EDSA People Power revolution timeline: Day 1
(Editor’s Note: The following chronology was distilled from books and PDI archives, about events leading up to what has been called the “real” Edsa.)
Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and key aides finalize Enrile’s speech in which he will proclaim himself head of a ruling junta after rebel troops led by the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) assault Malacañang. Assault is planned for Feb. 23 at 2 a.m.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver fortifies Palace, having been informed of impending coup by Maj. Edgardo Doromal of the Presidential Security Command.
Doromal was tapped by RAM to serve as a spy in the Palace but he later confessed to his commander, Col. Irwin Ver, son of the AFP chief, and agreed to become a double agent.
At a meeting at Enrile’s Dasmariñas house in Makati, RAM chief Col. Gregorio Honasan learns that a Marine battalion is positioned exactly at rebels’ planned point of attack.
On Ver’s instruction, Metropolitan Command officer Col. Rolando Abadilla tries to talk Honasan out of any rash action.
Honasan learns that more soldiers are being deployed to guard Palace. Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin calls Enrile to say that his 19 security men have been arrested. Enrile worries because three were on loan from him and knew of coup plot.
In Malacañang, President Marcos meets with US Ambassador to the Philippines Stephen Bosworth and Philip Habib, US President Ronald Reagan’s “trouble-shooter.” The two Americans note worsening political crisis and push for Ver’s removal from office.
Honasan and Lt. Col. Eduardo Kapunan arrive at Enrile’s house; they tell him of orders to round up all members of their movement. Between hiding in Cagayan Valley and regrouping for possible stand-off, Enrile chooses the latter and tells everyone to go to Camp Aguinaldo.
Capt. Ricardo Morales, one of Imelda’s security officers, surveys the Palace defenses and attempts to withdraw firearms from the Presidential Security Unit armory. He is accosted and becomes the first of four alleged assassins arrested by Marcos forces. The others are Maj. Saulito Aromin, Lt. Col. Jake Malajacan and Maj. Ricardo Brillantes.
Before boarding his plane out of Manila, Habib told a US Embassy officer to tell Bosworth that Aquino won the election and “deserves our support. Marcos is finished, and we ought to offer him asylum in the US.”
Enrile and RAM discuss how to cover up their coup plot in order to drum up support for themselves. Enrile calls AFP vice chief Gen. Fidel Ramos, who declares his full support.
Honasan gives signal to prepare his men for combat. He, Enrile and Kapunan fly to Aguinaldo in a chopper.
At Aguinaldo, Enrile’s guards bring out brand-new M-16s, Uzis and Galils. Enrile orders troop deployment around Camp Crame. On the phone, he tells his wife Cristina to call Inquirer founding chair Eugenia Apostol to apprise her of what’s happening and request her to inform Jaime Cardinal Sin.
Brig. Gen. Salvador Mison’s Regional Unified Command No. 8, which includes First Lady Imelda Marcos’ native Leyte, expresses support for the rebels—the first military region to do so.
Unaware of unfolding events, Ver and Imelda attend wedding of a general’s son at Villamor Air Base. Ver is stunned when told. Marcos calls his three children to Malacañang. Enrile tells Sin: “I will be dead within one hour. I don’t want to die … If it is possible, do something. I’d still like to live.”
Ramos arrives at Aguinaldo after dialogue in his Alabang house with group called Cory Crusaders.
Ramos and Enrile hold press conference to announce withdrawal of support from Marcos. They say they are not out to seize power but to return it to the people in the person of Corazon Aquino, whom they recognize as the rightfully elected President.
They have less than 500 men and no air, armor or artillery equipment. Ramos moves to Crame across the street from Aguinaldo. Former AFP chief Romeo Espino, Brig. Gen. Ramon Farolan and Postmaster General Roilo Golez arrive at Aguinaldo.
Marcos remains in Palace study room with Fabian and Irwin Ver and Information Minister Gregorio Cendaña.
Ver orders military intelligence chief Brig. Gen. Fidel Singson to destroy Radio Veritas. Singson deploys men but orders them not to take offensive action. He prepares to join Ramos-Enrile forces.
Enrile ends phone conversation with Ver, with both adversaries agreeing not to attack tonight
Col. Antonio Sotelo of Air Force 15th Strike Wing readies all five attack helicopters at Villamor in support of defectors.
Radio Veritas continues with blow-by-blow account of rebellion. Enrile and Aquino, who is secured in the Carmelite convent in Cebu City, have brief phone conversation. (Aquino had known of Enrile’s coup plans.)
In Malacañang, Imelda tells reporters of plot to kill her and Marcos at 12:30 a.m.
August Twenty-One Movement’s Agapito “Butz” Aquino, despite his group’s decision to wait, throws his support behind rebels and calls on volunteers to meet him at Isetann department store in Cubao preparatory to marching to Edsa.
(Shortly after) Over Radio Veritas, Sin calls for public support of Enrile and Ramos.
Marcos announces over government-owned Channel 4 that he is in total control of situation and calls on Enrile and Ramos “to stop this stupidity and surrender so that we may negotiate.” He reports the thwarting of an attempt on his life by one of Imelda’s bodyguards in a conspiracy involving Enrile and Ramos and then proceeds to present the alleged assassin, Morales, who reads a supposed confession.
Nuns and seminarians of Bandila, a moderate coalition, are first to form human barricade around Crame. Superstar Nora Aunor arrives at Edsa.
Food starts arriving in response to Enrile’s appeal that while they are ready to die for country, they have no food for the troops.
Enrile tells Marcos over Radio Veritas: “Enough is enough, Mr. President. Your time is up. Do not miscalculate our strength now.”
Kris Aquino, then disco-hopping, is found after frantic search and reunited with her mother; both are taken to Carmelite convent.
Ver orders power and water lines at Aguinaldo and Crame cut, but he is ignored.
Crowd at Edsa swells.
Officials who withdraw support for Marcos: Lt. Col. Jerry Albano and his Security and Escort Battalion of 200 officers and men. (To be continued)
EDSA PEOPLE POWER REVOLUTION CHRONOLOGY: