THE 1986 PEOPLE POWER REVOLUTION A TIMELINE
1983 (August 21 at 1 p.m.) – Ninoy is assassinated at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport.
1984 – Parliamentary elections are held on May 14; October 24, the Agrava Board tasked with investigating Ninoy’s assassination concludes military conspiracy implicating Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Gen. Fabian Ver.
1985 Feb.22 – Ver, 24 soldiers and one civilian stand trial for the Aquino murder; August parliamentarians file motion to impeach Marcos citing ‘hidden wealth;’ Nov.3 Marcos announces holding of snap elections on insistence of America; Dec. 2, Ver and co accused are acquitted and reinstated by Sandiganbayan amid widespread protest; Dec. 3 Corazon Aquino declares her presidential candidacy with Salvador Laurel as runningmate; Dec. 5 the opposition makes a formal announcement of Aquino-Laurel tandem in the snap polls.
1986 Feb.7 – heavy voter turnout and confusion over voters’ list results in the disenfranchisement of 3 million voters. COMELEC tally shows Marcos leading while Cory Aquino led in NAMFREL tally.
Feb. 9 – 35 computer workers at COMELEC center at PICC walk out and seek refuge at Baclaran Church to protest poll results tampering.
Feb. 11 – Opposition Antique ex Gov. Evelio Javier is murdered infront of the provincial capitol where canvassing is being held. Primary suspects are bodyguards of local KBL leader.
Feb. 13 – The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines statement condemning the fraudulent election.
Saturday, Feb. 22 Final meeting of the RAM at Defense Minister Enrile’s Dasmarinas Village house before the assault on Malacañan Palace. Ver augments palace defense. At 3 a.m. Lt. Col. Honasan and Red Kapunan begin reconnaissance of Malacanang but finds battlehardened Marines posted at their point of attack. At 6:30 a.m. Maj. Avelino Razon briefs AFP Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos on developments of RAM’s plans. At 9 a.m. Ver sends Col. Rolando Abadilla to Honasan to warn him that RAM should not make rash decisions but Honasan said he is not aborting the mission but is freezing the operation for 24 hours. At 10 a.m. Cory Aquino leaves for Cebu to continue the Civil Disobedience Campaign. 12 noon – Navy Capt. Rex Robles liaises with the diplomatic community to tell them of their story. US Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, Philip Habib, President Reagan’s personal envoy to Marcos, meets with FM at Malacang on the snap election and the politi-
cal situation. Bosworth asks Marcos to retire Ver.
12:45 p.m. – As Marcos meets with the US envoys, Capt. Ricardo Morales, close in security of Imelda and a mole of RAM, reconnoiters the palace grounds and withdraws some firearms from the PSG armory. He is arrested and taken for interrogation at the office of the aide de camp.
1:45 p.m. – Bosworth leaves the place and Ver storms into the Presidential study to report the arrest of four PSG officers found to be members of RAM. Habib confides to US that Cory won the election and deserves US support.
2 p.m. – With their plans discovered, Enrile and the RAM officers, had to change direction. They decided to draw public support if they are to storm this crisis out. Cory in Cebu calls for the boycott of Marcos crony- owned business.
3:45 p.m. – Enrile gets through to Cardinal Sin and seeks his moral and active support saying he would not survive the day.
4:30 p.m. – The first military region to go to the rebel side was Regional Unified Command No. 8, which included troops in Leyte, Mrs. Marcos’s province led by commander, Brig. Gen. Salvador Mison who was in Camp Aguinaldo.
5:30 p.m. – Marcos calls his family to Malacanang
6:30 p.m. – Malacanang receives a report that Ramos and Enrile were “officially withdrawing their support” to the Marcos administration.
6:45 p.m. – Enrile and Ramos, surrounded by their staff and guards hold a press conference at the Social Hall of the GHQAFP to officially announce their withdrawal of support to Marcos administration. Enrile asks the Cabinet of Marcos to heed the will of the people as expressed in the snap election. He confessed to cheating in his province, Cagayan, in that election by 350,000 votes. He said he won’t serve under Mrs. Aquino if she is installed president. Our loyalty is to the Constitution and the country. You are welcome to join us. We have no food.
7p. m. – Cory receives the news of Enrile and Ramos’ withdrawal. She calls Manila to verify the report.
8:15 p.m. – Ver orders Brig. Gen. Fidel Singson, chief of the Intelligence Service of AFP to destroy Radio Veritas. But Singson, who was defecting to the rebel group, sends his men to Veritas only to reconnoiter, not to destroy.
8:30 p.m. – Cardinal Sin goes on air asking people to stay home. Hearing this, the rebel groups call Sin to clarify their request. They ask him to send people to the camps/
9 p.m. – Sin goes on air again telling people to leave their homes and provide support to Enrile and Ramos and give them food. Butz Aquino asks the August Twenty One Movement executive committee to support Enrile-Ramos but ATOM opts to wait for Cory’s instructions, who was still deciding on what action to take after the call from ATOM. She asks to speak with Enrile first. Col. Antonio Sotelo, commander of 15th Strike Wing gets a call from Col. Hector Tarrazona of Villamor Air Base asking if he is with them. Sotelo confirms his support for RAM and orders his Squadron commanders to arm their attack helicopters.
Sunday, February 23 Midnight – Thousands of people, heeding Sin’s appeal, gather around the camps forming a human barricade at the gates to block any attack. Enrile issues a statement that it was Aquino who had won.
10 a.m. – Enrile airs an appeal for more civilian presence outside the rebel camps over Radio Veritas. Ramos says that the “moral power of an enraged population” will be enough to halt the loyalist forces nonviolently. He claims that the rebels have the support of up to 90% of provincial military commanders.
12:30 p.m. – Marcos appears on television with loyalist generals. He hints at a possible artillery strike while announcing plans for his upcoming Tuesday inauguration. He introduces three more officers allegedly involved in the coup. The leader of the plot is said to be Enrile’s chief of security, Col. Gergorio “Gringo” Honasan.
1 p.m. – Armed soldiers destroy Radio Veritas’ transmission tower, thereby cutting off all news of the rebellion in Manila and Quezon City to the provinces. Enrile and Ramos meet with businessmen, defecting officers and opposition politicians pledging their support. Arms and ammunition are ferried into Camp Aquinaldo and Camp Crame in preparation for an expected assault.
1:30 p.m. – Having heard of reports of loyalist troop movements, Enrile transfers his forces to Camp Crame. Tens of thousands chant “Johnny! Johnny!” as Enrile, clutching a machine gun, crosses the street to Crame with his men. A large Marine contingent composed of tanks and an APC proceeds towards the camps via Ortigas Avenue. They are stopped nearly a mile from the gates by a wall of tens of thousands of people. General Artemio Tadiar threatens to open fire. The people don’t budge and sing “Bayan Ko,” praying and offering soldiers cigarettes and bread. The Marines withdraw without firing a single shot.
2 p.m. – Ramos calls the revolution “a revolution of the people,” as he faces his supporters for the first time outside the gates of Camp Crame along EDSA. Metropolitan Command head Maj. Gen. Prospero Olivas tells Marcos he is incapable of dispersing crowds at EDSA and defies Marcos’ order to call Army commander Maj. Gen. Josephus Ramas for reinforcements.
3 p.m. – Cory returns to Manila and goes into hiding. Before leaving Cebu, she praises the rebel leaders and calls on Marcos to step down. An armored column of loyalist Marines are stopped by a wall of people manning makeshift barricades one kilometer from the rebel headquarters. After dusk, the column withdraws. Throughout the afternoon, opposition leaders hold talks with Enrile on a provisional government with Aquino as president.
6:30 p.m. – Radio Veritas goes off air. Other sympathetic stations continue broadcasting news of the rebellion. Civilians manning DXRJ broadcast reports of government and other vital information to the people in the barricades. DZRJ is now DZRB, Radio Bandido.
7 p.m. – On air, Ramos pledges to put the “New Armed Forces” at the service of “newly-constituted authorities,” under Cory.
Monday, February 24 12:10 a.m. – With Radio Veritas now out, a second clandestine radio station, called Radyo Bandido, airs June Kiethly’s broadcast as she plays Mambo Magsaysay for identification. Through phone patch, Ramos is heard directing troops with Artemio Tadiar, Marines head.
1 a.m. – On instruction of Sin and other Catholic bishops church bells ring eerily and households walk out to the streets in subdivisions surrounding Camp Crame when word that Marcos forces were going to attack.
2:03 a.m. – Ramos lights a cigar and announces a Huey helicopter has been flown in by defecting Air Force pilots. He tells journalists that an attack was expected by daybreak from loyalist troops two kilometers away on Santolan Road. He appeals on radio for people to “meet the forces organized by Ver and Marcos.”
3 a.m. – The National Security Planning Group meets in Washington at the office of Shultz as Bosworth in Manila reports that Marcos might attack the rebels at daybreak. Shultz proposes to President Reagan that Sen. Laxalt fly to Manila with a presidential message urging Marcos to resign. Habib accompanies him to broker the transition.
3:30 a.m. – Fresh from jogging, Ramos reports that three tanks had been sighted in Santolan. Enrile warns people through radio that two APC tanks were on their way to Ortigas. A human barricade braces itself for suspense. But again the APCs, upon reaching the edge of the human barricade, hesitate and retreats. At Gate 2, Freddie Aguilar reports Marines cocking their firearms.
4 a.m. – Reagan tells the National Security Council to approach Marcos carefully. He refuses to call Marcos to ask him to step down, nor would he send a personal message. Shultz calls Marcos to tell him his time is up.
4:30 p.m. – At Camp Crame war room, Ramos receives a note and breaks into a wide grin since “everybody is defecting to our side.” Ret. Brig.Gen. Guillermo Pichache commissioner of the National Pollution Control was joining the rebels. At 4:40 a.m. June Keithley informs Ramos that a caller from Fort Bonifacio reported the soldiers are massing and about to leave for Camp Crame. Ramos asks for more people.
5:15 a.m. – Sotelo asks the pilots if anybody wanted to back out. No one did. By coincidence, they received their first mission to fly two gunships to Fort Bonifacio. Sotelo uses this as his cover.
6 a.m. – Sin gives absolution to rebel soldiers on air. Just as he said Amen, the whirring of a helicopter broke the reporters’ conversation huddled in the war room of Camp Crame. Five gunships in the air hovered over Crame.
6:20 a.m. – Seven Sikorskys with rockets and cannon land on the parade ground. The rebels brace themselves for a bloody attack. Out came airmen waving white flags and giving L sign. Rebel soldiers hug the crews and the nun give them flowers. Sotelo defects with the entire elite 15thStrike Wing of Air Force.
6:27 a.m. – Keithley announces Marcos, Bongbong had taken off from Manila International Airport and that Ver’s wife and Imelda left at 3 p.m. while Marcos’ daughters Irene and Imee left the night before leaving Ver alone in Malacanang.
6:30 a.m. – At the house of Doy Laurel the topic is the setting up of a provisional government with Homobono Adaza tasked to liaise with Enrile. Enrile asks Laban vice president Tito Guingona to contact Cory and Doy about the provisional government. He also asks that a skeletal cabinet be formed.
7 a.m. – The announcement that Marcos and his family had left on MBS TV4, a government station, prompts ATOM to take over MBS4. In Camp Crame, Enrile and Ramos address the crowd of liberation day. He did his ecstatic frog jump.
9 a. m. – Marcos appears on television and declares a state of emergency throughout the archipelago. He orders Cendana to put him and his family on TV to disprove the story of his departure. The crowds are pounding at the gates, demanding the guards to let them in because the Marcoses had left. Malacañang again summoned the generals to be on TV with Marcos to disprove Keithley’s report, Marcos appeals to the citizens to get out of the line of fire in case hostilities break out.
9:20 a.m. – Ramas orders Balbas to fire the Howitzers. By now millions take to the streets. In the middle of Marcos’ presscon Ver asks permission to fire at Camp Crame but Marcos said the order is not to attack.
