Timeline: Feb. 24, 1986, Day Three
(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.)
June Keithley starts broadcasting over dzRJ (christened Radyo Bandido dzRB) by playing “Mambo Magsaysay.”
Church bells ring and word spreads that President Marcos is planning an attack. People again converge on Edsa; tires are set ablaze and sandbags and rocks are piled up to block the roads to Camp Crame.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver is still unable to locate dzRJ, which is very near Malacañang.
At Camp Crame, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile warns of two oncoming armored personnel carriers (APCs). Human barricades led by nuns and priests prepare to block the path of the APCs.
In Washington, US President Ronald Reagan refuses to personally tell Marcos to step down but agrees to give him asylum. US Secretary of State George Shultz calls Ambassador Stephen Bosworth in Manila with instructions to tell Marcos “his time is up.”
Marcos rejects US stand. Speaking on radio, he vows: “We’ll wipe them out. It is obvious they are committing rebellion.”
Ver and the Army commander, Maj. Gen. Josephus Ramas, give go-signal for an all-out attack on Edsa using tear gas, gunships, jet fighters and Marine artillery.
At Camp Crame, AFP Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos calls for civilian reinforcements amid reports that a large loyalist military force is being assembled.
Rebel soldiers tearfully prepare for battle and ask for absolution. They sing the Philippine Military Academy hymn and bid one another farewell.
Tear gas explodes on Santolan Road outside Camp Aguinaldo. Marcos loyalist soldiers led by Col. Braulio Balbas enter the camp and take positions on the golf course fronting Camp Crame. More tear gas canisters are launched, but strong breeze blows gas back to the loyalist troops.
Tension rises as helicopters approach Camp Crame. Seven Sikorskys armed with rockets and cannons land inside the camp. Col. Antonio Sotelo and the entire Air Force 15th Strike Wing defect.
Balbas trains awesome firepower on Camp Crame after hearing an exaggerated account of rebel strength from Rodolfo Estrellado of military intelligence. Unknown to Balbas, Estrellado has joined the rebel side.
Aboard a gunboat, Commodore Tagumpay Jardiniano announces to his 50 officers that he is supporting the Ramos-Enrile forces. Officers rejoice after minutes of silence.
The frigate soon drops anchor in Pasig River with guns trained on Malacañang.
Keithley announces that Ver and Marcos and his family have fled the country.
Triumphant, Enrile and Ramos address ecstatic crowd outside Camp Crame. Two fighter planes with orders to bomb the camp tilt their wings and head toward Clark Air Base in Pampanga province.
To show that they have not fled, Marcos, his family and his generals appear on television. He announces the lifting of his “maximum tolerance” policy and declares a nationwide state of emergency.
Ramas issues “kill” order to Balbas. In reply, Balbas says he and his men are looking for maps.
Ramas again orders Balbas to fire. Balbas answers: “Sir, I am still positioning the cannons.”
Rebel soldiers and loyalist troops continue to exchange fire for control of Channel 4. After a demonstrator waving an Aquino banner climbs a wall of the station, a wounded soldier comes out to surrender.
Marcos’ press conference at the Palace with his family is suddenly cut off the air.
Rebel soldiers inflict slight damage on Malacañang to indicate their capacity to strike back.
Three rebel gunships destroy choppers at Villamor Air Base.
Marines led by Balbas withdraw from Camp Aguinaldo.
Channel 4 resumes broadcasting, delivering news of more defections to the rebels’ side.
With more and more people converging on Edsa and surrounding areas, Singaporean Ambassador Peter Sung offers to fly the Marcoses to his country. Marcos refuses.
Ver and Ramas decide to launch final “suicide assault.”
Cory Aquino shows up on makeshift stage in front of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency office on Edsa and Ortigas Avenue and delivers a brief exhortation to the crowd.
In Washington, Reagan agrees to make public call for Marcos’ resignation.
Philippine Airlines chair Roman Cruz Jr. sends his resignation letter to Cory Aquino, making him the first public official to recognize her as the duly elected President.
The United States endorses Aquino’s provisional government.
Marcos and his entire family appear on television. He appeals to loyalist civilians to go to Mendiola and calls on people to obey only orders issued by him as the “duly constituted authority.” He declares a 6 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew. No one observes his curfew.
A meeting between Aquino and the Ramos-Enrile group ends with a decision that her inauguration as President will be held at Club Filipino in San Juan the following morning. The rebels want the inauguration to be held at Camp Crame.
In Malacañang, the Marcos children’s dinner with Chief Justice Ramon Aquino and his son ends. Present are Imee and Irene and their husbands, Tommy Manotoc and Greggy Araneta, and Marcos Jr., who is dressed in fatigues.
Outside, people defy the curfew and continue to roam the streets of Manila.
(To be continued)
Sources: “Chronology of a Revolution” by Angela Stuart Santiago, “Walang Himala: Himagsikan sa Edsa” by Angela Stuart Santiago, “The Quartet Tiger Moon” by Quijano de Manila, “People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986,” “Bayan Ko” and PDI archives
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