MAKATI - Among those present were
Enrile, his press secretary, Silvestre Afable, and three key officers
plotting a coup against Ferdinand Marcos.
In January, Honasan had pressured an officer on the staff of the Presidential Security command into acting as an agent within the Palace. Thirty-five-year-old Major Edgardo Doromal had been reluctant to take the assignment, and he wasn't up to its demands. In just a few days, Doromal's nerves frayed, and he unburdened himself to his commander, Col. Irwin Ver, who immediately passed on the astonishing information to his father, the general. The Vers turned the jittery Doromal into a double agent, and he channeled accurate, up-to-date information to them. (WORTH DYING FOR 1987,pp272-273)
While Enrile was polishing his speech, General Ver was fortifying the palace.
MALACAÑANG PALACE, 2:00 AM -
Ver ordered the 5th Marine Battalion Landing Team out of Zamboanga to
the National Capital Region. He plucked 8 officers and 82 enlisted personnel
from the 5th Infantry Battalion in Piddig, Ilocos Norte for urgent posting
in Malacañang. Further, he beefed up the anti-riot units with
one Philippine Air Force (PAF) Crowd Dispersal and Control Battalion
Acting on orders from Marcos, who was
in command, Ver announced to his generals that he would let Col. Honasan's
commandos approach the palace riverfront in their rubber boats.
While Ver was fortifying the palace, some reformists began to feel the heat.
FORT BONIFACIO - After escorting Trade
& Industry Minister Robert Ongpin to his Alabang residence, his
19 security men were arrested by elements of the Scout Ranger Regiment
and brought to Fort Bonifacio.
DASMARIÑAS VILLAGE, MAKATI,
3:00 AM - The meeting at Enrile's house was just breaking up. Col. Tirso
Gador, a commander from Enrile's home province, walked the others to
the street. "I have your Uzis in my car," he told them.
Honasan and Kapunan had left the meeting earlier to make a final reconnaissance of the approaches to the Palace.
OUTSIDE MALACAÑANG - Honasan
and Kapunan discovered a battle-hardened Marine battalion sitting precisely
at their point of attack. By dawn, it was clear that they had been betrayed. Ibid.
Sonny Razon: That early morning it was not yet clear what the apprehension of Ongpin's security was all about. As far as I knew, everything was still "go."
Jose Almonte: We planned the whole action mainly under two offices: the Ministry of National Defense and the office of Gen. Ramos, then PC Chief and AFP Vice Chief of Staff. His closest aides and the chief of his security, Sonny Razon, were members of our core group; they kept the general informed of meetings and developments.
ALABANG, RIZAL, Morning - Ongpin, in a panic, called up Marcos and asked why his security aides had been arrested. Marcos assured Ongpin that he would investigate the matter. Marcos offered the services of some of his security from the Presidential Security Command but Ongpin vigorously objected. Business Day 13 Mar '86
CAMP AGUINALDO, MINISTRY
OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, 9:00 AM - Sent by Ver, Metropolitan Command officer
Col. Rolando Abadilla tried to talk Honasan out of doing anything rash.
10:00 A.M. - Gringo Honasan checked out incoming reports for additional data on the prepositioning of troops and armored vehicles in Malacanang and other places in Metro Manila. As he pored over some of the documents, two brief reports which came in at 7 A.M. caught his eye: "5th Marine Battalion landing Team moved from Fort Bonifacio to Pandacan area just off the Otis entrance of the Malacanang Park at 0400H." "14th Army Infantry Battalion moved to North Harbor from Nueva Ecija at 0300H." BREAKAWAY p. 168
- Defense Minister Enrile was at the Atrium for coffee and gossip, chatting
with Deputy Prime Minister Jose Rono, when a call came from Trade Minister
Bobby Ongpin. "My security men! They've all been rounded up!"
QUARTET OF THE TIGER MOON 1986, p. 15
MALACAÑANG PALACE, Morning - The household staff, all in white, moved reassuringly about their chores. Tuesday's event was going to be significant and the Palace had to be brushed to a shine. The carpets were being shampooed and vacuumed, the shiny floors, made of rare Philippine hardwood, waxed and polished, and the huge chandeliers overhead, products of proud artisans from Guagua, Pampanga, dusted. The marble floors were scrubbed till they shone like mirrors. Everywhere, the capiz windows were cleaned and then opened to admit fresh air. The lights in the Ceremonial Hall, the dining room, Heroes Hall, the president's Study Room, and Mrs. Marcos's Music Room were turned off. The entire Palace was left to bathe in natural sunlight. MALACANANG TO MAKIKI 1991, p. 3
Mid-morning, Cory Aquino was just leaving for Cebu to campaign for civil disobedience.
CAMP AGUINALDO, 12:00 Noon - There was commotion at the Defense Ministry as some of the reformists discussed what to do. Navy Capt. Rex Robles was assigned to act as liaison with the diplomatic community and to tell the world their story in case the reformists were arrested. Another reformist sent an urgent signal to a US Embassy official to seek help. No response. Honasan and Kapunan left for the Defense Minister's residence. Business Day 28 Feb
High Noon - Stephen Bosworth, American ambassador to the Philippines
since May 4, 1984, was ushered into the Study Room. With him was Philip
Habib, Ronald Reagan's "trouble shooter," whose presence in
the country was the culmination of several months' turmoil and intrigue.
