Every February 25, the Philippines celebrates the anniversary of the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, when thousands of Filipinos rallied in peace on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue to call for the end of the regime of then president Ferdinand Marcos and the rise of widowed Corazon Aquino?
But how, exactly, did the country topple a dictator and restore democracy in a span of four days?
The chronology below, first published in a series on Feb. 22, 2006, was distilled from books and Inquirer archives about events leading up to what is called the “real” Edsa.
3 AM. At a meeting in Enrile’s Dasmariñas house in Makati City, RAM chief Col. Gregorio Honasan learns that a Marine battalion is positioned exactly at the rebels’ planned point of attack.Read more
9 AM. On Ver’s instruction, Metropolitan Command officer Col. Rolando Abadilla tries to talk Honasan out of any rash action.Read more
10 AM. Honasan learns that more soldiers are being deployed to guard the 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 the…Read more
Noon. In Malacañang, President Ferdinand Marcos meets with US Ambassador to the Philippines Stephen Bosworth and Philip Habib, US President Ronald Reagan’s “troubleshooter.” The two Americans note the worsening political crisis and push…Read more
12:45 PM. 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 of the…Read more
2 PM. Before boarding his plane out of Manila, Habib tells a US Embassy officer to tell Bosworth that Corazon Aquino won the presidential “snap” election. Marcos himself called to show that he still had the support of his countrymen….Read more
3 PM. Honasan gives the signal to prepare his men for combat. He, Enrile and Kapunan fly to Aguinaldo in a chopper.Read more
3:30 PM. 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…Read more
4:30 PM. Brig. Gen. Salvador Mison’s Regional Unified Command No. 8, which includes first lady Imelda Marcos’ native Leyte province, expresses support for the rebels—the first military region to do so.Read more
5 PM. Unaware of unfolding events, Ver and Imelda attend the 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…Read more
6 PM. Ramos arrives at Aguinaldo after a dialogue in his Alabang house with a group called the Cory Crusaders.Read more
6:45 PM. Ramos and Enrile hold a press conference to announce the 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 Aquino, whom they recognize as the rightfully elected…Read more
7 PM. Marcos remains in the Palace study room with Fabian and Irwin Ver, and Information Minister Gregorio Cendaña.Read more
9 PM. Enrile ends a phone conversation with Ver, with both adversaries agreeing not to attack tonight. It was a revolution that started with a ceasefire.Read more
9:30 PM. Col. Antonio Sotelo of Air Force 15th Strike Wing readies all five attack helicopters at Villamor Air Base.Read more
10 PM. Radio Veritas continues with the blow-by-blow account of the rebellion. Enrile and Aquino, who is secured in the Carmelite convent in Cebu City, have a brief phone conversation. (Aquino had known of Enrile’s coup plans. But she returned…Read more
10:20 PM. August Twenty-One Movement’s Agapito “Butz” Aquino, the younger brother of Ninoy 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…Read more
10:30 PM. Marcos announces over government-owned Channel 4 that he is in total control of the 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…Read more
11 PM. 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 a frantic search and reunited with her mother; both…Read more
11:15 PM. Ver orders power and water lines at Aguinaldo and Crame cut, but he is ignored.
The 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.Read more
Midnight. 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 on Malacañang. Assault…Read more
2 AM. Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver fortifies Palace, having been informed of an impending coup by Maj. Edgardo Doromal of the Presidential Security Command. Doromal was tapped by RAM to serve as a spy in…Read more
Midnight. 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…Read more
1 AM. Marcos presents alleged assassin Maj. Saulito Aromin on Channel 4.Read more
1.45 AM. Supreme Court Justice Nestor Alampay resigns.Read more
3 AM. 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….Read more
4 AM. 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.Read more
5:30 AM. 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…Read more
8 AM. 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…Read more
11 AM. Cory Aquino holds a brief press conference in Cebu, asking the people to support the military rebels and calling on Marcos to step down.Read more
Noon. 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…Read more
1:30 PM. Troops led by Metropolitan Police Chief Alfredo Lim ignores orders to disperse the crowd.Read more
2:20 PM. 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…Read more
2:47 PM. 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.Read more
3 PM. People at Ortigas and Edsa form human barricades to block the path of the oncoming tanks. A tense standoff begins.Read more
4 PM. Marcos calls Enrile and offers him absolute pardon. He rejects Enrile’s demand that the tanks be stopped.Read more
6:30 PM. 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.”Read more
7 PM. 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.Read more
11:30 PM. 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,…Read more
12:20 AM. June Keithley starts broadcasting over dzRJ (christened Radyo Bandido dzRB) by playing “Mambo Magsaysay.”Read more
1 AM. 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.Read more
3 AM. Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver is still unable to locate dzRJ, which is very near Malacañang.Read more
3:30 AM. 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.Read more
4 AM. 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…Read more
5 AM. 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…Read more
5:15 AM. 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…Read more
6 AM. 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…Read more
6:30 AM. Keithley announces that Ver and Marcos and his family have fled the country.Read more
7:30 AM. 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.Read more
9 AM. 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…Read more
9:20 AM. Ramas again orders Balbas to fire. Balbas answers: “Sir, I am still positioning the cannons.”Read more
9:50 AM. 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…Read more
10:15 AM. Rebel soldiers inflict slight damage on Malacañang to indicate their capacity to strike back.Read more
Noon. Three rebel gunships destroy choppers at Villamor Air Base.Read more
12:30 PM. Marines led by Balbas withdraw from Camp Aguinaldo.Read more
1:25 PM. Channel 4 resumes broadcasting, delivering news of more defections to the rebels’ side.Read more
3 PM. 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.Read more
4:30 PM. 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.Read more
6 PM. 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…Read more
7:30 PM. The United States endorses Aquino’s provisional government.Read more
8:10 PM. 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 PM to 6 PM curfew. No one…Read more
9 PM. 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.Read more
11 PM. 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.
Midnight. Marcos loyalist soldiers fire through barbed wire barricades on Nagtahan Street, injuring several people. Some of Marcoses’ belongings are taken out of Malacañang.Read more
3:30 AM. Marines rejoice as orders to attack Camp Crame are canceled.Read more
3:45 AM. Airplanes carrying reinforcements ordered by Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver head for Clark Air Base. The troops stay there for the duration of the revolt.Read more
5 AM. On the phone to Washington, President Marcos asks US Sen. Paul Laxalt if he should resign. Laxalt’s reply: “I think you should cut, and cut cleanly. The time has come.”
Marcos tells Labor Minister Blas Ople, who is in Washington…Read more
5:15 AM. Marcos gives the go-signal for his family to prepare to leave.Read more
6 AM. Rebel soldiers storm Channel 9’s transmitter tower, which is held by loyalist troops. The noise of a gun battle is heard at the Aquino residence on Times Street, Quezon City, where Cory Aquino and her children are.Read more
8 AM. People are called to guard Club Filipino in San Juan in case Marcos attempts to disrupt Aquino’s inauguration as President.Read more
10:15 AM. Aquino arrives at Club Filipino. Opposition lawyer Neptali Gonzales reads a resolution proclaiming her and former Sen. Salvador Laurel as duly elected President and Vice President.Read more
10:46 AM. Cory Aquino is sworn into office by Senior Justice Claudio Teehankee. The crowd breaks into the anthem of the anti-Marcos movement, “Bayan Ko.” AFP Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos and Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile…Read more
11:45 AM. Marcos enters Malacañang’s Ceremonial Hall for his own inauguration.Read more
11:55 AM. As Marcos raises his hand to take his oath, the live television coverage is abruptly cut with a perfect shot hitting the transmitter, shutting down Channels 2, 9 and 13.
Chief Justice Ramon Aquino is called back for a reenactment of…Read more
3:45 PM. Loyalist soldiers try to ram down barricades set up at Tomas Morato and Timog Avenue in Quezon City, but people power prevails. On Nagtahan, pro-Aquino groups and loyalists coming from Marcos’ inauguration clash.Read more
4:30 PM. Imee Marcos’ husband, Tommy Manotoc, relays the offer of US Brig. Gen. Ted Allen to use American helicopters or boats to move Marcos from the Palace.Read more
5 PM. Marcos calls Enrile again to coordinate his departure from Malacañang. His aides start packing not only clothes and books but also boxes of money that have been stored in his bedroom since the start of the election campaign. Prime…Read more
6:30 PM. Imee and Irene Marcos plead with their father to leave Malacañang after he tells his remaining men that he has decided to die there.Read more
7 PM. US Ambassador Stephen Bosworth asks Cory Aquino if Marcos can be allowed two days in Paoay, Ilocos Norte province, before heading abroad. To prevent possible regrouping of Marcos loyalists, Aquino refuses.
In Malacañang, luggage are…Read more
7:30 PM. The families of Ver and Eduardo Cojuangco motor to Clark Air Base in Pampanga province.Read more
8:40 PM. A convoy of heavily secured vehicles makes a beeline for Clark.Read more
8:45 PM. The Marcoses and other government officials board helicopters. Some of their possessions are loaded on the choppers.Read more
9:05 PM. The first helicopter leaves Palace grounds. Shortly, the crowd near Malacañang rejoices after hearing reports that the Marcoses have left.Read more
9:45 PM. Marcos lands in Clark and is met by Bosworth. People in the area welcome him with chants of “Cory! Cory!”Read more
9:52 PM. Radio dzRH announces: “The Marcoses have fled the country.”Read more
10 PM. US Air Force TV station FEN confirms Marcos’ departure.Read more
11:30 PM. People wrench the Palace gates open. Marcos loyalists inside Malacañang flee in all directions, with members of Palace household and security men jumping into the murky Pasig River to flee the angry crowd.
Looters and vandals enter…Read more
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 Inquirer Archives