Maj. Charles Hotchkiss’ 20th Air Commando Squadron of the 15th Strike Wing gets its first mission to cripple Malacanang radio transmitter. One Sikorsky gunship is sent but the pilot could not see the transmitter. In the US, Shultz and Armacost meet at State Department with Labor Minister Blas Ople who pleads the case of Marcos.
10 a.m. – The Presidential helicopters land in Pangarap complex and the Air Force Group, composed of five pilots and four soldiers. In Nagtahan, Marines and Presidential Security Command troopers in full battle gear keep cocking their automatic rifles as crowds of 3,000 began inching towards Malacanang. Several V-150 commando cars with mounted cannons start blocking Nagtahan bridge by mid morning. Tommy Manotoc receives a call from JUSMAG’s Brig Gen Ted Allen offering American helicopters or navy boats to transport the ailing Marcos and his entourage out of the beleaguered palace. When the bombs fall on Malacanang from the post office, all the Marcoses descend to the ground floor, near the elevator where it was safest. The 15th Strike Wing fires six rockets hitting the room of Imelda and the garden of Dona Josefa Edralin Marcos. Col. Irwin Ver, commander of Palace Guards orders full attack on the rebels. Ver claims the palace was hit and suffered 10 casualties.
11:45 a.m. – Radio Veritas begins airing with MBS 4 facilities
12 nn. – In Camp Crame, Sotelo dispatches three gunships to Bonifacio with instructions to shoot at any helicopters or planes on the ground. They find five in Villamor and Hotchkiss catches their radio frequency and aska the pilots to vacate the area. But the reply was “come and get it.”
12:30 p.m. – Marines pull out through the Logistics Command, took Rodriguez Avenue and Shaw Boulevard. The human barricades along Shaw break ranks for them to go through smoothly.
1 p.m. – In Malacanang, Ver gives secret order to Piccio to launch an air attack on Crame but Piccio says “we have no more gunships. They have just been destroyed.” Ver looks and gets pilots in Malacanang but could not give them fighter bombers, which were at Clark without gas.
1:25 p.m. – Orly Punzalan and Maan Hontiveros (producer of Ms. Ellaneous) announce that Channel 4 is back on air to serve the people. They call the former technicians of ABS-CBN to report back to work.
2 p.m. – In Santolan, Libis a truck and jeep load of Marines stop in front of human barricade of 200 boys and girls from Ateneo demanding to pass to assault Crame. But the kids won’t budget. After a half hour, the kids are asked by nuns and priests to give way and the marines charge. In Doy Laurel’s house, the Batasan members continue planning for a new government and Cory joins the group along with Guingona and Palma.
3 p.m. – In Malacanang, Ambassador Peter Sung of Singapore calls with an urgent message from Lee Kuan Yew offering Marcos his hospitality and inviting him and family to fly there. Marcos sends his gratitude to Prime Minister Lee. By now, an overflowing crowd fill EDSA from Cubao to Ortigas, the Santolan Road from San Juan up to Libis, Murphy and all side streets surrounding Aguinaldo and Crame. Rebel soldiers then swoop down on Channel 7.
3:55 p.m. – In MBS Radyo Pilipino, the rebel station, Bayan Ko is played for the first time after three years. Cory addresses the people for the first time from the main entrance of POEA building.
4:30 p.m. – A provisional government is set up after which Cory and Doy are proclaimed. Batasan members agree to fill up the posts of Prime Minister, Finance, Defense and Foreign Affairs first. In Malacanang, Ver and Ramas decide to launch the final suicide assault on the rebels. US Embassy gets wound of this plan and phones Washington.
6 p.m. – Reagan is awakened by his Admiral Poindexter, his security advisor, to publicly call on Marcos to resign. In Camp Crame, Roman Cruz Jr., president of Philippine Air Lines, submits his resignation letter to Cory, making him the first government official to recognize Cory as the duly-elected president. Ramos and Enrile hold a press conference with local and foreign press to announce the takeover of the New Armed Forces of the People is almost complete.
7:30 p.m. – In Washington, the US endorses the provisional government of Cory.