MAKATI - Enrile was taking lunch with his wife Cristina when Honasan
and Kapunan arrived and asked to have a chat with him. Sunday
Inquirer Magazine 9 Mar 86
CEBU CITY - People lined the highway leading to the city. In some intersections, crowds became so excited that they literally blocked the road, thus creating momentary bottlenecks in the traffic flow. People shouted "Cory! Cory! Cory!" and "Laban!" There was an abundance of yellow banners, streamers, and flags. People along the motorcade route displayed anything yellow, such as yellow banana leaves, yellow flowers, yellow bedsheets, yellow towels, yellow shirts and blouses, and even yellow men's briefs. PEOPLE POWER (I) 1986, p. 146
Fidel Ramos: I had two important meetings scheduled that day. Lunch with Max Soliven at the house of Mrs. Betty Go Belmonte, and later in the afternoon, a dialogue with Cory supporters, mostly neighbors of mine who wanted to picket my house in Alabang.
Ming Ramos: But I asked them, "What will you get from picketing? You will not get any answers. Why don't you have a dialogue with my husband instead?"
QUEZON CITY - Max Soliven secretly met with Gen. Fidel V. Ramos. Ramos explained why he had not chosen to resign despite the humiliations heaped on him by Mr. Marcos and rogue elements of his Philippine Constabulary who were involved in carnaps, murder, and other crimes. He said he had been helpless to discipline these men as they were protected "from above". He said he had had to swallow his pride because he was needed "in place" to protect the lives of many "reformist" officers and men who would be in danger. Inquirer 25 Feb
12:45 PM - Still meeting with US envoy Philip Habib, Mr. Marcos stressed
that although he had promised a policy of "maximum tolerance"
towards the planned mass protest actions by the opposition and other
anti-government forces, "the moment the opposition touched any
of the public officials or started a Welga ng Bayan," he would
be constrained to take "more forceful measures." Inquirer 23 Feb
MALACAÑANG PALACE - After Habib left, the President headed for his bedroom and rested, a by now predictable turn; he would rest after a caller, or even betweeen calls. His illness demanded that. It was to his bedroom that the news of the Enrile-Ramos mutiny was brought. MALACAÑANG p. 91
US EMBASSY, Just Before
2:00 PM - As he prepared to depart, Habib concluded: "Cory won
the election and deserves our support. Marcos is finished, and we ought
to offer him asylum in the United States."
MAKATI - Enrile's and RAM's number-one priority was to drum up as much
public support as they could. To do this, they had to scuttle any impression
that they had been planning a coup d'etat.
Fidel Ramos: I said at once, "Yes, sir, I'm with you, all the way." Then I warned him that his phone might be bugged. "I know all about it," I said. "I will join you in Camp Aguinaldo." I had wanted my withdrawal to have a very profound impact on events. I had been waiting for the right moment. And it came.
RAM recognized that while a significant number of officers and men were prepared to line up behind Enrile, his long political and personal association with Marcos had tainted him in the minds of many more. And this was doubly true among the civilian power structure, the wealthy businessmen who'd emerged as an anti-Marcos force and the large middle class who'd tirelessly marched and demonstrated ever sine the Aquino assassination. Ramos's image was much cleaner. WORTH DYING FOR p. 265
CEBU CITY - Cory campaigned
for civil disobedience. "We are ready to assume office as soon
as Mr. Marcos goes," she said. Malaya 23 Feb 86
MAKATI, Close to 3 PM Cristina Ponce Enrile was changing into
her Sunday best to attend mass with her family at the chapel in their
home. As she was about ready to step out of the bedroom, her husband
came rushing in, got into some clothes, and "in a matter of seconds,
he was ready to go," recalled Mrs. Enrile. He gathered her in his
arms, kissed her and said, "I think I'm going to be arrested."
Eggie Apostol: I was in the Inquirer office as usual, putting our Sunday edition to bed, when we got this call, about 2:30 in the afternoon, from Mrs. Enrile. I was in the office which I shared with Betty Go Belmonte and Mrs. Enrile asked to talk to me and she said Johnny was going to be arrested. "Will you help us? Will you call the Cardinal for us? And we did try to call the Cardinal, but we were not successful because I think the Cardinal was out in Ateneo for an ordination. So I told Betty and Lita Logarta to handle that part of it, to try to get hold of the cardinal, while I ran to Cristina in Dasmarinas Village. She sounded very nervous, and as I am very fond of Cristina, I wanted to be with her at that moment. On my way out, I passed by the desk of Louie Beltran who was our editor then and I told him what was happening. Of course nobody knew why Johnny was going to be arrested, everybody just knew he was going to be arrested.
3:00 PM - Enrile prepared
a letter in the office of his friend Member of Parliament (MP) Rene
Cayetano, to be opened only in case of his demise. He then gave Cayetano
instructions to call the press. Business Day 21 Mar
CAMP AGUINALDO, 3:30
PM - On arrival at his office in the Defense Ministry, Enrile had his
guards break out brand-new M-16 Armalites, still wrapped in plastic,
and an arsenal of mortars and Israel-made Uzis and Galils. Asiaweek
ARCHBISHOP'S PALACE - Jaime Cardinal Sin received a call from Minister Enrile. "Cardinal, I will be dead within one hour." He seemed to be trembling. "I don't want to die...if it is possible, do something. I'd still like to live." He was almost in tears. PEOPLE POWER (II) P. 105
DEFENSE MINISTRY - Soldiers are in complete combat gear, with canteens and knapsacks and K-rations. They look as if they are ready for war....Enrile is obviously nervous. He is the underdog. He must feel that the end is near. It is war. Ibid.
Eggie Apostol: When I got to the Enriles, Cristina was just coming down with her staff. She was going out to a place where she was going to be safe. The whole family had been dispersed to different houses - the children in one house, the grandchildren in another house, and she was going to go to a cousin's house in Alabang, Meding Porcuna's. They were afraid that they would be taken hostage, something, or just to hide.
Ming Ramos: At four, the Cory Crusaders came-a group of 20 women and 2 men. They asked my husband, why don't you do something? And he was saying, "There's a proper time, you know. I have to think also of the welfare of the men under me."
Alex Sembrano: While the dialogue was going on, we received a call from the office of Minister Enrile. I told them that the general couldn't come to the phone because he was in the middle of a meeting. They called up maybe about 3 or 4 times to ask him to go to Camp Aguinaldo already.
Ramos's failure to report to Camp Aguinaldo for three hours after Enrile's first phone call raised speculation within the Core Group that he had not yet firmly decided to support the rebellion, which, due to circumstances beyond any of their control, was being mounted prematurely and according to an improvised script under the leadership of Enrile. IMPOSSIBLE DREAM p. 380
Alex Sembrano: It got to a point where, if the general didn't join the rebels, they were suggesting a "laundry-bag" solution. They'd get Gen. Ramos and hide him; they'd allow him to surface only when Malacanang had been taken.
CAMP AGUINALDO, 4:30
PM - Enrile instructed Col. Honasan to plan and establish the area's
defense. "We will fire our first shot only if we are attacked,
because I want to maintain dialogue with whoever will be coming to challenge
us." Sun Inq Mag 9 Mar
The first military region to go to the rebel side was Regional Unified Command No. 8, which included troops in Mrs. Marcos's own province, Leyte, led by RUC-8 commander, Brig. Gen. Salvador Mison who was in Camp Aguinaldo. Op. cit., p. 15
VILLAMOR AIR BASE, 5:00 PM - Ver was with the First Lady at the chapel where they were standing as sponsors at the wedding of Major Gen. Vicente Piccio's son, Philip. Op. cit.,p.7
Ver was completely unaware of what was transpiring. Although the previous days had been filled with tension and conspiracy, Ver's personal commitments that Saturday kept him occupied through the afternoon and early evening. Ver's men were so terrified of him that they did not dare break into the ceremonies. It was a long wedding. DYNASTY p. 413
Jose Almonte: Vic Batac called around five and told me that the whole operation was compromised, so we were on Plan B, an alternate plan, which was to hold out in the camp and confront the Marcos forces. We had prepared as many camps as we could throughout the country as revolutionary base areas; if we held up here in Camp Aguinaldo, all the other camps would do the same and we'd just ask them to back us up.
CAMP AGUINALDO - Enrile
briefed Balbanero and laid his cards on the table. Balbanero was "shocked
and speechless" for a while. He told the Minister he knew of no
order to arrest the Reformists.
VILLAMOR AIR BASE - When the wedding service finally ended and the guests prepared to dash through the chicken soup heat to the wedding reception, Ver's men at last interrupted to tell him the bad news. Ver and Imelda immediately excused themselves from the reception and rushed anxiously back to Malacanang. A wedding had cost them the throne. DYNASTY p. 413
Ver was stunned. Confident of a double agent in the rebels' camp, Ver expected their coup at 2 o'clock the next morning. He was completely thrown by the rebellion and Ramos's defection. Veritas Special Oct 86
MALACAÑANG PALACE - An indication that Marcos's mind was not at ease: he ordered that his entire family should be at the palace. The military fetched daughter Imee and husband Tommy Manotoc and their children from their home in Wack Wack, Mandaluyong; and daughter Irene, husband Greggy Araneta, and their children from their home in Forbes Park, Makati. Came son Bongbong (Ferdinand Jr.) who soon donned a fatigue uniform, reminiscent of the days when he trained as a jungle fighter. The First Lady attempted a facade of calm, but she was obviously fidgety. BREAKAWAY pp. 8-9
Ming Ramos: When the Cory activists had left and he and Alex were about to leave, I asked if they would be home for dinner. He said, "Yeah, maybe."
Cristy Ramos: He was very calm, like nothing alarming was going on.
Fidel Ramos: I did not say anything to Cory's supporters about Minister Enrile's call because it was not the proper place or the proper crowd. It was at Camp Aguinaldo, with Minister Enrile, where I wanted to announce my decision to our people and to the world.
MALACAÑANG PALACE - Ver informed Balbanero and Abadilla that Marcos wanted to talk with Enrile. Balbanero tried to reach Enrile by phone. After thirty minutes he gave up. He and Abadilla rushed back to Camp Aguinaldo. Op. cit., p. 18
What Marcos and Ver were continually talking about this day, nobody among the officers and enlisted personnel knew, except perhaps Col. Irwin Ver. Even the personal bodyguards of Marcos's children did not know what was going on. Op. cit., p. 9
CAMP AGUINALDO, MND
- Ramos arrived at 6:00 PM in a gray safari suit, looking serious, gritting
a cigar, not replying to the flurry of questions thrown at him. He went
straight to Enrile's office with two aides in civilian clothes. Newsmen
were kept out. The Sunday Times
RADIO VERITAS, 6:00 PM "We were doing the news roundup," Orly Punzalan recounted.. "At the time we were almost sure something was going on in Camp Aguinaldo because Enrile had requested for Radio Veritas. They were specific about wanting Veritas. So Jun Tana was there with Gabby Salcedo and Henry Diaz. They had a VHF radio and a cassette recorder." Manila Chronicle 25 Feb
6:30 PM - At this time the total strength of the Defense Ministry security force was only 320 officers and men, including Col. Gador's Cagayan 100, plus 12 teams from the RAM civilian component. BREAKAWAY p. I74
There was already a big crowd around Enrile and Ramos, waiting for the press conference to begin. Brig. Gen. Pedro Balbanero and Col. Rolando Abadilla told Enrile that Marcos wanted to talk with him. Enrile firmly brushed aside the idea. Op. cit., p. 18
Rose Marie Arenas: When we went to church we were already told that General Ramos and Minister Enrile had joined together and were in the office in Camp Aguinaldo. So immediately after mass we went straight there and true enough all the press people were there, and all those people who were very close to them like Secretary Jose Almonte, and their closest aides like Greg Honasan and Sonny Razon. We were so nervous.
