they cry. ‘She is pierced indeed!’”[189]
  • Some 20 loyalist troops were holed up in a house along Panay Avenue and at the MBS compound’s rear entrance. When the crowd rushed over, the loyalists were disconcerted and refused to surrender, afraid of being lynched. Priests suggest getting women to talk to the soldiers. More than four dozen women walk into the compound to negotiate. The soldiers are given sandwiches, and are assured that no harm will come to them. People in kapit-bisig formation clear a way for them.[190]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “By one o’clock p.m. the battle is over: Channel 4 has been liberated by the women, who were shocked to find the troops utter babies, most of them flown in from Iloilo and other southern points, and all unaware of what was happening in Manila and therefore pitifully scared as they asked: ‘What’s to happen to us?’”[191]
  • Midweek Magazine: “Personnel from Radio Veritas march to Channel 4 chanting hymns to the Immaculate Mother. One car holds aloft something that looks like the Vatican flag, whose color is coincidentally yellow. A crowd forms behind an image of the Virgin of Fatima, making the whole affair look like a religious procession. . . . A call for help is aired and by three o’clock p.m. hundreds of people have massed around the compound. The soldiers guarding the gates have apparently received more food than they can consume and start throwing out sandwiches, biscuits and cigarettes to the hungry crowd. Liberation, it seems, must eventually mean liberation from hunger, a primary concern.”[192]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “The sea of people tiding on EDSA and its side streets from Santolan to Ortigas was jittery with rumors of still another tank attack. Joby noted that his elders, to calm their nerves, played cards or mahjong, with the radio constantly turned on to the news.
  • Joby Provido: “Then it came. A news reporter ran through the crowd shouting: ‘Tanks! Tanks! Tanks are coming!’ If he thought the crowd would scatter in terror he must have been surprised by how quickly we formed into lines, linking arm to arm and marching forward to meet the tanks. We heard the heavy rumble of mechanical chains. Loud clicking and clacking sounds filled the air. Nuns and priests threw themselves in front of the metal monsters. They knelt down and with arms outstretched prayed the rosary and sang hymns. The tanks stopped. It was a breathless moment. No one knew what to expect. Then from nowhere appeared a man running towards the tanks. People thought he was crazy. When he reached the lead tank he put a rose in its nozzle!”[193]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “That gesture broke the tension and started everybody smiling and laughing.
  • Joby Provido: “Cigarette vendors went up to the tanks and offered cigarettes to the soldiers: ‘Boss, yosi muna tayo!’ People crowded around with offerings of sandwiches, candies, fruit juices in cups. Priests could be seen moving around the tanks, blessing them. But a couple of hours passed before finally the top hatch of one of the tanks opened and out came the soldiers weeping, the tears streaming down their cheeks. Soon they were eating what the people offered them. Maybe they had not totally conceded, but they knew these people were their brothers . . . brother Filipinos!”[194]
  • Midweek Magazine: “While Quezon City seems to be the country’s liberated area, in Manila the situation is still under the control of the Marcos loyalists. But people power is also very much in evidence as the Mendiola barricades are stripped of barbed wire while unarmed policemen just look on. The barbed wire is turned into spiked crowns symbolic of Lent and makeshift weapons to wield against the enemy.”[195]
  • At ten minutes past 8 p.m., Marcos went on TV, declaring that he would lead an army against Enrile and Ramos if the revolution persisted. He also threatened to impose a curfew from dusk to dawn. Next to him were Imelda, their children, and their respective families. Absent, however, were the military men who were behind him in previous telecasts during the revolution.[196]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “And just as vivid a sign of his erosion was the indifference of the public to his announcement of a six-to-six dusk-to-dawn curfew, which was hailed only as another chance to practise ‘civil disobedience.’ The curfew crowds roaming all over downtown Manila as well as the wide-open fleshpots of the Tourist Belt were just as large as the hordes of concerned citizens manning EDSA and Santolan and Ortigas, not to mention the equally militant sectors of San Rafael and Mendiola and Legarda and the Santa Mesa rotonda.”[197]
  • Rolando Domingo: “At quarter to eight o’clock a.m. an atmosphere absolutely festive. People promenading along EDSA from Crame to Ortigas, and back again. At 10:00 a.m. a sort of parade going on. As cars parked diagonally along the EDSA embankment, folk from business offices started marching in groups. Three Meralco service trucks led the government-utilities contingent. then I heard a Meralco man in service uniform saying: ‘Hey, we’ll be beaten by what comes next!’ And what came next was the PLDT (Philippine Long Distance Telephone) contingent: twenty yellow Fieras overtaking the Meralco convoy in a joyful flash of Laban signs and Cory shouts.”[198]
  • Rolando Domingo: “Helicopters constantly flew to and fro above the two camps and were as constantly cheered by the people. There were now four choppers inside Crame. I clambered up the wall and saw them on the parade grounds. Seeing other people going over the wall and running to the aircraft, I did the same, not wanting to miss anything. I ran to touch the Hueys and Sikorskys, thrilling all over as I touched them. I was like a kid, we were all like kids. I even heard one guy say, rather playfully: ‘Hey, look, are they giving away firearms?’ Then, at around four o’clock p.m., a bullhorn warned that spies were infiltrating the camp and the public was requested to clear out. We obliged.”[199]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “By eleven o’clock [p.m.] Irwin Ver (the general’s son) was saying that the President had found the right solution. If EDSA had people power, Malacañang too could have people power. The president had asked for people with firearms to assemble in Malacanñang and show the other side that Marcos also commanded people power. Alas, what he drew to the Palace grounds looked pitiful compared to the multitudes on EDSA.”[200]
  1. Tuesday, February 25, 1986
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “Sleepless were a lot of people during the small hours of Tuesday. That Marcos D-Day (or Doomsday) began with midnight fireworks because persisting rumors of his fall and flight prompted many to celebrate by exploding rockets and firecrackers.”[201]
  • Joby Provido: “Midnight to dawn were the crucial hours, the time most likely for the loyalist troops to attack. To preserve our energy we rested from eight p.m. to midnight. Some catnapped, others played cards, but we were all alert. At midnight the U.P. students led us in group singing, to keep us awake. At three a.m. we prayed the rosary before the image of the Blessed Virgin my mother had brought. . . . We were disturbed to hear that ‘men in civilian clothes’ were being deployed in Horseshoe Village and at the residence of Jolly Benitez. DZRB confirmed this report. Horseshoe was a hundred meters away but the house of Mr. Benitez was within our view. Could these ‘men in civilian clothes’ be goons imported from Tarlac by Cojuangco?”[202]
  • Joby Provido: “Then we saw two headlights in the distance. We couldn’t make out what it was, but judging from the speed of the engine we were certain it was a truck. As it came closer its outline became more distinct against the dark-blue of the sky. It was a six-wheeler—with people aboard. ‘Kapit bisig!’ came the order. We scrambled to our battle stations. Had the enemy troops come at last? Just when it was a false alarm. The truckload was just vigilantes making the rounds. . . . Three hours  and two more false alarms later, dawn came at last. We were all set to go home, to our enticing and comfortable beds,but the radio urged all vigilantes to stay at their post until replaced. Reports of an impending attack were still going around and so we stood our ground, to finish what we had begun.”[203]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “It was five o’clock Tuesday morning when Marcos and Imelda got their respective replies from [U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt (an intimate of President Ronald Reagan) and Nancy Reagan]. So, from dawn of D-Day, both of them knew that the jig was up and they would soon be fleeing. But they chose to go through the farce of an inaugural—to the cruel deception and then disillusion of their followers. Afterwards a tuta newspaper of theirs would editorially wonder why the Marcoses chose to flee ‘like a thief in the night’ when, by being honest and open about it, they might have made a more graceful exit.”[204]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “The first opposition win on Tuesday was the retaking of Camp Aguinaldo with nary a shot fired. The garrison there simply marched out and away. So Enrile returned to his office in the ministry building. The human blockade on EDSA had become even denser but the ambiance there was peaceful, even festive, unlike in the area off Malacañang, where sporadic street fighting was breaking out. When Corita Barranco returned to that scene there was a lull in the action but flame and smoke made Sampaloc streets look like actual battlefields; and the UST profesora felt that war might explode any moment as she crossed to a sidewalk.”[205]
  • Corinta Barranco [English professor at UST at that time]: “Everyone looked angry and tense. One felt that fury the moment one entered the University Belt. It had an atmosphere of danger. Yet people on foot and people in cars kept arriving. They were not to be scared away by any danger. Yet people on foot and people in cars kept arriving. They were not to be scared away by any danger, real or imagined. I saw some of my UST students manning the barricades (mostly made of torn-down movie billboards) at the Morayta-Recto corner. They said the situation was touch-and-go. Me, I very strongly felt that the crowds at all the Sampaloc barricades were ready to hurl themselves bodily against Malacañang if the Palace should dare to try and crush them. ‘Patay kung patay!’ as we say. Tanks, troops and all the might of Ver’s forces were not going to stop them. These rebels were teetering on the edge of disaster—or maybe of heroism. But they were not going to be held back for long. That was plain to see.”
  • Cory had flown back to Manila from Cebu on the afternoon of Sunday, February 23. Upon seeing the tanks and troops headed towards the two camps, her advisers decided to take her to her elder sister Josephine Reyes’ house in Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. She stayed there until her inauguration as President at Club Filipino in Greenhills just a few blocks away on Tuesday, February 25, at 10:46 a.m.[206]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “Originally scheduled for around eight o’clock a.m. the inaugural had been set back two hours as a call went out to the people to surround the site of the inaugural just in case Mr. Marcos should try to disrupt it. By ten o’clock a.m. the crowd was packed so tight around Club Filipino in the Greenhills shopping district that Mr. Marcos himself would have found it impossible to slip through—alive.”[207]
  • Rolando A. Domingo: “From Crame I walked to Club Filipino, where the inauguration was to take place. Reformist soldiers were helping direct traffic away from Club Filipino to the parking areas. By about nine a.m. people had rimmed the entire area around the Club Filipino compound. Friends chatted, cameras clicked away, people cheered the eminent walking up the driveway. Then a brass band came joyously marching up the road. Everybody cheered as it belted out such favorites as Bayan Ko and Tie A Yellow Ribbon. It even played Dixie, to catch the attention of an American news team. People mobbed them, marveling at their weapons. One very young soldier held up his Uzi to show off where a yellow ribbon was tied to its muzzle.”
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila) “By ten o’clock the parking lots of Unimart were crowded Rolando A. Domingo decided to walk back to Crame, where he found soldiers newly arrived from Batangas manning the gates, He listened to Cory’s inauguration over the loudspeaker at Crame.”[208]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “. . . if the crowd inside the club was ‘stuffily middle class and upper class,’ the multitude outside was not exclusively proletarian, being as stuffily packed with the middle class and the upper class, all of them perfectly willing to stand patiently—and yes, humbly—out in the sun and wait. Their limousines were huddled on Ortigas as roadblocks. This was one time when ‘the people’ meant the whole of Philippine society and those ‘mainly responsible for the success of the revolution’ were Filipinos in totality, not just this class or that class, whether upper or lower.”[209]
  • Midweek Magazine: “[In the evening] Thousands of people jam the Santa Mesa rotonda and spill into J. Laurel, which leads to Malacañang. Hundreds cram onto the overpass while others watch from the windows of buildings. A tank and an armored personnel carrier block all access to Nagtahan Bridge, and the crowd stays about fifteen meters from the soldiers, with a row of barbed wire between them. Carrying food and water, three men approach the soldiers, who meet them with applause. Thinking the soldiers have been won over, people move closer to the barrier of barbed wire. they back off when others in the crowd appeal to them to stay clear of the barrier. A few minutes later we see eight truckloads of marines moving from the direction of Malacañang on J. Laurel toward Nagtahan Bridge.”[210]
  • Lino Brocka: “At Malacañang it was now advance and now retreat. Stones were raining from the Marcos loyalists trapped inside the Palace grounds; they didn’t know their president had run out on them. What’s embarrassing to mention is the vanity you just can’t take away from the Pinoy. In the midst of all that stoning and stampede, the moment camera lights flashed, we all froze, those in front kneeling down so as not to cover those behind, and everybody grinning and flashing the L sign. Pa-picture! Afterwards, on with the blood, on with the riot! How brave really is the Pinoy, with a gun or without.”[211]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “At 9:05 p.m. the fleeing Marcoses and their party were airlifted to Clark Air Base on four helicopters provided by the U.S. embassy. According to some accounts, the refugees crossed the Pasig by boat and boarded the helicopters in Malacañang Park. Mr. Marcos wore a hat and a long-sleeved white shirt. He had originally requested passage for thirty persons; the finally list numbered 89. At Clark he got a ‘welcome’ from hundreds of Angelenos who massed at the main gate of the base to chant ‘Co-ree! Co-ree! Co-ree!’ while a convoy of some fifty vehicles held a noise barrage for twenty minutes along the base’s perimeter fence. Like a flash of lightning in Manila sped the report that the tyrant had fled at last. And like thunder reverberated the rapture of the metropolis.”[212]
