Category: enrile

non-violent tactics #EDSA’86

read UP professor amado mendoza jr‘s ‘People Power’ in the Philippines, 1983-86,  chapter 11 of the book  Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present by adam roberts & timothy garton ash, published by oxford university in 2009.

… It might have been expected that the Marcos regime would be overthrown violently by the ongoing communist insurgency or a military coup.  Scholars of regime change have long argued that neo-patrimonial dictatorships are particularly vulnerable to violent overthrow by armed opponents.

The peaceful outcome in the Philippines is therefore a puzzle.  Thompson argued that Marcos’s removal was the result of moderate forces successfully out-manoeuvring the different armed groups.  Boudreau acknowledged the competitive and complementary relationship between the armed and unarmed anti-dictatorship movements, but believed that the creation of an organized non-communist option that regime defectors could support was decisive. [180-181]

very interesting, and informative of poltical mindsets circa ’83-’86:

Exiled to the US in 1980, Senator Aquino returned in August 1983 hoping to persuade an ailing Marcos to step down and allow him to take over.  His brazen assassination at Manila international airport unleashed a broad civil resistance movement which eventually outstripped the communist insurgency in terms of media coverage and mass mobilization.  The Catholic Church, led by Cardinal Jaime Sin, played an active role in bringing together the non-communist opposition and Manila’s business elite.  Pro-opposition mass media outlets were opened and a citizens’ electoral watch movement was revived.  Aquino’s death also prompted US State Department officials to assist political moderates and pressure Marcos for reforms.  Marcos tried to divide the opposition anew through the 1984 parliamentary elections.  While some moderates joined a communist-led boycott, others (supported by the widowed Corazon Aquino) participate—and won a third of the contested seats despite widespread violence, cheating, and government control of the media. 

Emboldened moderates consequently spurned a commnist-dominated anti-dictatorship alliance in 1985 to form their own coalition.  While Marcos called for ‘snap’ presidential elections, they united behind Mrs. Aquino’s candidacy.  The communists, hoping to worsen intra-elite conflicts, called for another boycott.  Military officers associate with Enrile formed the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) and tacitly supported Aquino’s candidacy while preparing for an anti-Marcos coup.  Faced by a vigorous opposition campaign, Marcos resorted to fraud and systematic violence.  The combination of a now unmuzzled press and the presence of election observers sparked large-scale civil disobedience.  The Church declared that Marcos has lost the moral right to rule.

The end-game was precipitated by a RAM coup attempt.  Pre-empted by loyalist forces, rebel officers led by Enrile and Ramos defected to Aquino on 22 February 1986 and recognized her as the country’s legitimate leader.  These events led to an internationally televised standoff between loyalist troops and millions of unarmed civilian protesters who had gathered to protect the rebels.  As the regime came under pressure, it lost the will to survive.  Defections mounted and the Reagan administration finally withdrew its support.  On 25 February 1986, the Marcos family and entourage were airlifted to exile in Hawaii.  [182-183]

indeed non-violence won the war, but whether or not it was the result of deliberate strategies and manoeuvres by the non-communist anti-marcos moderates remains to be known.  what deserves mention is that ninoy was on non-violent mode when he came home from exile in aug ’83, his homecoming speech citing ghandi no less:

According to Gandhi, the willing sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God and man.

perhaps he had discussed gandhi and non-violence with cory, who may have relayed the message to ninoy’s brother butz, whose august twenty-one movement (ATOM)’s protest rallies were decidedly non-violent from start to finish.

so was cory’s huge Tagumpay ng Bayan rally in luneta where she declared victory in the snap elections, sabay launch ng non-violent civil disobedence and crony-boycott campaign that coryistas couldn’t wait to be part of.  by day six of the boycott, the economy was reeling and the crony-business community was looking to negotiate, but with whom?  day seven of the boycott (EDSA saturday), enrile and ramos defected.  hmmm, di ba.  enrile was a top crony, next only to danding.  with whom na nga ba?

as in august ’83, butz rose to the occasion that EDSA saturday night.  it was butz who first sounded the call for people to come to EDSA and shield the defectors with their bodies, no guns.  cardinal sin seconded the call for a nonviolent solution an hour or so later, and cory the next day, from cebu.  ATOM was all over EDSA, butz dealing directly, facing off, with police general alfredo lim (who was ordered to disperse the crowds) and then marine commander alfredo tadiar (who was ordered to ram through! the crowd).