agreed to speak with Gen. Ver. He asked Ver not to initiate any attack
against the camps that night. Ver asked Enrile not to attack the Palace.
The two called a truce of sorts. Sun Inq Mag 9 Mar
Fidel Ramos: The situation was still very fluid and nebulous; nothing was clear. It is possible that Malacañang looked upon this withdrawal of Minister Enrile and myself as a very small thing. For our part, we needed time to organize, we needed time to mobilize and deploy our forces.
Ming Ramos: Around 6:30, our daughter Angelita, who was studying in the States, called up asking, "Is it true that Papa has resigned?" I said, I didn't know, where did she hear the news? She said, "A friend called from Rome, said that Enrile and Ramos have resigned."
MALACAÑANG PALACE - It was 6:30 PM when reports reached the President that Enrile and Ramos were holed up in Camp Aguinaldo and had announced that they were withdrawing their support from the Marcos government. MALACAÑANG p. 83
SOCIAL HALL, MINISTRY
OF DEFENSE, 6:45 PM - The mood was tense as the two men, clad in olive
and gray, and blinking into the glare of television lights, took their
seats before a cluster of microphones.
"We're going to die here fighting," Minister Juan Ponce Enrile declared as he and Gen. Fidel Ramos crossed their bridges, so to speak, and began the revolt against Ferdinand Marcos. Mr & Ms. 28 Feb
ENRILE: The fact is, there is a report that we are going to be arrested. ... As of now, I am still the Minister of National Defense and that is why I came here. ... We have no intention of harming anybody. We are here to take a stand. If anyone of us will be killed, I think...all of us must be killed. We'll stay here until we are all killed.
RAMOS: There has become an elite Armed Forces of the Philippines that no longer represents the rank and officers' corps of the Armed Forces. ... The President of 1986 is not the President to whom we dedicated our service. it is clear that he no longer is the able and capable commander-in-chief that we count upon. ... He has put his personal family interest above the interest of the people. We do not consider President Marcos as now being a duly constituted authority.
ENRILE: I cannot in my conscience recognize the President as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and I am appealing to the other members of the Cabinet to heed the will of the people expressed during the last elections. Because in my own region, I know that we cheated in the elections to the extent of 350,000 votes. ... No, I will not serve under Mrs. Aquino even if she is installed as a president. ... Our loyalty is to the Constitution and the country. ... You are welcome to join us. We have no food...
RAMOS: I am not even acting Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. I think that when he made that announcement to you and to the whole world last Sunday, he was just fooling us, and he was fooling the entire world because he flip-flopped so many times already. ... I would like to appeal to the fair and to the dedicated and people-oriented members of the AFP and the INP to join us in this crusade for better government. Malaya 23 Feb 86
Cory Aquino: It was Bel Cunanan - she was also in Cebu - who told us about it. When I was first heard the news, I was saying, is this for real? I was very skeptical. So I called up some people here in Manila to find out more about it.
ALABANG VILLAGE - When Ming Ramos heard her husband referring to Marcos as a "flip-flop or something" she could hardly believe her ears. "Because at home no one could say anything against Marcos-never!" QUARTET p. 21
MAX SOLIVEN - Which came first? The "arrest order" for Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Gen. Fidel V. Ramos-or their rejection of President Marcos? In any event, the battle is joined. Inquirer 24 Feb
Alex Sembrano: There in the Social Hall, while the general and the minister were talking to the journalists, we were talking among ourselves. Shit! we said, we're in deep trouble! This is it, there's no turning back! It was the first time we were hearing all those things-that there was massive cheating in Cagayan, that they borrowed firearms from Ali Dimaporo, mga ganoon!
Sonny Razon: I was scared. What happened? What went wrong? Our plans were all wrecked! What a way to go! Now, here are the cameras. Are we ready to face them? If we lost, it would be evidence against us. So some of us were staying away. We were with Gringo on the other side of the hall, where the TV cameras couldn't catch us. And because of that, maybe the thinking in Malacañang was, we were already deployed outside, ready to strike.
CAMP CRAME The
war room of the rebel generals in Camp Crame was deluged by delegations
of important politicians, hordes of newsmen from all over the world,
and the inevitable hangers-on. In the midst of military salutes, Napoleonic
posturings, flashing cameras, and interminable press conferences, ex-Secretary
Anding Roces was overheard to remark with wonder and amusement:
MALACAÑANG PALACE, 7:00 PM - Marcos was closeted in his study. Reporters were told that he was resting but he was probably awake because Ver and his son Irwin and Information Minister Gregorio Cendana came and went. BREAKAWAY p. 32
FORT BONIFACIO, 7:15
PM - Ver summoned to his Tactical Operations Center his senior officers,
among them Rear Admiral Brillante Ochoco, the Navy Chief; Brig. Gen.