  • Corinta Baranco: “We couldn’t believe it, it seemed too good to be true, we had to be very sure! At Channel 4 the crowd was packed solid. Then the volunteer announcers and entertainers made a public appearance to confirm the good news and lead the crowd in song and prayer and celebration. Of course we felt we had to go to Malacañang. But driving there was difficult with all the streets jammed up with celebrating throngs. It was as if all the New Years of the 20-year dictatorship had been saved up for this one hysterical outpouring of delight over a people’s liberation. It’s impossible to describe the wild joy of people driving round and round in all types of vehicles, shouting, waving banners, greeting each other with the Laban sign. Everywhere shone the Philippine flag. The KBL had appropriated it as their symbol; now the people took back what was rightfully theirs. The hordes on the streets were giving away food and drink they had prepared for what everyone thought would be a long siege. Despite the public exuberance, there was no dangerous wildness. That night the streets of Manila were really safe!”[213]
  • Joby Provido: “It was as if the whole world was suddenly shouting. We ran over to Crame. The multitudes there were delirious with joy. People were jumping, dancing, crying, hugging, kissing, and everyone was shouting the name of Cory. On Mendiola, the loyalists in the Palace and the crowds outside were throwing stones at each other. Then the crowds got through the barbed wire and fist fights ensued. Blood flowed. The mob was beating up a loyalist until a man in yellow yelled: ‘Stop that! He’s a Filipino too!’ And the mob rushed their victim to an ambulance. How glorious was that night. Ninoy Aquino had shown us the way, Cardinal Sin had backed us up, and Cory led us to victory. This was the first revolution to be won with prayers, flowers and love. To Marcos’s ‘smiling martial law,’ the answer was this mass action that Cardinal Vidal called ‘the smiling revolution.’”[214]
  • Midweek Magazine: “Sparklers and roman candles light up the night, and confetti litter the streets. Tires are burning in the Timog area, where traffic is impossible. Hundreds of thousands of people line the streets, cheering motorists on both lanes. On Bohol Avenue, in front of Channel 4, exhausted vigilantes sleep on cardboard, unmindful of the jubilation. Along Tomas Morato it’s business as usual in the beer gardens. Not a few people are shouting ‘Independence Day!’ and ‘Happy New Year!’ Young people bring out the stereo and start blasting out rock music and dancing in the streets.”[215]
  • Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila): “Word that troops and loyalists left behind in Malacañang are looting it starts a general rush to the Palace.”[216]
  • Rolando Domingo: “My first impression was of a Mardi Gras. Two girls were dancing on top of my car. Inside the Palace my impression was that it was all decorated with capiz shell. Every room was a mess. People pushed and shoved—and looted. Finally I simply refused to go any farther; I just stood there and let my eyes absorb what there was to be seen. Two people were hurrying away with a valuable-looking frame, the portrait in it torn out. A man in sandals held a box of vegetables high above his head. A group was hastily bundling up what looked like dresses or curtains. A man was hiding a handful of M-16 magazine clips under his jacket. There were soldiers around by they made no move to stop the looters. They just milled around in a daze. I left early. Of my vigils, this at Malacañang was the shortest—and the most shocking.”[217]
  • Corinta Baranco, on the “second wave” to hit the Palace: “The gates were open but people were clambering over the fence, impatient to get inside. Branches had been broken off from the trees along the fence and carried away as souvenirs. Everyone wanted a souvenir of this visit to Malacañang. Fortunately, by then, the Palace had been secured by General Ramos’s men and the looting had stopped. Through a window I caught a glimpse of the famous chandeliers, all ablaze, as if the former tenants were still there. On the balcony where Marcos had addressed a paid audience at noon now stood a poster of Cory and Doy. People were milling around, wreaking havoc on the manicured lawns. I thought: If Imelda could see thi she’d faint! A group of boys had climbed on top of two tanks to have their picture taken. Everyone was taking pictures. A movie billboard propped on a gate now read: Marcos, Isusumpa Mo Ang Araw Nang Isilang Ka! Outside on Mendiola, in front of San Beda, a crowd was praying the rosary in thanksgiving before an image of Mary.”[218]
  1. Aftermath
  • Patricio Abinales and Donna Amoroso: “In 1989, a statue of Mary, Queen of Peace, was consecrated near the spot where marines loyal to the government had waited for orders that facing the outer perimeter of the crowd during the 1986 uprising. Known as Our Lady of Edsa Shrine, it is a symbol of the “Edsa Revolution” that brought down a dictator. It has also become a natural place to rally against other threats to democracy. In the years following the Philippines’ revolution, the country came to look like a trendsetter in popular democracy movements worldwide—the Palestinian intifada, 1987; Tiananmen Square, 1989; Rangoon, 1989; Warsaw, Prague, and Berlin, 1989; and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, 1991. Much public writing at the time discussed the phenomenon of ‘people power,’ giving the Philippines a special place in the wave of ‘democratization’ taking place.”[219]
  • Patricio Abinales and Donna Amoroso: “Within the Philippines, the Edsa Revolution was symbolic of the brotherhood and sisterhood of the nation. This was evident in the much-remarked-upon mingling of classes on Edsa Boulevard, the united action of church and society, businesses’ donation of food to the ralliers, ralliers handing packets of rice through the gates to the rebels, and nationwide support for Corazon Aquino, the country’s ‘Tita (Auntie) Cory.’ The Edsa Revolution represented a spiritual unity to rival the 1896 Revolution.”[220]
  • Patricio Abinales and Donna Amoroso: “These memories of people power are true to the symbolic life of the nation, but we should also remember what people power was not, in the political sense. It was not an act of unmediated love of nation or a dissolving of social divisions. Filipinos came to Edsa as members of social forces opposing the dictatorship in varying degrees for varying lengths of time—as student activists, Catholics, business executives, or urban-poor leaders. People power was not the result of consensus among those social forces, for the revolution was sparked by mistakes made by Marcos (calling the election) and the action of one opposition force (RAM’s coup). It did not include all the social forces opposing Marcos, for it had little relevance to the Muslims and represented a defeat of sorts for the Communist Party of the Philippines. Most importantly, as a fairly spontaneous mobilization, people power was not a sustainable political action, even as a form of revolutionary change.”[221]