8:10 p.m. – Marcos appears live with Mrs Marcos, Bongbong and daughter Imee calling on loyal followers to report to Mendiola barricade near Malacanang to enlist and be issued firearms or for his inauguration tomorrow at the Palace. He reiterates that the country is under an emergency. He declares curfew all over the country effective 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
9:00 p.m. – The appointments of Doy as Prime Minister, Enrile as Defense Minister and Ramos as Chief of Staff have been made. Chief Justice Ramon Aquino and his son dines with Marcos girls in Malacanang and only Marcos sons in law Greggy Araneta and Tommy Manotoc seem worried about the situation. The palace is a fortress with military men sleeping all over the place, including corridors.
Tuesday, Feb. 25 12 midnight – Fireworks are seen prompted by persistent rumors of Marcos’ fall and flight. In Nagtahan Bridge several are wounded when loyal soldiers fire at rebel supporters who had turned back a column of armored vehicles heading towards Channel 4. There is little sleep in the palace as aides sift through cabinets and boxes filled with documents, receipts, letters, many of them incriminating.
2:45 a.m. – Marcos calls Washington about the provisional government and proposed a power sharing between him and Cory or as adviser to Cory until the end of his term in 1987. Senator Paul Laxalt, his friend, promises to consult Reagan and call him back. Imelda calls First Lady Nancy to ask her husband’s message. Nancy promises to get back to her.
3 a. m. – in Washington, Alejandro Melchor tries to negotiate Marcos’ exit but was asked by the National Security Council to telephone Sin in Manila to secure the Cardinal’s intervention with Cory over the deal
3:30 a.m. – in Fort Bonifacio, Marines are jubilant of the news that Marcos just cancelled his order to attack Crame using mortars. In Villamor, two RF27 and C-130 planes used as troop transport takes off on a mission of ferrying reinforcements ordered by Ver. The pilots change plans and land at Clark. The same thing happens with pilots in Basa Air Base and Legazpi City. In return for Ver’s not ordering the attack, the US would guarantee his (and family’s) safety.
5 a.m. – Marcos and Imelda get their respective replies from Washington. Marcos asks Laxalt if he should step down. Laxalt says “I think you should cut and cut cleanly. The time has come.”
5:30 a.m. – Marcos cancels his order to loyalists to fire on Crame and joins his family who urged him to leave. But Imelda is adamant. In Times St., QC negotiations between Cory and rebel soldiers for the oath taking to be in Aguinaldo go on frenziedly from evening of Feb. 24 until now. But Cory insists on having her oath at Club Filipino.
6 a.m. – In Club Filipino, the place is ablaze with yellow as people start pouring in. In QC meantime, loyal forces fire at the tower of Channel 4.
8 a.m. – The grounds teem with people, extending up to Greenhills Commercial Center. The Sampaguita Hall where Cory is taking her oath has 500 people when it could only accommodate 300. In Malacanang, Imelda phones Enrile asking how the problem could be settled and to organize a provisional government. But Enrile said he was not interested in power and it was too late as he already committed support to Cory. Marcos asks if it would be safe for him to leave the Philippines to which Enrile said why not. Marcos asked if Ver is safe. Enrile said it is a different matter. In combat uniform, Enrile and Ramos arrive at Sampaguita Hall to sign the Citizen Resolution revoking the proclamation of Marcos and Tolentino and installing Aquino and Laurel.
9 a.m. – The University Belt in Sampaloc becomes a veritable war zone. In Malacanang, aides are packing important papers and personal necessities of the First Family for the trip to the north. Cory and family prepare to board cars for Club Filipino. The mood is festive. Rebel soldiers come in cars and choppers.
Feb. 25 evening – US helicopters filled with Americans land at Malacanang Park, across the palace on the Pasig River. The Marcoses are told to board the choppers. Marcos and his family are taken to Clark Air Base in Pampanga. Upon landing, they are told that they would be transferred to a bigger plane. Marcos and Imelda assumes the bigger plane would take them to Paoay. When the plane arrives, Marcos, who was sleeping at that time, is roused from his slumber with the word that they y would have to leave Clark k because the NPAs are set to attack. They board the plane and take off. After more than han an hour in flight, Imeldaelda asks a Maj. Allen why they are not yet in Ilocos. She is told that they will be landing ng in Guam instead.