Felix Brawner, Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations and Commanding General
of the First Scout Ranger Regiment; Brig. Gen. Jose Bello, Deputy for
Plans and Materiels Development; Brig. Gen Catalino Villanueva, Deputy
for Personnel; Commodore Serapio Martillano, Deputy Chief of Staff;
Brig. Gen. Fortunato Corrochea, Deputy for Home Defense; Navy Capt.
Eriberto Varona, secretary of the General Staff; and Col. Irwin Ver,
Chief of Staff of the PSC.
CAMP CRAME - Major Gen. Prospero Olivas was waiting for Ramos when he was stricken ill. His blood pressure was 160/110, his pulse rate 130 seconds per minute. The doctors ordered him taken to nearby Camp Panopio for treatment. Op. cit., p. 41
Jose Almonte: After the presscon, General Ramos and Minister Enrile met to review the situation. General Ramos decided to go back to Crame because he was the PC Chief, his staff was there, his communications set-up was there.
Fidel Ramos: The division of powers between Minister Enrile and myself was clear. He would take care of the political and diplomatic affairs, I would command the military operation.
Rose Marie Arenas: That same evening we crossed to Camp Crame. Minister Enrile stayed in Camp Aguinaldo, and we had people power on both sides. My car, my old Isuzu Trouper, that's why I love that car, was filled with priests and nuns and we parked right by the gate along EDSA, which was already closed. The first thing that entered my mind was to make my daughter Rachel go home to fetch the Our Lady of Fatima. So the one you saw, the Fatima, the very first one,belongs to my mother; she got it when she went to Europe. And everybody started bringing their saints already. Now I asked my daughter to also bring the Mary, Help of Christians inside the office of General Ramos, and a small statue of the Sto. Nino.
CAMP CRAME - Knowing
that the Manila riot police was Marcos's first line of defense, Ramos
called their chief, Gen. Prospero Olivas, in Camp Panopio. Veritas
Special Oct 86
Fidel Ramos: Gen. Olivas was the first regional commander I called and he gave me his support and that of the PC-INP units under his command. This was very very crucial because we could have been taken from inside, and we weren't. Now Gen. Olivas had to do some play-acting in order not to reveal his hand. He had to play the tightrope because, the Metrocom being right here in the capital, he was also getting instructions from President Marcos and General Ver.
MALACAÑANG NEWSROOM, 8:00 PM - Reporters were alerted that a televised press conference was set for 10:30 PM at the Reception Hall. They noticed that Deputy Minister Aber Canlas was still at the grounds outside the old Maharlika building, supervising the construction of the stage for the Marcos inaugural, apparently oblivious of what was happening at Camp Aguinaldo and inside Malacañang. Lights flooded the Palace grounds while carpenters kept their feverish pace. Inside the Palace, a sign that the situation was not normal was the battle attire of members of the First Family's close-in security. Instead of barong Pilipino, they were wearing gray bush jackets. BREAKAWAY pp. 33-34
SAN BEDA COLLEGE, MENDIOLA, 8:00 PM - Some 150 meters from across the Malacanang gate, about 50 law students carrying streamers and placards had pitched camp for a vigil. One of the placards read: "Feb. election: fake victory for Marcos." Another said, "We're not good neighbors of Malacanang." Sunday Times 23 Feb
RADIO VERITAS - Listeners all over the country were practically glued to the radio for that blow-by-blow account of a two-decade old regime's downfall. People wanted to know now, not a minute later, what was happening at Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame, at Malacanang Palace, at the MIA, at Mendiola and other points of action. And only the ever-dependable radio waves, which travel 186,000 miles per second, could do the trick. Business Day 21 Mar
Fidel Ramos: For our part, we didn't have facilities other than the very limited telephone system to communicate with the field. So it was a very good thing that we had a small component of the radio broadcasting industry supporting us at the time; first Radio Veritas, and later the guerrilla Radyo Bandido.
CAMP AGUINALDO, 8:15
PM - Brig. Gen. Fidel Singson, chief of the Intelligence Service of
the AFP, received the order from Ver: "Destroy Radio Veritas!"
Ming Ramos - Around 8:30, one of our neighbors, Tony Abaya, came with Father de Santis, the priest from Alabang church. They asked if my husband wanted people in Aguinaldo. I said I'd ask. So I called my husband and he said, "That's a good idea, to have people power." That's the first time I heard that term, people power.
Joe Alejandro: Two meetings of Cory supporters were going on in Alabang. One in Benedictine Abbey, another at the commercial center. The first group, upon hearing the call to EDSA, decided to go right away. But first we wanted to reach Cardinal Sin.
Tony Abaya: Bishop Baccani was with us, and Triccie and Louie Sison, who were then chairpersons of NAMFREL for Muntinglupa. I remember Bishop Baccani and Triccie running towards the phonebooth sa guardhouse to call up the Cardinal."
Joe Alejandro: The first time the Cardinal went on radio, he only said, 'Please, do not be alarmed, stay home.' We said, that's not what we want. We want people in EDSA. So the Bishop called the Cardinal again.