  • Patricio Abinales and Donna Amoroso: “Initial skirmishes began when the House of Representatives passed the first articles of impeachment against Estrada, charging him with plunder, graft, and corruption. In early December 2000, the Senate, where Estrada controlled a majority, formed itself into a tribunal to deliberate the charges. Meanwhile, the jueteng exposé an impeachment plunged the economy into crisis. The peso had depreciated 22 percent from the start of the year, investments were down 20 percent, and the scandal-plagued stock market continued to sink. When pro-Estrada senators blocked prosecutors from revealing a critical piece of incriminating evidence, the battle moved to the streets. On January 16, 2001, anti-Estrada forces—one million strong—gathered at the Edsa Shrine. In a festive atmosphere, they vowed not to leave until Estrada resigned the presidency.”[222]
  • Patricio Abinales and Donna Amoroso: “The composition of ‘Edsa 2’ ranged from core ‘veterans’ of the 1986 Revolution to members of Couples for Christ and Iglesia ni Kristo, who did not hesitate to demand a role on the ‘coordinating committee.’ As expected, Estrada rebuffed the protesters, and his supporters staged their own force in a similarly large rally. The impasse was broken on January 20, when the AFP leadership withdrew its support and Estrada had to abandon the presidential palace. Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was immediately sworn in as president and Edsa 2 was widely praised as ‘a massive exercise in direct democracy after the institutions of impeachment had failed.’”[223]
  • Yuko Kasuya: “The events of January 16 to 20 is dubbed ‘People Power II,’ since it was the second time in the Philippines that street protest forced a change in government . . . Estrada’s impeachment . . . is a case of presidential exit, specifically, extra-constitutional presidential exit.”[224]
  • Yuko Kasuya: “The chronology suggests that the immensity of street mobilization was key to the removal of Estrada and the installation of Arroyo as new president. It is interesting to note the composition of the movement. In the main, protesters were middle-class Filipinos residing in the Metro Manila area, which comprises about 13 percent of the total national population. . . . it can be said that People Power II was primarily an urban middle-class movement.”[225]
  1. Day 1, Tuesday, January 16, 2001
  • Yuko Kasuya: “January 16, 2001, marked the collapse of constitutionally defined impeachment procedures; it was also the beginning of People Power II. On that day, by a vote of 11-10, the senator-judges ruled against opening the envelope that allegedly contained evidence that Estrada had three billion pesos in a secret bank account under the alias ‘Jose Velarde.’ The Senate decision ignited people’s anger as the senator-judges concealed the seemingly important evidence. Within a few hours after ruling on January 16, thousands had assembled at the Epifanio de los Santos (EDSA) Shrine, the memorial site of the 198 People Power Revolution.”[226]
  1. Day 2, Wednesday, January 17, 2001
  • Yuko Kasuya: “The next day, the Impeachment Court was suspended indefinitely, as the prosecution team collectively submitted their letter of resignation; thus, there were no prosecutors to continue the trial. Meanwhile, the pouring of people to and along the EDSA highway continued; it was estimated that the crowed around the EDSA Shrine numbered as many as 250,000 people on January 17.”[227]
  1. Day 3, Thursday, January 18, 2001
  2. Day 4, Friday, January 19, 2001
  • Yuko Kasuya: “On January 19, Estrada lost the support of the military and police forces, a serious setback. Secretary of National Defense Orlando Mercado, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Commander Angelo Reyes, and the Philippine National Police Chief Panfilo Lacson each announced that they were withdrawing their support from the Estrada government. The enormity of street unrest compelled the military and police forces to unanimously defect. Meanwhile, street demonstrations demanding Estrada’s resignation continued in various parts of Metro Manila as well as in other major cities across the country.”[228]
  1. Day 5, Saturday, January 20, 2001
  • Yuko Kasuya: “Around noon on January 20, at the EDSA Shrine (in the presence of thousands of protesters), Supreme Court Chief Justice [Hilario Davide Jr.] administered the presidential oath of office to Vice President Arroyo, making her the 14th President of the Philippines. At this point, Estrada had not yet formally resigned. Davide had earlier offered to install Arroyo as the new president under condition of Estrada’s resignation, but was prompted to swear her in earlier because, in the judgment of the Supreme Court, doing so was the only way to prevent bloodshed among street protesters. This fear was based on the fact that on the morning of January 20, some protester groups were planning to march from the EDSA Shrine to the presidential palace to stage a demonstration; Court justices feared a possible conflict between the protesters and Estrada’s supporters. This concern led them to unanimously agree to conduct the swearing-in ceremony immediately. In the meantime, behind-the-scenes negotiation for a graceful exit for Estrada were going on between his advisors and Arroyo’s protégés. At 2:30 P.M., judging that the tide could not be reversed, Estrada and his family hurriedly left the presidential palace.”[229]
  • Yuko Kasuya: “It appears that the experience of the 1986 People Power Revolution enhanced these groups’ efforts in calling for Estrada’s resignation by street mobilization. The successful experience of ousting Marcos by street forces seems to have made the groups think that doing the same in Estrada’s case was feasible. Individually, however, the 1986 People Power experience affected these groups differently. The leadership of the church and business associations, on the one hand, had been credited for the success of the 1986 upheaval. Their political weight has since increased, and their involvement is now considered to be legitimate by many, although they remain primarily non-political institutions. On the other hand, leftist leaders were eager not to miss the boat this time. In 198 the groups that formed the Estrada Resign Movement and SANLAKAS boycotted the snap presidential election and the street protest that followed. Eventually, they failed to be included in the new Aquino administration, although they had worked very hard in the anti-Marcos movements. This time they wanted to make sure they could claim credit for helping oust an unpopular government and thus gain some influence in the new regime.”[230]

