MANILA — For the first time in three decades, three of the four key players that triggered the historic four-day EDSA People Power revolution on Feb. 22-25, 1986 that restored freedom and democracy in the Philippines, attended together a Holy Mass during the 31st EDSA anniversary held at Camp Aguinaldo on Friday.
It may be recalled that former defense minister, then Constabulary Chief Maj. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, and former Army Col. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, along with a few rebel soldiers of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), announced their breakaway from the 20-year regime of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos on that fateful day of Feb. 22, 1986.
The attendance of Enrile and Honasan caught many by surprise as the two had previous shunned away from attending EDSA anniversary celebration in the past.
It was only Ramos, who later was elected at the 12th President of the Philippines, who did not miss the annual EDSA celebration the past 31 years.
Before the Holy Mass started, Ramos, now going 89, talked to his peers sitting in the grandstand and asked them to join him in a symbolic “jump” – not once but twice – similar to what he did 31 years ago when he made that famous “FVR jump” upon learning that Marcos had stepped down from power following a four-day peaceful People Power revolution.
Recalling that historic EDSA revolt, from Camp Aguinaldo, the group moved to nearby Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) where they decided to make their last stand if attacked by government forces loyal to Marcos.
The rebel soldiers were prepared to die if need be at any eventuality to restore freedom and democracy for the Filipino people, who were under an autocratic rule for many years.
But as fate had it which many believed was an act of God, Jaime Cardinal Sin, the fearless archbishop of Manila, called on the Filipino people to go to Camp Crame along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue(EDSA) in Quezon City, to protect the rebel forces of Enrile and Ramos.
Almost instantly, over two million people went to EDSA where they prayed the Rosary for four days and bravely blocked government troops aboard tanks and armored vehicles that were ordered to crush the military rebels holed up in Camp Crame.
Miraculously, after four days of stand-off, government forces joined the millions of people power calling Marcos to step down from power.
The Marcoses fled in haste to Hawaii aboard a U.S military plane. Marcos died in Honolulu in 1989, three years after he was booted out from power.
It was during the 1986 EDSA People Power revolution that the Filipinos gained prominence all over the world for ending 20-year strongman rule in the country.
This writer covered that historic EDSA event of 1986. From EDSA, I proceeded to the National Press Club (NPC) in Intramuros, Manila where a PNA satellite office was located.
It was there that I witnessed two Philippine Air Force (PAF) helicopters attacked Malacanang Palace with air-to-ground rockets to force President Marcos and his family to flee from the presidential palace.
While this year’s celebration was toned down, it was highlighted by a Holy Mass which to many was more than enough as it honored God Almighty for His blessing to the Filipino people, who had survived that historic EDSA revolution peacefully more than three decades ago.
Ramos said that it was a unique revolution in the sense that there was only one casualty, a soldier who was killed in a brief firefight at the compound of Channel 4 in Quezon City.
Other than that there was no bloody incident in a revolution at that unlike other revolts in the world where tens of thousands were killed.
The 31st EDSA anniversary may be subdued but it was a genuine celebration as the three famous EDSA actors – former President Ramos, former Senate President Enrile and Sen. Honasan were united again to remember that historic event of their lives that helped regain freedom to the Filipino people more than three decades ago.
Had Cardinal Sin been alive today, he would gladly attend this year’s celebration with an open heart and a big smile. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency