Duet vs. EDSA

Isyu 5 Mar 96

Balita ng Inquirer, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Gregorio Honasan are coming up with the “real story” of EDSA. Hindi nga lamang malinaw kung magco-collaborate sila on one book o kung magkakanya-kanya sila. Say ko, the more the merrier. Say naman ni Duet for EDSA publisher Eggie Apostol, sana separate books, then they can call it Duets against EDSA. O di ba, ang saya?

Yeah, let’s hear it all, the sooner the better, and let’s hear it from the Marcoses and Vers, too, nang malaman na nga natin ang buong katotohanan. Only when the facts are known, and the people are in a better position to make up their own minds and become of one mind about EDSA, can we expect the bickering to stop. Only then can we move on and begin to draw constructively from the EDSA experience.

Not that Enrile’s andGringo’s accounts would change the story much as we already know it. EDSA’s major storyline of the four days (as recounted in the Duet’s Chronology of a Revolution) being pretty set, the most the two can do is to flesh out or elaborate on the side plots that they were directly witness to or part of. Such as Gringo’s gang’s aborted coup that would have installed Enrile in Malacañang and, of course, Enrile’s private conversations with Marcos and classified communications with the Americans.

Of course I can’t wait to see if the daring duo will corroborate the Marcos line that EDSA was orchestrated by the Americans and that the Marcoses were kidnapped and flown to exile against their will. It’s a version of EDSA that saves face for the once-powerful Marcos regime – it’s not their fault daw that they fell from power; it’s the fault of the Americans.

Saling pusa

Facts bear me out that EDSA was a strictly Pinoy affair. The Americans were never in control of the four days’ events. While U.S. state officials knew about RAM’s coup plot, the Saturday defection and the gathering of people power caught them (and the Marcoses) napping. Hindi kasi nila akalaing mabubuking ang coup plot at mapa-praning sina Enrile’t Gringo. Hindi rin nila akalaing magagawa nina Enrile at Ramos na mag-join hands at mag-break away from the Marcos regime. At lalong hindi nila akalaing Pinoys had it in them to gather around a rebel military and turn back loyalist tanks with flowers and prayers.

Ayon kay Stanley Karnow (In Our Image 1989), on Day Two, Sunday, 4 a.m. Manila time, hindi pa nagkakasundo ang mga taga-U.S. State Department kung papaano iha-handle ang krisis sa Pilipinas: “Even at this late stage they were struggling to shape a firm Philippine policy—proof again that policies are often forged in the heat of crisis rather than in cool contemplation.”

The problem wasn’t convincing U.S. President Ronald Reagan that his friend Ferdinand’s time was up. The real problem was kung sinong ipapalit kay Marcos. Ayaw nila kay Cory because she was sympathetic to the leftists, the anti-bases groups in particular. The Americans needed time to groom someone like Marcos, someone younger and healthier, and reasonably popular, who would be willing to play puppet in return for power and pelf. Kaya lang, yun nga, na-overtake sila ng events – binulaga sila nina Ramos at Enrile, at ginulantang sila ng people power (and Fil-Am relations have never been the same again).

Oo nga, nakatulong din ang mga Kano but only in the end – nung tapos na ang boksing, panalo na ang people, president-in-waiting na si Cory –and only because Marcos asked for help.

What if

The Marcoses had another way out of the Palace: they could have escaped on their own, via the presidential helicopters. Ayon kay Nick Joaquin (Quartetof the Tiger Moon 1986), Lunes ng umaga pa lang (Day Three,10 a.m.) ay naka-standby na ang Palace Air Force, ready to fly the President and his family out of Malacañang. Pero inisnab sila ng pamilyang Marcos.

Can’t blame the Marcoses, though. Mahirap na nga naman. Baka rebels-in-disguise ang mga piloto. Papaano kung sa Crame o EDSA sila inilapag? Freak out!

Ah, but what a scene that would have been.