May Day Rebellion (EDSA III)

  • Patricio Abinales and Donna Amoroso: “On April 25, 2001, the government arrested Joseph Estrada on charges of plunder, violation of antigraft law, perjury, and illegal use of an alias. The perceived discourtesy of the arresting authorities angered the ex-president’s supporters, who mobilized up to three million people at the EDSA Shrine, a gathering notable for including ‘no Church symbols [and] no Church personnel.’ After four days of speeches and rallies, about three hundred thousand people broke away from the main group and marched on the presidential palace, where they fought a bloody street battle with police and military forces. Declaring a ‘state of rebellion,’ President Arroyo ordered a full military-police counterattack. By May 1, the ‘rebels’ were in full retreat, with five killed and more than a hundred arrested. Edsa 2 groups declared victory over ‘the mob’ with a ‘triumphant Mass’ at the Edsa Shrine, symbolizing their recovery of the sacred site.”[231]
  • Patricio Abinales and Donna Amoroso: “While easily routed, ‘Edsa 3’ had reverberations that shook the new government. State officials and anti-Estrada intellectuals insisted that the pro-Estrada mobilization was not an example of people power because its violence contradicted the peaceful nature of people power. But Arroyo supporters could not dismiss the importance of the class divide: Edsa 3 was predominantly a poor people’s movement, while Edsa 2, despite the presence of pro-poor groups, was mainly urban middle class and elite in composition. Portraying Edsa 3 participants as ‘a drug-crazed mob that was brought and made to do what they did by . . . leaders who were not there’ did little to dispel this uncomfortable reality. While it was true that the violence was incited and funded by anti-Arroyo politicians, ‘poor people’s power’ was clearly a manifestation of lower-class grievances against the nation’s comfortable classes. Despite a decline in poverty in the late 1990s, the gap in quality of life and power between the classes was growing. Emmanuel De Dios and Paul Hutchcroft explain Estrada’s ouster in this context: ‘What for [Edsa 2 activists] was a step toward rational and impartial government, represents for [Edsa 3 supporters] a return to a heartless dispensation and an affront to the already powerless.”[232]
  • Abinales and Amoroso: “As a result of Edsa 3, the optimism that followed Edsa 2 was short-lived, replaced by apprehension and questioning of the value of people power as a political act. Even Estrada’s critics had second thoughts about the wisdom of resorting to popular uprising. ‘People Power as a method of political change and of ousting leaders,’ wrote journalist Amando Doronila, ‘has made Filipino democracy volatile, unstable, unpredictable. More dangerously, it has brought Philippine democracy to the edge of mob rule, even if exercised in the name of social change.”[233]


