People Power Revolution Timeline, Feb. 23, 1986, Day Two
(Editor’s Note: The following chronology was distilled from books and Inquirer Archives about events leading up to what is called the “real” Edsa 28 years ago.)
Thousands heed Jaime Cardinal Sin’s and Butz Aquino’s call over Radio Veritas to gather around Camps Aguinaldo and Crame and bodily protect the rebels led by Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, Armed Forces of the Philippines Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel Ramos and the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM).
Metropolitan Command head Maj. Gen. Prospero Olivas tells President Ferdinand Marcos he is incapable of dispersing crowds at Edsa. He also defies Marcos’ order to call Army commander Maj. Gen. Josephus Ramas for reinforcements.
Marcos presents alleged assassin Maj. Saulito Aromin on Channel 4.
Supreme Court Justice Nestor Alampay resigns.
AFP Chief Gen. Fabian Ver gathers his men in Fort Bonifacio and appoints Ramas, his protégé, to lead the assault on Camps Aguinaldo and Crame.
Enrile urges Cory Aquino to announce her government, with her as duly elected president. Sin goes on the air to ask Marcos and Ver not to use force.
In Washington, US Secretary of State George Shultz assembles a small group, including former Ambassador to the Philippines Michael Armacost, to lay down a firm policy on the Philippines.
Marcos loyalist troops destroy Radio Veritas’ transmitter in Bulacan province, limiting its reach to Luzon.
Marine commander Gen. Artemio Tadiar is stunned to learn that Ramas, who has little combat experience, has been assigned to lead the attack on rebels. Tadiar and his men are standing guard in Malacañang.
Cory Aquino, still in Cebu City, turns down Assemblyman Ramon Mitra’s offer to bring her to Palawan province, and decides to return to Manila.
Mass is celebrated inside Camp Crame. Outside, at Edsa, people continue to arrive, some on foot. Human barricades are further fortified.
After waiting for three hours for permission to withdraw his troops from Palace, Tadiar shouts at Ramas: “This is insane! I am still waiting for permission to move troops, yet you are ready to move out!”
Marcos orders Col. Antonio Sotelo, commander of the Air Force’s 15th Strike Wing based in Sangley Point, to disable the helicopters in Camp Crame. With no one volunteering to carry out the attack, Sotelo discusses with his men a plan to fight alongside the Enrile-Ramos troops.
Cory Aquino holds a brief press conference in Cebu, asking the people to support the military rebels and calling on Marcos to step down.
Marcos men present at the presidential table include Presidential Executive Assistant Juan C. Tuvera, Agrarian Reform Minister Conrado Estrella, Public Works Minister Jesus Hipolito, Food Administrator Jesus Tanchangco, Agriculture Minister Salvador Escudero III, Education Minister Jaime C. Laya, Member of Parliament Teodulo Natividad, Budget Minister Manuel Alba, MP Salvador Britanico, former Acting Foreign Minister Pacifico Castro, MIA Manager Luis Tabuena, Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy, Information Minister Gregorio Cendaña, Justice Minister Estelito Mendoza, Justice Buenaventura Guerrero, Assistant Press Secretary Amante Bigornia, MP Antonio Raquiza, Economic Planning Minister Vicente Valdepeñas and former Sen. Rodolfo Ganzon.
Standing behind them are military men, including General Ver, Rear Adm. Brillante Ochoco, Felix Brawner, Carlos Martel, Juanito Veridiano, Hamilton Dimaya, Eustaquio Purugganan, Telesforo Tayko, Serapio Martillano, Pompeyo Vasquez, Victorino Azada, Arsenio Silva, Evaristo Sanches, Emerson Tangan and Navy Capt. Danilo Lazo.
Marcos joins his men at the table and then appears again on television and presents two more arrested military officers, Lt. Col. Jake Malajacan and Maj. Ricardo Brillantes who both read statements. Marcos says other officers have been arrested and are being interrogated. He scoffs at Enrile and Ramos’ demand that he resign. He brushes aside claims that 300,000 to 400,000 people are gathered at Edsa, some carrying images of the Virgin Mary.
Troops led by Metropolitan Police Chief Alfredo Lim ignores orders to disperse the crowd.
Cory Aquino arrives in Manila and proceeds to her sister’s house in Wack-Wack, Mandaluyong City.
Enrile and Ramos decide to consolidate their forces at Camp Crame. Linking arms, the people at Edsa create a protective wall for Enrile and RAM troops as they leave Camp Aguinaldo and cross the highway to get to Crame on the other side.
A car with tinted windows bearing Cory Aquino cruises alongside a Marcos loyalist column of seven tanks and two Marine battalions led by Tadiar moving on Edsa.
People at Ortigas and Edsa form human barricades to block the path of the oncoming tanks. A tense standoff begins.
Marcos calls Enrile and offers him absolute pardon. He rejects Enrile’s demand that the tanks be stopped.
Radio Veritas signs off after the emergency transmitter bogs down.
In a news conference, Enrile announces his men’s rejection of Marcos’ offer of pardon. Ramos talks about “New Armed Forces.”
Papal Nuncio Bruno Torpigliani hands Marcos a letter from Pope John Paul II asking for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. The White House issues a statement questioning “credibility and legitimacy” of the Marcos government.
June Keithley, who has been broadcasting at Radio Veritas since the start of the rebellion against Marcos, moves to dzRJ using Radio Veritas’ frequency of 840 kHz to keep her location secret. Col. Ruben Ciron, one of Enrile’s men, facilitates the transfer of the frequency.
The crowd thins as the tanks retreat, but the human barricades remain intact.
Consul to Honolulu Raul Rabe, Lt. Noel Buan, Brigadier Generals Tomas Manlongat, Renato de Villa, Dionisio Tan-Gatue, Carlos Aguilar, Benjamin Ignacio and Rodrigo Gutan, and Police Superintendents Narciso Cabrera, Ruben Escarcha and Alfredo Yson withdraw their support to Marcos.
(To be continued)
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