i’ve always wondered who, if any, advised cory and butz on non-violent tactics.  that luneta rally was sheer genius.  bentang benta sa moderate forces who liked the drama of non-violence:  nasa bahay ka lang pero feeling part of the struggle ka, and feeling revenged na rin on the regime — goodbye manila bulletin hello inquirer, goodbye san miguel beer, hello lambanog, goodbye cocacola, hello buko juice — what fun.  and that call to EDSA to shield the rebels from the dictator’s forces was inspired — was it pure butz?  was he winging it? — basta walang armas, be ready to die!  and the people were.  ready to die.  (huwag ismiran, mocha uson!)

contrary to popular perception, however, enrile did not defect to join cory nor did he recognize her as the duly-elected president right away.  enrile wanted to be president, and the aborted coup plot set for 23 feb 2 AM would have quickly installed him in malacañang.  in short, he meant to beat cory in a race to the palace,  una-unahan lang.  but ver got wind of honasan’s plans, and honasan got wind of ver’s plans (arrest orders, among others), which drove enrile and RAM to hole up in camp aguinaldo, better to die fighting, while hoping against hope to win the people’s support — after all, he was more qualified to be president.

but by day two, EDSA sunday, the day the people stopped the tanks in ortigas, it was clear that the people were there for cory — shielding enrile yes, but chanting cory’s name, wearing cory’s colors, waving cory’s flags — and it was obvious that they expected cory and enrile to join forces vs. marcos.  sometime over that long night, enrile and ramos, separately, met with cory in her sister’s house in greenhills.  i suppose that’s when the two asked for the top defense positions, an end to the crony-boycott, and immunity from suit in exchange for their armed support.

it disappoints, of course, that prof mendoza characterizes the dictator’s response during the key days as “inexplicably lame and non-violent.”  as though there had been no real threat of violence?  which is to diminish, even if unintentionally, the people’s role in that stunning revolt.

the dictator’s orders were neither lame nor non-violent.  on day 3, EDSA monday, twice marcos gave orders to bomb camp crame, except that air force col. sotelo and the entire 15th strike wing defected instead, and col. balbas and the marines (like commander tadiar the day before), after much delaying, defied orders, and returned to barracks instead.

true, the dictator’s forces could have struck immediately at the rebel military “before a protective civilian cocoon had been mobilized to protect them”, but marcos actually thought he could woo enrile back to the fold.  he had no idea that there was no turning back for enrile who was off on a new trip, navigating uncharted waters, and reinventing himself.

of course, he regretted giving way to cory, but i’m glad he did.

of course cory must have regretted giving him immunity, and i’m sorry she did.

next time, we the people should have a better sense — in real time —  of what’s happening behind-the-scenes and what’s being promised / compromised in our name.  we shouldn’t make bitaw too quickly or trust in our leaders so blindly.  i would think that non-violent engagement can be sustainable and long-term.

mamasapano 2016

Timeline of the Mamasapano clash, according to President Aquino 28 jan 2015
Poe insists PNoy was responsible  8  jan 2016
‘JPE can ruin Aquino’ 19 jan 2016

looking forward to jan 25.  on social media it’s been suggested that enrile is out to get some leverage, hopefully to get gigi reyes out on bail.  hmm. pag hindi natuloy ang hearings, o biglang executive sessions rin lang ang magaganap, e ‘wag tayo magtataka.

juan ponce enrile, estelito mendoza, and the supremes

what a show of legal acrobatics and selective justice from the supreme court, no less.  the credit, of course, goes to enrile’s defense counsel na talaga namang matinik at kagilagilalas.  for some history, read Estelito Mendoza: Champion for “the wrong side” by raissa robles (2011), Joker Arroyo et al. versus Estelito Mendoza et al. by belinda olivares-cunanan (2000), and Estelito Mendoza’s defense of Louie Gonzalez by solita monsod (2008).

sabi nga ni raissa robles:

He can make white look black and vice versa. Plus he has a grateful army of former students, colleagues and subordinates scattered far and wide in the Philippine judicial and legal system.

and sabi nga ni associate justice marvic leonen sa kanyang dissenting opinion:

Special privileges may be granted only under clear, transparent, and reasoned circumstances. Otherwise, we accept that there are just some among us who are elite. Otherwise, we concede that there are those among us who are powerful and networked enough to enjoy privileges not shared by all.