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Aldaba-Lim, Estefania Eugenia Jamias, Antonio Perlas, and Roberto R. Sucgang. “A Cursory Study of the Lapiang Malaya-Its Membership, Organization and Implications to Present Philippine Society.” Philippine Sociological Review 15, no. 3/4 (July-October 1967​): 151-162.

Almendral, Gemma Nemenzo. “The Fall of the Regime.” In Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People’s Power, edited by Aurora Javate-de Dios, Petronilo Bn. Daroy, and Lorna Kalaw-Tirol, 176-220. Metro Manila: Conspectus Foundation, 1988.

Astorga-Garcia, Mila, Nancy T. Lu, Millet G. Martinez, Recah Trinidad, and Bibsy M. Carballo. “Left to Right: The Student Activists.” The Sunday Times Magazine, February 22, 1970, 34-38. Link.

Evangelista, Oscar L. “Lopez’s Beleaguered Tenure (1969-1975): Barricades on Campus at the Peak of Student Discontent.” In University of the Philippines: The First 75 Years, edited by Oscar M. Alfonso. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1985.

Bonner, Raymond. Waltzing with a Dictator: The Marcoses and the Making of American Policy. New York, NY: Times Books, 1987.

Daroy, Petronilo Bn. “On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution,” In Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People’s Power, edited by Aurora Javate-de Dios, Petronilo Bn. Daroy, and Lorna Kalaw-Tirol, 1-25. Metro Manila: Conspectus Foundation, 1988.

de Dios, Emmanuel S. “The Erosion of the Dictatorship.” In Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People’s Power, edited by Aurora Javate-de Dios, Petronilo Bn. Daroy, and Lorna Kalaw-Tirol, 70-131. Metro Manila: Conspectus Foundation, 1988.

Diokno, Ma. Serena I. “Unity and Struggle,” In Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People’s Power, edited by Aurora Javate-de Dios, Petronilo Bn. Daroy, and Lorna Kalaw-Tirol, 132-175. Metro Manila: Conspectus Foundation, 1988.

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Hedman, Eva-Lotta E. and John T. Sidel. Philippine Politics and Society in the Twentieth Century: Colonial Legacies, Post-Colonial Trajectories. London and New York, NY: Routledge, 2000.

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Joaquin, Nick (Quijano de Manila). The Quartet of the Tiger Moon: Scenes from the People Power Apocalypse. Book Stop, Inc., 1986.

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Samonte, ​Quirico S. “Student Activism and National Development: The Philippine Setting.” The Journal of Educational Thought 4, no. 3 (December 1970):​ 161-173.

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[1] Patricio Abinales and Donna Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines (Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, 2005), 148.

[2] David R. Sturtevant, Popular Uprisings in the Philippines 1840-1940 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1976), 216.

[3] Ibid., 42-43.

[4] Motoe Terami-Wada, “The Sakdal Movement, 1930-34,” Philippine Studies 36, no 2 (1988): 132.

[5] Ibid., 134.

[6] Abinales and Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines, 148.

[7] Terami-Wada, “The Sakdal Movement,” 144.

[8] Sturtevant, Popular Uprisings in the Philippines, 225.

[9] Terami-Wada, “The Sakdal Movement,” 138.

[10] Abinales and Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines, 149.

[11] Sturtevant, Popular Uprisings in the Philippines, 243.

[12] Abinales and Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines, 149.

[13] Cecilia S. Ochoa, ed., Siglo-Saka: A Century of Peasant Struggle and Contributions to Philippine Nationhood (Quezon City: Philippine Peasant Institute, 1998), 63.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid., 62.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Sturtevant, Popular Uprisings in the Philippines, 256-257.

[18] Ibid., 257.

[19] Ibid., 259.

[20] Estefania Aldaba-Lim, Eugenia Jamias, Antonio Perlas, and Roberto R. Sucgang, “A Cursory Study of the Lapiang Malaya-Its Membership, Organization and Implications to Present Philippine Society,” Philippine Sociological Review 15, no. 3/4 (July-October 1967): 151.

[21] Sturtevant, Popular Uprisings in the Philippines, 259.

