IT’S FEBRUARY 24,2016, the eve of the 30th Anniversary of the EDSA Revolution. I am posting here something I wrote in Facebook Notes on this same anniversary in 2011. Because it’s there.
For the nth time (in 25 years): yes, I was a senior reporter for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. But, no, I WAS NOT AT EDSA!
I was in Malacañang doing my job, covering Marcos. The story of EDSA is not just EDSA, no matter how exciting and glamorous those days of stopping tanks with warm bodies, winning over heavily armed troopers with flowers stuck in their rifle barrels, Gringo, Johnny and jumpin’ Eddie and Tita Cory.
The story of EDSA was in 7,100 islands. It was a story of Marcos loyalists up north waiting for the Apo to arrive and regroup – including today’s Sen. Bongbong Marcos – but was instead disarmed by the Americans when they landed in Clark then whisked away to Guam, then Hawaii.
It was the story of battle ready soldiers, impatiently waiting at the tarmac of the Cagayan de Oro airport for a chance to fly back to Manila to support their comrades in Aguinaldo and Crame, including Col Chito Dizon, today’s Presidential Security chief, who was then fresh out of the Philippine Military Academy.
It was about the Left, who sheepishly stayed out of the picture and totally missed their chance of a lifetime in Philippine history.
And it was about this reporter’s mother who struggled to recall what shirt her son was wearing when he reported to his Malacanang assignment because too many friends and relatives were calling to confirm if indeed he was wearing that checkered polo in that live TV coverage of Marcos, because the rumor on EDSA spread by psyops master General Fidel V.Ramos was that the dictator had left the country.
It was the story is this thin, dark man… Unknown… Who lay dead amid the scattered paper and debris of the old admin building of the Palace… After he was trampled by the mob who stormed the grounds, looted it and pissed on the Pasig river by the garden because it was a statement of their sentiments about the former tenant.
It was the story of this stocky American, sporting a Marine crew cut, wearing a polo barong, Raybans, standing beside his unmarked J-car parked beside the old MIA tower, quietly observing as the rebel Sikorsky choppers obliterate the older Hueys parked on Villamor airbase. He laughs as the executive helicopters, retrofitted for military use, kept missing their targets because they were’not designed for such use to begin with.
It was a PH story — PH uprising… PH Revolt.