" . . . When the
organizers asked where I wantet to hold the final rally, I told them: 'Luneta.' One
organizer looked at me and asked: 'Do you think we can fill up Luneta?' I answered: 'Who
were the first to be awakened when Ninoy was killed? Weren't the people of Manila the
first to awaken? They were the ones who stood up and said that they were ready to fight .
(from a speech delivered on February 4, 1986)
S O U N D C L I P 1
Interview with Marcos on Ninoy's death
S O U N D C L I P 2
Doy Laurel announcing Ninoy's death
S O U N D C L I P 3
Marcos announcs snap elections
home > the beginning > the
road to revolution
21 August 1983, China Airlines, Radio
Veritas, and the Filipino people at the Manila International Airport witnessed the
reckoning of a dictatorial President (attempting to obscure an infirmity with his kidney)
and an irrepressible critique and "rival". Yet on the genesis of a political
demise, Marcos downplayed Senator Benigno Aquinos return from Boston, Massachusetts
(and from a heart condition). Nonchalantly disregarding insulting assaults on the once
Martial Lawed Filipinos and on his labeled "can be Communist Catholic Church",
Marcos did not heed US Ambassador Michael Armacosts "advice".
Nevertheless, the Ambassadors proposal for the government to embrace Ninoys
ideals and arrival almost destroyed his integrity as a true oppositionist.
Indeed, 1983 served as the
clinching gun shot to put the Presidents decree making powers to arrest enemies,
supply patronage to friends, or legislate without public accountability into the ripples
of unrest that would soon become ravenous waves.
The boom was heard throughout
the live coverage of Veritas. The non-governmental radio station unleashed the Christian
Passion Play of the then cold Ninoy Aquino. Inevitably, much questioned later the irony of
having him so heavily guarded by some 1,199 military personnel. Marcos was shocked, so to
speak, and denies ball handling. Thus, passes the ball to Communists and referees at the
same time calling it a foula rubout job. The Filipino people then happened.
They just got tired watching
all the bad plays. Jumping into the arena, people turn to the mourning widow Coraczon C.
Aquino. This was manifested through a candlelit march to Sto. Domingo Church and motorcade
with the casket to Aquinos provincial capital of Tarlac. More than just a novelty,
apparently, over two million people viewed the hearse 10 days later.
Meanwhile, very vigilant
Veritas continued its broadcast about the aftermath of the Aquino murder. Marcos had no
choice but to keep them on air else enraging "his" people. Ergo, this revived
the pre-martial law tradition among Filipino Broadcasters. And every angle of mushrooming
rallies and demonstrations was exhausted. The Filipino people always watched and listened.
Hence, "Frightened Ferdie" fixed a Fact Finding Board to feed flustered
Filipinos. October, and juvenile court Judge Corazon Agrava took the reins of
investigation with four representatives from business, labor, law, and education (plus,
Chief Counsel Andres Narvasa). In a blink, the boards first session identify
triggerman Rolando Galman (found lying in the morguefor over 3 months) as assassin.
Nonetheless, the marinated thorough report of the Aquino murder never became its
anniversary special. This was so when the board split and the four "sectoral"
representatives implicated Chief of Staff Fabian Ver for wide conspiracy (although there
was unanimity that there was military connivance). Marcos then transferred the trials to
the Sandiganbayan, which he created five years back to judge corruption cases among
government officials. Noticeably, the record of convictions from this court was even a
clearer manifestation of corruption at its finest.
People then thought of hope.
They immersed themselves into the promises of the future after the May 1984 assembly
elections. Partaking of this perspective, the Aquino family split because of differences
in the envisioned future. Ninoys younger brother, Agapito "Butz" Aquino
was found in the stronghold of the left that was tatooed with boycott. Ninoys
mother, Doņa Aurora found sanctuary in the shabby shade of opposition candidates. Jose
Concepcion highlighted the elections with his reformed National Citizens Movement for Free
Elections (NAMFREL). Consequently, in 1984, some 200,000 wakeful watchers and vigilant
volunteers almost prevented cheating through its quickcount. On one hand, at least
it was able to cause Marcos to call off "Operation: Switch Phony Tally Sheets."
On the other, he resorted to provincial tallies to swing votes to his partys favor
causing a 2-1 victory over the total number of assembly sheets.
declaration was made that Galman killed Aquino on behalf of the Communists, as if Marcos
prophetically envisioned that declaration a day after the murder. Nonetheless, everyone
believed the declaration as a mere whitewash.
Corazon Aquino took the challenge of the upcoming February 7, 1986 presidential snap
elections. These are the silent but small steps that set afoot on the road not taken that
lead to the avenue of upheaval.
Marcos felt he won. He felt
he has "drawn the opposition back into his rules of his political gameof
accepting the National Assembly as more than a simple rubber stamp". However,, he let
the Church and the vast middle class plant the seeds of uprising. Alongside, the state
against the leftists ("for moral repulsion and violations of culturally acceptable
behaviour") bolstered the latter for an elite militancy to stop Marcos. This in turn,
stirred public awareness (especially in provinces) causing an increase in strikes and
demonstrations in front of the Malacaņang. Consequently, this led to shootings into
crowds into crowds best featured that 20th of September, 1985 at Escalante of
Northern Negros. 27 people died (as blockade of radicals) by automatic weapons then.
Meantime, further sparks of
steady attraction of middle class liberals, intellectuals & businessmen joined with
the Lefts anti-Marcos, anti-U.S. ferror. In effect most urban middle class with
Former Senator Lorenzo Taņada with Joaquin "Chino" Roces, former publisher of
Manila Timeswho gave Ninoy his first assignment) stood at the foot of Mendiola like
a sheriffs post as testimony of protest.
As the economy plunged, the
Philippines sank into the quicksand of IMF debits. To prove the government trustworthy of
the peoplesnow not so verystrict obedience, the International Monetary
Fund pushed Marcos to a blind corner. Conditional loans were made with the IMF, which in
turn made the government succumb to their demand for a snap election.