Here at FHM, we believe in the saying, "Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan." Jose Rizal’s famous quote has never been so timely, as today marks the 30th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.
With that, let's take a walk down memory lane to recall the events that led to one of our country’s most defining moments.
May 8, 1980 – Marcos staunchest political foe, Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., suffers a heart attack while imprisoned. He and his family are allowed by the government to fly to America to seek treatment.
August 13, 1983 - After three years in exile, Aquino leaves America to return to the Philippines. He hopes to convince Marcos to step down as president-dictator.
August 21, 1983; 1:04 PM – Aquino lands at Manila International Airport aboard China Airlines Flight CI-811. As soon as his plane reached its gate, soldiers boarded the aircraft and searched for the senator. Ninoy was escorted off the plane through a service staircase. Shots were fired. Aquino was next seen lying in a pool of his own blood on the tarmac.
August 31, 1983 – Aquino’s funeral procession lasted for 12 hours (from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) as millions of people flock the streets to catch a final glimpse at the assassinated senator.
November 3, 1985 – President Marcos announced that a presidential snap election will be held in the following year. A victory would legitimize his prolonged control of the country. The opposition convinces Ninoy’s widow, Corazon "Cory" Aquino, to run against Marcos.
February 7, 1986 – The country's first elections post-Martial Law was marked with incidents of fraud, vote-buying, intimidation, and violence. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) tally board showed Marcos leading, while the National Citizen's Movement for the Free Elections (NAMFREL) had Aquino on top. Several sectors, including the church and key military officials, condemned this.
Saturday, February 22, 1986
6:45 PM – Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces of the Philippines Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, two key leaders of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), announced their break from the Marcos camp in a press conference. They also confirmed the massive cheating during the elections, declaring that Cory is the country’s true president.
9:00 PM – Jaime Cardinal Sin goes on air via Radio Veritas and asks the Filipinos to support Enrile and Ramos. Many people, including nuns and priests, went to the section of EDSA between Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo to aid Enrile, Ramos, and their troops.
Sunday, February 23, 1986
1:00 AM – Government troops destroy Radio Veritas' transmission tower to cut off its broadcasts to the provinces. Despite this, thousands of people still flocked to EDSA to show their support to the rebels.
1:30 PM – Several tanks, manned by a contingent of marines, attempted to make their way to Camp Aguinaldo and Came Crame, but were blocked by the throngs of people on EDSA. Gen. Artemio Tadiar threatens to open fire at them, but the crowd does not budge, responding by praying, singing "Bayan Ko," and offering soldiers food. The soldiers withdraw peacefully.
3:00 PM – Corazon Aquino asks for Marcos to step down before going into hiding. An armed group of marines are prevented from reaching the camps by groups of people manning makeshift barricades.
6:30 PM – Radio Veritas goes off air. Other radio stations continue to broadcast reports about the ongoing rebellion.
Monday, February 24, 1986
1:00 AM – Word that Marcos is planning an attack on EDSA spreads. People gather again, with nuns and priests leading the formation of human barricades on the streets.
4:00 AM – The United States tells Marcos that "his time is up." President Ronald Reagan agrees to give Marcos asylum.
5:00 AM – Marcos condemns the EDSA rebellion on air, saying the government will "wipe them out." His top generals give the go signal for an all-out attack on EDSA. Ramos calls for civilian reinforcement, and rebel soldiers steel themselves for battle.
5:15 AM- Marcos troops enter Camp Aquinaldo and occupy the golf course fronting Camp Crame.
6:00 AM – More soldiers defect to the rebel side.
6:30 AM – Leading radio announcer June Keithley announces that the Marcoses have fled the country along with Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Fabian Ver, one of Marcos’ most loyal henchmen.
9:00 AM – The Marcoses and his generals appear on TV to declare a nationwide state of emergency. His press conference gets cut off the air at 9:50.
4:30 PM – Cory Aquino talks to the crowds on a makeshift stage in front of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency Office on the corner of EDSA and Ortigas Avenues.
6:00 PM – Reagan publicly calls for Marcos’ resignation and endorses Aquino’s provisional government.
8:10 PM – Marcos appeals to loyalists civilians to go to Mendiola and declares a 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM curfew, which no one observes.
Tuesday, February 25, 1986
12:00 AM – The Marcoses starts packing their belongings in preparation for their departure to the US.
5:00 AM - Marcos asks US Senator Paul Laxalt if he should step down. Laxalt replies, "I think you should cut, and cut cleanly. The time has come."
10:15 AM – Aquino and her vice president, Senator Salvador Laurel, are proclaimed duly elected President and Vice President at Club Filipino in San Juan.
11:45 AM – Marcos is inaugurated as President at Malacañang's Ceremonial Hall. The Marcoses later proceed to their balcony to wave at the crowd of loyalists below.
5:00 PM – Marcos' camp coordinates with the rebel soldiers to arrange his departure from Malacañang.
9:05 PM- The Marcoses leave the grounds of Malacañang Palace aboard helicopters. The crowd rejoices.
February 26, 1986 – The Marcos family arrives in Hawaii. They stayed in the island state until November 4, 1991, or when President Aquino allowed them to return to the Phillipines.