[22] Lewis E. Gleeck Jr., President Marcos and the Philippine Political Culture (Manila; Loyal Printing, 1987), 70.

[23] Aldaba-Lim et al., “A Cursory Study of the Lapiang Malaya,” 151.

[24] Sturtevant, Popular Uprisings in the Philippines, 259.

[25] Lewis E. Gleeck Jr., The Third Philippine Republic, 1946-1972 (Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1993), 345.

[26] Gleeck, President Marcos and the Philippine Political Culture, 82.

[27] Quirico S. Samonte, “Student Activism and National Development: The Philippine Setting,” The Journal of Educational Thought 4, no. 3 (December 1970): 161-170.

[28] Petronilo Bn. Daroy, “On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution,” in Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People’s Power, eds. Aurora Javate-de Dios, Petronilo Bn. Daroy, and Lorna Kalaw-Tirol (Metro Manila: Conspectus Foundation, 1988), 2-3.

[29] Eva-Lotta E. Hedman and John T. Sidel, Philippine Politics and Society in the Twentieth Century: Colonial Legacies, Post-Colonial Trajectories (London and New York, NY: Routledge, 2000), 125.

[30] Daroy, “On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution,” 3.

[31] Hedman and Sidel, Philippine Politics and Society in the Twentieth Century, 126.

[32] Daroy, “On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution,” 4.

[33] Hedman and Sidel, Philippine Politics and Society in the Twentieth Century, 126-127.

[34] Daroy, “On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution,” 2.

[35] Gleeck, The Third Philippine Republic, 306-307.

[36] Manuel L. Quezon III, “The Explainer: The Defiant Era,” Manuel L. Quezon III, February 7, 2010, link.

[37] Gleeck, President Marcos and the Philippine Political Culture, 75.

[38] Gregg R. Jones, Red Revolution: Inside the Philippine Guerrilla Movement (Boulder, CO and London: Westview Press, 1989), 39.

[39] Daroy, “On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution,” 4.

[40] Jones, Red Revolution, 39.

[41] Gleeck, President Marcos and the Philippine Political Culture, 81.

[42] Mila Astorga-Garcia et al., “Left to Right: The Student Activists,” The Sunday Times Magazine (February 22, 1970), 34-38, link.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Patricio Abinales,  “The Left and the Philippine Student Movement: Random Historical Notes on Party Politics and Sectoral Struggles,” Kasarinlan 1, no. 2 (1985): 42.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Astorga-Garcia et al., “Left to Right: The Student Activists,” 34-38, link.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Ibid.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Jones, Red Revolution, 39.

[61] Daroy, “On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution,” 4-5.

[62] Ibid., 5.

[63] Ibid., 5-6.

[64] Ibid., 6.

[65] Ibid., 6

[66] Primitivo Mijares, The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos I (San Francisco, CA: Union Square Publications, 1976), 160.

[67] Abinales and Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines, 202.

[68] Raymond Bonner, Waltzing with a Dictator: The Marcoses and the Making of American Policy (New York, NY: Times Books, 1987), 78.

[69] Daroy, “On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution,” 6-7.

[70] Quezon III, “The Explainer: The Defiant Era,” link.

[71] Jones, Red Revolution, 39.

[72] Hedman and Sidel, Philippine Politics and Society in the Twentieth Century, 127.

[73] Bonner, Waltzing with a Dictator, 78.

[74] Mijares, The Conjugal Dictatorship, 160.

[75] Quoted in Gleeck, President Marcos and the Philippine Political Culture, 85.

[76] Daroy, “On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution,” 7.

[77] Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila), “Foreword,” in Jose F. Lacaba, Days of Quiet, Nights of Rage: The First Quarter Storm and Related Events (Manila: Salinlahi Publishing House, 1982), 19.

[78] Hedman and Sidel, Philippine Politics and Society in the Twentieth Century, 127.

[79] Daroy, “On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution,” 7.

[80] Quezon, “The Explainer: The Defiant Era,” link.

[81] Jones, Red Revolution, 39.

[82] Bonner, Waltzing with a Dictator, 78.

[83] Hedman and Sidel, Philippine Politics and Society in the Twentieth Century, 127.

[84] “New Awakening Rises Higher,” Ang Bayan, https://fqslibrary.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/on-the-februrary-18-public-meeting/.

[85] Oscar L. Evangelista, “Lopez’s Beleaguered Tenure (1969-1975): Barricades on Campus at the Peak of Student Discontent,” in University of the Philippines: The First 75 Years, ed. Oscar M. Alfonso (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1985), 457.

[86] Bonner, Waltzing with a Dictator, 79.

[87] Daroy, “On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution,” 20-21.

[88] Jones, Red Revolution, 59.

[89] Gleeck, The Third Philippine Republic, 385-386.

[90] Gleeck, President Marcos and the Philippine Political Culture, 99.

[91] Bonner, Waltzing with a Dictator, 79-80.

[92] Daroy, “On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution,” 21-22.

[93] Vergel O. Santos, Chino and His Time (Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, 2010), 26; Quezon, “The Explainer: The Defiant Era,” link.

[94] Gleeck, The Third Philippine Republic, 367.

[95] Daroy, “On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution,” 23.

[96] Jones, Red Revolution, 109.

[97] Ibid., 111-115.