RADIO VERITAS, 9:00 PM - Jaime Cardinal Sin went on Radio Veritas asking the people to support "our two good friends." BAYAN KO! 1986 p. 129
TEODORO BENIGNO "Leave your homes now," the Cardinal said, "I ask you to support Mr. Enrile and Gen. Ramos, give them food if you like, they are our friends." Manila Times 13 Mar
Not long after, food came in, including sacks of rice and canned goods. Sunday Times 23 Feb
PASAY CITY - Butz Aquino was at a birthday party. The news was that the opposition leaders were going to be picked up, martial law was going to be declared. Over the radio they heard the replay of the Ramos-Enrile press conference. At hearing the appeal of General Ramos and Minister Enrile, Butz concluded that the situation was serious. He continued listening, and eating. Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
LUIS D. BELTRAN - The whole town is buzzing with rumors that the independent press offices have been or will be raided. Palace and military sources say that there is such a plan for this evening. The plan is to arrest four Cabinet Ministers and close down three newspapers: Veritas, Malaya, and Inquirer. Inquirer 24 Feb
RADIO VERITAS After the press conference of Enrile and Ramos, Orly Punzalan had to leave for a speaking engagement. He asked a friend, Rick Santos, to get on the phone to Veritas, introduce himself as a concerned citizen, and appeal for a big crowd to go to Camp Aguinaldo. Santos phoned Frankie Batacan, who was anchoring the show, and the appeal was made. Manila Chronicle 25 Feb
CAMP AGUINALDO - Enrile
telephoned Inquirer Editor-in-Chief Beltran and requested him to call
as many opposition leaders as possible to go on radio and express their
MAKATI, 9:30 PM - After
some discussion the ATOM (August Twenty-One Movement) Executive Committee
decided to wait for further developments and for instructions from Cory
Cory Aquino: I was told by people I called in Manila that Butz was already asking people to go to Camp Crame, so the ATOM would be very much involved. And I was told that the Cardinal also had voiced an appeal. In the meantime, I told them, if you can get through to Johnny Ponce Enrile, I'd like to talk to him.
VILLAMOR AIR BASE, Evening - While listening to Radio Veritas, Col. Antonio Sotelo of the 15th Strike Wing of the Philippine Air Force received a call from Air Force Col. Hector Tarrazona, one of the Reform Movement's leaders, asking for his support. Sotelo said yes, he would support the defection. He summoned his squadron commanders, briefed them on the situation, and instructed them to fuel and arm all five attack helicopters in Villlamor (others were deployed in Zamboanga, Lucena, Echague, and Baguio). Business Day 12 Mar
Ming Ramos: Half an hour later, Eddie called back and said maybe we should also have people power here in Alabang.
Fidel Ramos: I told her, "Ming, don't hide, and don't run. Stay put in the house and gather people power around you. This is all a people-power play and it is important that we maintain the moral ascendancy of the people."
10:00 PM - Only Radio
Veritas was carrying a blow-by-blow account of the unfolding siege.
Not one of the television stations broke programming or flashed what
is known in the trade as "crawls" - printed matter marching
from right to left, superimposed on the video. No other radio station
brodcast the first break or the press conference.
NEW MANILA, QUEZON CITY, 10:00 PM - Summoned by Gen. Ver, PC Col. Maximo Mejia arrived at businessman Eduardo Cojuangco's house in Balete Drive where he also found Virgilio de Guzman, elder brother of Brig. Gen. Isidoro de Guzman, Region III Commander. Mejia was told that President Marcos had decided to neutralize the radio station transmitter in Dakila, Malolos. Cojuangco told Mejia that the attack had been cleared by Marcos to "prevent the incident created by the Enrile-Ramos defection from escalating to a bloody one." Midday Malaya 20 May
CAMP AGUINALDO, Also Around 10:00 PM - Enrile talked by phone with Corazon Aquino in Cebu where she had just finished speaking before some 50,000 people at Fuente Osmena, the third in a series of nationwide rallies she had promised if cheated out of the Presidency. Asiaweek 9 Mar
Their dialogue was brief; they both knew the phone was tapped. He warned her that her life was in danger. "They'll probably come to get you. So take the necessary precautions." QUARTET p. 84
Cory Aquino: I asked him how he was and he said they were holding out. I said, well, all I can offer you for this moment are my prayers. And he said, we certainly need your prayers.
CEBU - Aquino knew
of Enrile's coup plans. Enrile's colonels had pleaded with her to stay
in Manila. Deeply suspicious of the Defense Minister, Aquino's supporters
were planning to establish a provisional revolutionary government in
the southern city of Davao. Veritas Special Oct 86
Cory Aquino: I was staying in the Quisumbing residence in Cebu. Monching Mitra was there, Nene Pimentel, my brother Peping, Tony Cuenco, Sonny Osmena, those are the people that I remember. They were saying it was imperative that I go someplace where I would be safe. Monching mentioned a U.S. navy boat nearby, maybe we could go there. I said I didn't think so. I already knew where I wanted to go. "I think I'll go to the Carmelite monastery."
DAVAO - Businessmen led by planter Chito Ayala had convinced the local Marine commander, Col. Rodolfo Biazon, to protect Aquino with his brigade. Unknown to Mrs. Aquino, however, disaster awaited her in Davao. Biazon's aide had discovered the plans and was under orders from his superiors: "If Biazon defects, draw your pistol and shoot him." Veritas Special Oct 86
MALACAÑANG PALACE, Also Around 10:00 PM - Reporters and foreign correspondents were waiting for Marcos's press conference. They saw Mrs. Marcos emerge from the President's study with several politicians, among them former Rodolfo Ganzon. She was talking excitedly, in a voice loud enough for the journalists to hear, about the discovery of a "plot" to assassinate her and Marcos at 12:30 AM. BREAKAWAY p. 34
CAMP AGUINALDO, 10:20
PM - Butz sought out Enrile. He could feel the tension in the air. The
soldiers on the stairway were sweating. PEOPLE POWER (I) p. 105
CESAR D. UMALI
When I heard Butz Aquino over Radio Veritas, I asked myself, "What
can civilians do, other than die, amid a firefight between two groups
of professional soldiers? Will volunteers be issued guns to fight side
by side with the rebels?" I was probably more afraid to heed Butz
Aquino's call than puzzled by his exhortation. I never imagined that
the Marcos antidote called people power had already been unleashed.
