Here are some newspapers and magazines covers collected by my parents and brother, chronicling the protests against President Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Sr. (1917-1989), after the assassination of Senator Benigno Simeon “Ninoy” Lampa Aquino Jr. (1932-1983) on August 21, 1983, and ending with the EDSA People Power Revolution of February 23-25 1986.
August 1985: Mr. & Mrs. Magazine and Time Magazine
On the 26th of July 1985, my parents and other activists attended the Philippine National Assembly at the Batasang Pambansa. In the middle of the session, they unfurled placards demanding the impeachment of of President Marcos. After being chided by the Speaker, they we caught in a scuffle with security, who tried to take the placards from their hands. Since the group was most comprised of women, the guards just escorted the protestors outside the building.
October and November 1985: Pacific Daily News, Mr. & Mrs. Magazine, Veritas, Newsweek, and National Midweek
On October 28 1985, my mother joined the 2000 women strong “Women’s Day of Protest” in front of the US Embassy, in Manila, protesting the support of the American government of the Marcos administration. This protest, as well as the previously mentioned Batasan demonstration, is just one of the thousands of mass actions against the Marcos government, since the Aquino assassination.
December 1985: Malaya
On November 1985, President Marcosdeclares a Snap Election during an interview in the ABC’s This Week with David Brinkley. On December 19, the Philippine Supreme Court approves the presidential elections, to be held on February 7, 1986. And the opposition fields Benigno Aquino’s widow, María Corazón “Cory” SumulongCojuangco Aquino (1933-2009), for president the presidential candidate, while Senator Salvador Roman “Doy” Hidalgo Laurel (1928-2004) becomes her running mate.
January 1986: Malaya, Philippine Daily Inquirer and Veritas
In the middle of the campaign for the February Presidential Elections, investigators look into Pres. Marcos’ war records, and discover facts that disproved many of the medals that he claimed to be earned during World War II.
February 1986: Malaya and Philippine Daily Inquirer
On February 4 1986, a caravan campaigning for the opposition candidate, Corazón Aquino, is fired upon by soldiers, while the accompanying journalists are also harassed. This incident is not an isolated event, as many accounts of gangs connected with the Marcos campaign are reported throughout the country.
February 7 1986: Philippine Daily Inquirer
Opposition presidential candidate, Corazon Aquino, calls on calm and vigilance on Election Day. Despite the many reports of vote buying, “flying voters” jumping from one precinct to another, “ghost voters” appearing in the electorial lists despite not being from the area, and armed gangs snatching of ballot boxes and intimidating voters; the people marched to the voting centers to watch and protect the democratic process of suffrage.
February 1986, Philippine Daily Inquirer and Malaya
The counting of ballots was manual, taking a day of two for some precincts to complete the tabulation. Afterwards, the data was transferred to the government’s COMELEC (Commission on Elections) quick count center at the Batasang Pambansa, and the independent National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) center in the De Lasalle campus, in San Juan City. Soon there were large discrepancies between the government’s official tabulation, as compared to the on the ground reports from the precincts and the NAMFREL headquarters. These anomalies were also noticed by the COMELC programmers, with what is presented on the boards as to what is actually showing on their monitors. So on February 9, thirty five of the COMELEC programmers walked of the desks in protest of the irregularities.
February 23: Malaya, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and the Sunday Times
In the wee hours of February 22, then-AFP Vice Chief of Staff and PC Chief Lt. Gen Fidel Valdez Ramos (born 1928) and Minister of Defense Juan Furagganan Ponce Enrile, Sr. (born 1924) plot a military coup d’état with the RAM (Reform the Armed Forces Movement) to overthrow Pres. Marcos. They are quickly discovered and to avoid arrest, Ramos and Enrile declare their separation from the Marcos government, and announce their recognition and loyalty to Corazon Aquino. As the government forces march towards Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA for short) to arrest the rebels, Cardinal Jaime Lachica Sin (1928-2005) calls upon the Filipino to protect the putschists. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to effectively blocking the government forces.
February 24: Malaya
On February 23, Pres. Marcos offers amnesty to Ramos and Enrile, to unify the government. The rebels reject the offer, and call for Marcos resignation. At the mean time, more and more people continue to fill EDSA and the nearby streets; while officials of the government, military and the police start declaring their unity with the rebels, and recognition of Corazon Aquino as the duly elected president of the Philippines.
February 26: Bulletin Today, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Manila Times
On the morning of the 25th, Marcos and Aquino hold their separate inaugurations. Marcos takes his oath of office in the presidential residence, Malacañang Palace; while Aquino conducts her ceremonies at the Club Filipino is San Juan City. However by the afternoon, it was clear that Marcos has lost all control of the government, and the officials of the US Embassy whisk Marocs, his family and key officials from Manila, to the American Clark Airbase in Pampanga Province. After the brief stop, the Marcos family is flown to their birth province of Ilocos Norte, and finally to Honolulu, Hawaii; where Marcos would live in exile until his death in 1989.
February 27: Bulletin Today, Malaya, and The Manila Times
While the people celebrated on the EDSA, and other stormed Malacañang Palace, Corazon Aquino went to work in organizing her new cabinet. She appoints Enrile as her Minister of Defense, while Gen. Ramos is the declared the Chief-of-Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Aside from Enrile and Ramos, some people question Aquino’s appointment long time Marcos cronies, alongside staunch oppositionists.
February 28: Bulletin Today, Business Day, Malaya, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and The Manila Times
After appointing her cabinet, one of Pres. Aquino’s first executive actions was to release political prisoners, starting with an initial 36 detainees.
In past few years, many people have lost interest in celebrating the EDSA People Power Revolution, due to the questions of the legacy of Corazon Aquino’s presidency, as well as that of her son, Pres. Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III (born 1960). Despite these reservations and accusations, the Filipino people must not forget the day they banded together in the face of possible violence of a military attack on Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame, and peacefully ouster Pres. Marcos after 21 years of a corrupt dictatorship. On those four days of February 1986, the Filipino people were a shining example of change for the whole world to see.