gringo honasan was first introduced to the edsa crowds and the press on day 4, feb 25, around 4 p.m. enrile and ramos and the reformists were preparing to leave camp crame to reclaim camp aguinaldo across edsa.
With the Marcos regime crumbling by the hour, Enrile introduced Gringo Honasan to a jubilant crowd outside their headquarters as the man who precipitated the President’s fall.
Honasan denied plotting to kill Marcos and told the crowd: “We did not plan any coup d’etat or assasination. Our action was purely for the purpose of survival.”
of course honasan had to deny it, after enrile himself had denied it on radio veritas the night before. enrile however confirmed the coup plot 14 years later, in 2000:
enrile finally admitted in a radio interview that indeed he and his men had plotted a violent takeover of the marcos regime that was pre-empted by people power [philippine star 28 feb 2000 page 2].
and so another 11 years later, hallelujah! honasan and fellow conspirator eduardo “red” kapunan, leaders of RAM in 86, finally admit that they had planned a “military operation” but they were found out, and so they ended up making a last stand in camp aguinaldo. red kapunan in anc’s strictly politics last tuesday, and senator honasan in his blogpost I remember Edsa:
RAM’s plan was to conduct a military operation against the very seat of political power, with a handful of specially trained men, and against overwhelming odds, and present those accountable alive and unharmed to the Filipino people for judgment. We were willing to die to show the Filipino people, and the world, that there were still professional soldiers who truly loved their country. That would pave the way for a National Unification Council composed of credible representatives of Philippine society, including then presidential candidate Corazon C. Aquino. The council would oversee the country’s return to full democracy, with institutional and systemic reforms in place.
The plan was discovered, and a consensus was reached among RAM members and then Minister of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile. RAM would go to Camp Aguinaldo at 2 pm on February 22, 1986, where the officers recruited by RAM all over the country could rally and extend physical and symbolic support to Minister Enrile, RAM, and then Gen. Fidel Ramos, who joined them later.
why did gringo, and enrile, deny the coup plot back in feb 86?
Enrile’s and RAM’s number-one priority was to drum up as much public support as they could. To do this, they had to scuttle any impression that they had been planning a coup d’etat.
If people realized that Enrile had been planning to stage a coup and then impose a junta, most of them certainly would not have been supportive. Enrile and his men had to cover their plans and portray themselves as victims.
this is important because it confirms my reading, and cory’s, that when they planned that coup set for feb 23 sunday, it was to preempt cory’s bid for the presidency. kumbaga, it was a race to malacanang, una-unahan na lang. and when they were found out and decided to make that last stand in camp aguinaldo, it was still in the hope of getting the support of the people, offering them an alternative to cory, and of course, of ending the boycott that must have been costing enrile, himself a close crony, next only to danding, millions of bucks everyday.
but because they had denied the coup plot, people got the impression that they were defecting to cory’s side. and so the people went to edsa chanting cory’s name and wearing waving cory’s colors. enrile didn’t stand a chance.
on the other hand, if they had admitted to the coup plot and came clean with enrile’s hopes of replacing marcos, he being more qualified than the housewife, no doubt the people would have stayed home and watched from the sidelines as ver wiped them out.
in the end enrile made the right decision, to support the new president, in exchange for… ummm i’m speculating here, but my educated guess is, in exchange for an end to the boycott, and immunity from suit and sequestration of any kind post edsa.
in Some Are Smarter Than Others: The History of Marcos’ Crony Capitalism (New York: Aletheia Publications, 1991) Ricardo Manapat writes:
When the post-Marcos administration organized the Presidential Commission for Good Government (PCGG) to recover the wealth stolen by Marcos and his cronies, Jovito Salonga, the head of the commission, refused to file charges against Enrile or even attempt to investigate him… Testifying before a committee of the Constitutional Commission attempting to draft a new constitution, Salonga, in a very carefully-worded testimony befitting a crafty lawyer, said that there was “no evidence” that “would warrant” the investigation of Enrile, that his name does not appear on any of the documents that PCGG had in its possession, and that there were no complaints against him. Salonga then proceeded to offer Enrile, then still chairman of the United Coconut Planters Bank, five board seats in the multimillion bank as it was being reorganized. [page198]
the senate president said last tuesday that he’s writing his memoirs.
Enrile said he had begun writing his memoirs, noting that there have been “many exaggerations, distortions and omissions” in the accounts written about the events leading to and about EDSA I.
“Now, I think it is about time that, as one of the initiators of the people power revolution in 1986, I finally tell the true events and circumstances that led to the restoration of freedom and democracy in our land,” he said.
yes, sir, please do. yours is truly an important story that needs telling.