I went to sleep, extremely agitated by my own thoughts. PEOPLE POWER (II) p106
The people had barricaded all the entrances to the main gate with all kinds of vehicles. Many were praying the Rosary, some in groups, some just standing alone. People came from all walks of life teenagers in jeans and t-shirts, middle-class matrons and their husbands, the poor people, including the peddlers. There were entire families. The crowd truly represented a cross-section of the people, the devout and the frivolous, the man on the street and the big-time executives. All were there, probably fearful, resigned to prayer, excited, with only one thought in mind: to help the revolution succeed in each one's small way. PEOPLE POWER (II) p. 109
Men from the crowd passed a small table to a man atop a guardhouse. Puzzling. But the puzzle soon solved itself. The men below passed up a five-foot statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Their companion atop the guardhouse mounted the statue on the table ad set candles and flowers at its base. The group began a chain Rosary for a peaceful solution to our problems. Op.cit., p. 110
Everyone was calling up Jaime Cardinal Sin who was himself calling on the contemplative nuns-the Poor Claires, the Pink Sisters, and the Carmelites to fast and pray for non-violence.
VILLA SAN MIGUEL, MANDALUYONG - "Come out from your cells. Go immediately to the chapel and before the exposed Blessed Sacrament with outstretched arms prostrate yourselves on the floor before God and pray. And start fasting tonight. Do not eat solid food until I tell you because we are in battle and you are the powerhouses. And if we do not win the battle, you will have to fast until the end of your life." Sun Inq Mag 13 Apr
MBS TV CHANNEL 4 - The government channel interrupted its program to show a self-conscious Ronnie Nathanielz with an announcement that President Marcos was in control of the government and that there was no truth to rumors that there was trouble. He said the President himself would appear on the screen for an important announcement. Up to this time, about 10:30, Radio Veritas had been all alone on the story. We Forum 25 Feb - 3 Mar
10:30 PM - President Marcos went on television, live from the Palace.
He said he was "in control of the situation." He called on
Enrile and Ramos "to stop this stupidity and surrender so that
we may negotiate."
Fidel Ramos: We called first, of course, those that were most likely to join us. For instance, the naval patrol force, which is, I'd say, one-third of the Philippine Navy under then Commodore Tagumpay Jardiniano, was among the first that I called on. We also called on the Scout Ranger Regiment, although at the time they were really the main attack force poised to hit Camp Crame. But there were enough officers in the regiment, young ones as well as senior staff officers and unit commanders, who had trained with me as junior officers."
ISETANN, CUBAO, 10:45 PM - Four people had come in response to Butz's call. Butz, with Tom Achacoso, and the four looked at each other. "How do we have a revolution with only six of us?" Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
Rose Marie Arenas: We went to Isetann to meet with Butz Aquino who had his own group that was not even there yet. Then my mother, the late Remedios Bosch Jimenez who was still alive, told me, I think you must call Cardinal Sin. I told my mom, you be the one na lang, you're very close to him; in fact she was there just a few days before, she serves in the archbishop's palace. I said, ask him to please pray for these people inside, and to please offer special prayers.
MALACAÑANG PALACE, 11:00 PM - During the presscon Ver reached the ailing Olivas by phone. He ordered Olivas to silence Radio Veritas because it was inciting large crowds to Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame. Olivas replied, "Yes, sir." But he did not take action.A few minutes later, Minister Juan Tuvera, the Presidential executive assistant, called Olivas to remind him that it was Marcos's desire that Radio Veritas be "neutralized" and that the order be carried out immediately. Olivas, keeping up the charade, assured him it would be. BREAKAWAY p. 43
RADIO VERITAS - Enrile
was interviewed by Harry Gasser. Enrile's message to Marcos: "Mr.
President, I hope you're listening. Enough is enough, Mr. President.
Your time is up." He warns, "Do not miscalculate our strength
WASHINGTON, DC - White House advisers issued a statement approved by Reagan tilting towards the rebels. Quoting Enrile and Ramos on the recent election fraud, the White House said that their views "reinforce our concerns." Although his old friend was telling the truth, Reagan pointedly ignored Marcos's claims that he was victim of a coup plot. Veritas Special Oct 86
KILUSANG MAYO UNO - Leaders of the country's major labor federations decided on a nationwide work stoppage on Wednesday in support of the claim to victory of opposition Presidential challenger Corazon C. Aquino. About 1.2 million workers will paralyze business and commercial activities with walkouts and coordinated simultaneous strikes. To be affected by the strike are the airline and transport, banking, hotel and restaurant, food and drugs, garments and textile, stevedoring, mining, manufacturing, and service industries. Sunday Times 23 Feb
Fidel Ramos: I sent orders for our regional commands to organize units for us, just in case magkaroon ng pangangailangan. Brig. Gen. Rene de Villa, then based in Legaspi City, offered to send me a contingent.