(Other accused) … remain in jail because they may not have the resources to launch a full-scale legal offensive marked with the creativity of a well-networked defense counsel. After all, they may have committed acts driven by the twin evils of greed or lust on one hand and poverty on the other hand.

yes, a powerful, creative, and well-networked defense counsel is all it takes to get around the law.  and, but, what does that say about the eight arroyo-appointed supremes who dared preempt the sandiganbayan?  why the sudden inordinate rush to release enrile?  is it possible that enrile and/or mendoza called in favors of one kind or another and there was no saying no?  or were the eight just eager to establish a precedent for the benefit, next, of gloria arroyo?

kaya ko namang lunukin yung old age and ill health as pusong-mamon reasons for moving him (and her) from hospital arrest to house arrest, but to hear that he is raring to go back to work, in fact, is expected back in the senate on monday, if senate clowns are to be believed, is beyond outrageous, it’s unbelievable, as in, wow, is he no longer under arrest?!?  he is presumed innocent, the evidence is weak, blah blah blah, or so argues, nay, rules, estelito mendoza from on high, and that’s all there is to it?

the timing is highly suspicious.  just when marcos’s version of the bangsamoro bill is up for discussion.  except that i remember enrile evincing great interest in the original BBL as a welcome experiment in parliamentary government, or something to that effect.  can it be that he has changed his mind?  OR has he been set free to bring the aquino-iqbal BBL back on track, sorry na lang si bongbong?  is my imagination on over-drive?

and, but, what would it say about a senate that’s eager to welcome enrile back, no questions asked?  do these lawmakers owe enrile and mendoza some favors, too, of one kind or another?  are they testing our limits?

the good news is, justice secretary leila de lima has finally found her voice.

De Lima said the Aug. 18 ruling was not final, as it was “subject to the 15-day rule of filing a motion for reconsideration.”

“The People of the Philippines, through the Ombudsman, can and must file a motion for reconsideration,” De Lima told the Inquirer on Saturday when asked about the state’s legal recourse.

“[T]he decision can only be deemed final and executory if no [motion for reconsideration] is filed within 15 days from receipt [of the ruling] or, if one is filed, upon the denial of the [motion],” she said.

so.  let’s see how enrile and mendoza try to win this one.  think nation, and history, dear supremes.  we are watching, and taking notes for the worldwide web.

Dear Juan Ponce Enrile

By Sylvia Estrada-Claudio

I hope that after your conviction, all those you intimidated and harmed before, during, and after martial law will find the courage to tell their stories. I hope that you live to hear those stories. 

Last year, the 41st the anniversary of the declaration of martial law, I wrote a long post about you ending with, “Old as you are, you may never be brought to justice. And I doubt your conscience bothers you, enamored as you seem by unearned wealth and the pomp of your dishonorably gained positions. But I remember and will remember, with the hope that history will, like me, condemn.”

How much has changed in less than a year.

And now, as you, a 90-year-old, are confined to a hospital under arrest, let me charge you with what has been in my heart all these years. Because I do accuse you. And not just with the plunder charges the government has filed against you.

I accuse

I accuse you of torture and murder. Not just of people unknown to me, but also of my friends. I accuse you of having committed the crime of plunder long before you stole your PDAF as a senator.

I do this not out of vindictiveness, but out of a need for healing that you owe me and all those who passed through martial law. I do not do this in anger, but in order to share with those who did not go through those years. They need to understand why you and those like you should never ever be allowed to have power again.

Now is a good time. If we did not learn our lesson then, it is time to look back now – time to realize that those who betray the nation are likely to betray it again. As you have done after martial law.

Ah, what catharsis to write this! What a relief to be able to call you names. I remember how you would punish people who criticized you, Marcos, and your cabal. This is what you did to my friend and former Philippine Collegian editor, Abraham Sarmiento, Jr. You imprisoned him for writing editorials critical of martial law. You released him only after you personally expressed displeasure over the editorials. I know because he told me. He stuck to his principles after release. You imprisoned him again and kept him in a cell until his health had so deteriorated he died shortly after his second release. Even as you seemed to recover your career, I often comforted myself with the thought that at least the sacrifices of those who fought the dictatorship allowed me the freedom to criticize you. That I did not do so daily was merely because of my limitations and not out of new-found respect for you.

Do you think I have forgotten my mother’s years of excruciating worry as she watched me go deeper and deeper into the anti-dictatorship struggle? Oh, how her friends would comfort my mother, “Don’t worry, Rita. If she gets caught I will agree to his advances and spend the night with him in exchange for your daughter’s freedom.” Yes, even then we knew that you were a predator as well. You were so lascivious my humble family knew of two people whom you had propositioned. You abused power to the maximum. You made us see with clarity what Hannah Arendt calls “the banality of evil.”

Detention, torture during martial law

And I, like many who lived through those years, knew of your evil as a daily reality. My first job as a young doctor was with a health and human rights organization. I worked with those who had been tortured. Those days, detention and torture were almost a sure-fire combination. So I and a couple of colleagues would make the rounds of the detention centers with every new report of an arrest, hoping that, with a quick response, people would be tortured less, not killed.

We would present ourselves at the detention centers to any officer who would see us. (They never had a real system for us. That would mean some form of accountability.) We had to be brave because we knew at once this marked us as communist enemies. But they also had to have a semblance of regularity. So our requests would be considered. If the officer was a tough psychopath, he would just say “no” outright. But this would give us ammunition to go squealing to international human rights groups.

So we would often have to wait for hours for someone from the Judge Advocate General’s Office (JAGO) to make a decision. I never met anyone from JAGO then. I did often get turned away by that office. If the JAGO turned us away, we would write you. Very rarely, for reasons unknown, you or JAGO would agree to our visit, often after weeks of delay. We always thought the delay was to ensure the torture would continue. Marcos, you and your military believed in torture as an investigation technique. After the torture, you would have us wait a few more days until the physical evidence of torture had disappeared. If there was enough international pressure; if you wanted us off your backs; if our seeing the detainees would not cause you any harm, you let us see them.

But they would tell us their stories. A detainee was lucky if all he or she got was getting beaten within an inch of their life. (I guess they left that for the amateurs called fraternity boys.) Electrocution, water boarding, rape and other forms of sexual harassment, sleep deprivation, hearing your wife being raped, hearing your comrades being tortured, being asked to sit on a block of ice while naked – your minions were so depraved in what they created.

Six weeks ago, labor leader Romy Castillo died of lung cancer. In 1984 your military electrocuted his testicles, put a barbecue stick up his penis, repeatedly submerged his face in a feces-filled toilet bowl. They beat him and played Russian roulette on him. I cannot forget the day, shortly after his ordeal, when I visited him in detention. I will not let you forget his story nor escape your liability for it.

Your military killed my childhood friend Lorenzo Lansang when he was only 19 years old. He was summarily executed in a field in Quezon province. Your hands are smeared in his blood and I will always point out how bloody they are.

I blame you and Marcos for the corruption and brutality of the military and police today. I still keep abreast of the torture situation. And it looks like the police and military have no idea how to interrogate and investigate without varying degrees of torture and intimidation thrown in. They have become addicted to it. All those recent reports of human rights violations by state authorities? Your face is on the logo.

And I remember that your wealth came from the thievery of the martial law years. It does not therefore surprise me that you stole your pork barrel funds.

You find me too dramatic? I could fill entire pages with more stories. And I am not alone. How lucky that I am much younger than you. I and my cohort will live after you and tell our tales.


Dear Johnny boy, I bet you miss the days when you could have imprisoned me for this. When you could have had your military rape me as revenge. I, on the other hand, am so glad you are under arrest now. Defanged, at last. Hopefully forever.

Unlike you, however, I would not wish torture upon those I truly think are enemies of the people. In short, I would not torture you. I would not deny you seeing your lawyers or doctors or relatives as you did to so many during martial law. It is fitting though that you may suffer in detention more than usual. I do note that you may be experiencing pain because you are old and infirm. I note it.

Your conviction will be so good for our country. It will show that such diabolical behavior will not always be rewarded. That somehow power can end and then a price will have to be paid. It may deter future wrongdoing. It may convince a few more people not to value the things you value.

The only thing I am afraid of is that you are morally incompetent. So much of your record indicates “sociopath.” I fear that it does not matter to you what people think or will remember. It isn’t right that your punishment will be so short because you’re not likely to live 20 more years. That was the amount of time you kept our people subjugated to martial law. So I can only hope that you at least care enough so that the last days of your life can be lived in regret.

I am hoping you care about how history will remember you. You did write and spend for the publication of that lie of a memoir. So I hope that you live to see your conviction. That after your conviction, all those you intimidated and harmed before, during, and after martial law will find the courage to tell their stories. I hope that you live to hear those stories.

But for now, this is my story. And before you go, I want you to know that the other stories will come. It’s called History. It’s called karma.