[98] Emmanuel S. de Dios, “The Erosion of the Dictatorship,” in Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People’s Power, eds. Aurora Javate-de Dios, Petronilo Bn. Daroy, and Lorna Kalaw-Tirol (Metro Manila: Conspectus Foundation, 1988), 70.

[99] Ibid., 70-71.

[100] Ibid., p. 71.

[101] Ibid.

[102] Ma. Serena I. Diokno, “Unity and Struggle,” in Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People’s Power, eds. Aurora Javate-de Dios, Petronilo Bn. Daroy, and Lorna Kalaw-Tirol (Metro Manila: Conspectus Foundation, 1988), 132.

[103] Ibid., 132-133.

[104] Monina Allarey Mercado, ed., An Eyewitness History: People Power, The Philippine Revolution of 1986 (Manila: The James B. Reuter, S.J., Foundation, 1986), 17.

[105] Ibid.

[106] Diokno, “Unity and Struggle,” 133.

[107] Mark R. Thompson, The Anti-Marcos Struggle: Personalistic Rule and Democratic Transition in the Philippines (Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1996), 115.

[108] Ibid., 115-116.

[109] Mercado, An Eyewitness History, 38.

[110] Diokno, “Unity and Struggle,” 133-134.

[111] Ibid., 134.

[112] Ibid., 134-136.

[113] Ibid., 136

[114] Ibid., 137.

[115] Ibid., 137-138.

[116] Ibid., 138.

[117] Ibid., 139.

[118] Ibid., 149.

[119] Ibid.

[120] Ibid., 149-150.

[121] Ibid., 150.

[122] Ibid.

[123] Ibid.

[124] Ibid., 150-151.

[125] Ibid., 151-152.

[126] Ibid., 152.

[127] Ibid., 146.

[128] Ibid.

[129] Ibid., 147.

[130] Gemma Nemenzo Almendral, “The Fall of the Regime,” in Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People’s Power, eds. Aurora Javate-de Dios, Petronilo Bn. Daroy, and Lorna Kalaw-Tirol (Metro Manila: Conspectus Foundation, 1988), 176.

[131] Ibid., 177.

[132] Ibid., 181.

[133] Ibid.

[134] Ibid., 183.

[135] Ibid., 189.

[136] Ibid., 196.

[137] Ibid., 198.

[138] Ibid., 200-201.

[139] Ibid., 201-202.

[140] Ibid.

[141] Ibid., 208-209.

[142] Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila), The Quartet of the Tiger Moon: Scenes from the People Power Apocalypse (Book Stop, Inc., 1986), 12-13.

[143] Ibid., 12.

[144] Ibid., 18.

[145] Ibid., 19.

[146] Ibid.

[147] Ibid., 26.

[148] Ibid., 25.

[149] Ibid., 27.

[150] Ibid.

[151] Ibid., 35.

[152] Ibid., 36.

[153] Ibid., 39.

[154] Ibid., 39-40.

[155] Ibid., 40

[156] Ibid.

[157] Ibid., 40-41.

[158] Ibid., 41.

[159] Ibid.

[160] Ibid.

[161] Ibid.

[162] Ibid., 42.

[163] Ibid.

[164] Ibid., 43.

[165] Ibid.

[166] Ibid., 44-45.

[167] Ibid., 45

[168] Ibid.

[169] Ibid., 46.

[170] Ibid.

[171] Ibid., 47.

[172] Ibid., 47-48.

[173] Ibid., 48.

[174]  Ibid., 55.

[175]  Ibid.

[176] Ibid.

[177] Ibid.

[178] Ibid., 56.

[179] Ibid.

[180] Ibid., 57.

[181] Ibid.

[182] Ibid., 57-58.

[183] Ibid., 58.

[184] Ibid.

[185] Ibid., 59.

[186] Ibid., 60.

[187] Ibid., 61.

[188] Ibid.

[189] Ibid.

[190] Ibid., 62.

[191] Ibid.

[192] Ibid.

[193] Ibid., 66.

[194] Ibid.

[195] Ibid., 67.

[196] Ibid., 70.

[197] Ibid.

[198] Ibid., 70-71.

[199] Ibid., 71.

[200] Ibid.

[201] Ibid., 77.

[202] Ibid.

[203] Ibid., 77-78.

[204] Ibid., 78.

[205] Ibid., 79.

[206] Ibid., 85.

[207] Ibid., 86.

[208] Ibid.

[209] Ibid., 86-87.

[210] Ibid., 93.

[211] Ibid., 93-94.

[212] Ibid., 94.

[213] Ibid.

[214] Ibid., 94-95.

[215] Ibid., 95.

[216] Ibid.

[217] Ibid.

[218] Ibid., 95-96.

[219] Abinales and Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines, 230.

[220] Ibid.

[221] Ibid., 230-231.

[222] Ibid., 276.

[223] Ibid., 277.

[224] Yuko Kasuya, “Weak Institutions and Strong Movements: The Case of President Estrada’s Impeachment and Removal in the Philippines,” in Checking Executive Power: Presidential Impeachment in Comparative Perspective, eds. Jody C. Baumgartner and Naoko Kada (Westport, CT and London: Praeger, 2003), 45.

[225] Ibid., 56-57.

[226] Ibid., 55-56.

[227] Ibid., 56.

[228] Ibid.

[229] Ibid.

[230] Ibid., 59.

[231] Abinales and Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines, 277.

[232] Ibid., 277-278.

[233] Ibid., 278.