Cory Aquino: I was wearing, as usual, a yellow dress. When they said, try to be as incognito as possible, I borrowed a dress from Nancy Cuenco. Then we had to wait for my daughter Kris, who had been invited to a restaurant by some of our friends.
CEBU CITY, 11:00 PM - Daughter Kris, out disco-hopping, was tracked down after forty panicky minutes. Mother and daughter were rushed by Peping Cojuangco to the Carmelite Convent where Cory had decided to seek shelter. The rest of the party retired to the US Mission Office, whose radio equipment Consul Porter had offered for communication with Manila. QUARTET p. 84
CAMP AGUINALDO, 11:00
PM - Armida Siguion-Reyna, sister of Enrile, arrived and kept vigil
with the rebels. With Enrile in his room were Brig. Gen. Ramon Farolan,
retired Gen. Romeo Espino, Gen. Alfonso, Gen. Eduardo Ermita, and Cols.
Honasan and Gador.
ISETANN, CUBAO, 11:00 PM - There were about two or three dozen people...more trickling in. Sun Inq Mag1 Jun
EDSA - It was still
a motley crowd at the camps gates. An impromptu rally was going on in
front of Gate 1 at Crame. The make-up of the crowd was a mixture of
fair-skinned urbanites, professionals, businessmen, matrons, and the
religious. The whole stretch of the highway surrounding the perimeter
of the camps was lined with Mercedeses, Corollas, Crowns, Liftbacks,
Lasers, and Hi-Aces from the plush subdivisions and middle-class neighborhoods.
In front of the Aguinaldo gates, makeshift altars had been erected,
candles burned quiveringly, and stately matrons and nuns patiently stood
RADIO VERITAS - "I am in deep concern about the situation of Minister Enrile and General Ramos," Jaime Cardinal Sin said. "I am calling on all our people to support our two good friends ... show your solidarity, your support in this very crucial period." Inquirer Extra 23 Feb
JAIME CARDINAL SIN "In subsequent calls I summoned the people to fill the streets precisely to avoid bloodshed and fratricide. Our intent was to make sure the first spark of fire would not be struck; that the first drop of blood would not be spilled. The call to fill the spaces around Crame and Aguinaldo was a summons "to love, not war." Inquirer Feb 89
JOAQUIN G. BERNAS,
S.J. - My recollections are of an incredible chain of events. When I
first heard of the mutiny, my initial reaction was: "Leave the
soldiers to fight it out among themselves." Clearly, the mutinous
crew could not have lasted against the armed might of the dictator.
Yet it did. Within an hour from a call for support for the mutineers,
EDSA was filled with people.
11:15 PM Marcos's press conference ended when Imee Marcos Manotoc
advised her father to rest. She accompanied him to another room where
she congratulated him on his TV performance.
Marcos made five personal calls to Olivas ordering him to disperse the crowds. Feigning compliance, Olivas replied "Yes, Sir" each time but he did nothing, waiting for the crowds to grow into a human barricade for his mentor Gen. Ramos. Veritas Special Oct 86
ISETANN, CUBAO, 11:30 PM - Butz made a second call through Radio Veritas. "We are here at Isetann and we will march to Crame and Aguinaldo. Minister Enrile and his men are ready to fight if they are attacked. If they are attacked, we will support them...we will surround the camps and protect them with our bodies. We will do this because Enrile and Ramos wish to follow the will of the people. Anyone who respects the will of the people deserves our help... I call on all our countrymen to join us and increase our number so that we can prevent a bloody confrontation. ... Only the brave should come!" There were thousands of people already. Sun Inq Mag 1 Jun
Cory Aquino: When people found out that I was with the Carmelite nuns, they were really banging at the gates of the monastery but the nuns assured me, they'd have to kill us first before they can get to you, or something like that. The problem was, Monching and the rest wanted to clear with me a press statement for release, but I didn't get to see them until the following day.
Eggie Apostol: I "slept" in the same room with Mrs. Enrile. She was clasping her statue of the Fatima. My ears were glued to the radio, to June Keithley, listening to what was going on. Walang tulugan.
MBS TV CHANNEL 4 - Marcos went on the air again, reaffirming the strength of his position. Sunday Times 23 Mar
FORT BONIFACIO - Ver
thought of plunging the Enrile-Ramos camps in darkness by cutting of
their power supply. It would also deny power to Radio Veritas which
was just a couple of kilometers to the north.
Cory Aquino: At the time Marcos still loomed as someone so formidable but I was thinking that maybe this is it, you know, the end of everything. So we prayed, of course, at the Carmelite monastery. and I surrendered everything to the Lord.
Fidel Ramos: Saturday night it was very clear to me that there was going to be a stand-off. How long this would last, nobody knew. I only knew that it was important to use the only weapon we had available at the time, and that was the people interposing themselves between us and the hostile forces of Marcos and Ver. We used the very weapon that Cory Aquino used during and after the snap elections.
Jose Almonte: One of my principal assignments with Vic Batac concerned people power. We reviewed the many social movements in various countries in various periods, in particular, Ghandi's work and peoples' experiences in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. At one point I told Tingting Cojuangco na ang strategy against the soldiers of Marcos is to climb the tanks, kiss the soldiers, give them flowers.
Saturday Night - No attack came because Ferdinand was busy hedging his
bets. He ordered a barge towed up the Pasig River in the dark to the
palace quay, where it was loaded with three hundred packed crates, most
of them extraordinarily heavy. Yamashita's Gold was taking a trip. DYNASTY pp. 415-416