post EDSA: what happened to gen. tadiar
last feb 28, after reading doronila’s and de quiros’s inquirer columns of the day, i wrote a letter to the editor saying that they were only partly right, attributing EDSA to the courage of the people on the streets; the same with former president fvr who attributed it to the split military. i pointed out that they neglected to give credit to the loyalist marines general artemio tadiar and colonel braulio balbas who were given the kill-order but defied their superiors. i said they were the unsung heroes of EDSA and they were more heroic than the soldiers who defected and then hid behind the skirts of nuns and other civilians.
inquirer published it eight days later with the title Edsa I’s unsung heroes more heroic than defectors. three days later i got an email from glenn tadiar, son of gen. tadiar, thanking me for the kind words and relating what happened to his father post-EDSA. i asked if i could post his response in my blog and he said yes, but on second thought i suggested he send it first to the inquirer, they just might publish it, and i would post it then. it’s been 16 days, and inquirer might never publish it – medyo di na uli uso ang EDSA stories — so here it is. thanks again, glenn.
Dear Ms. Stuart-Santiago,
I would like to thank you for your kind words regarding my father”s actions in your letter that appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on March 09, 2011. Twenty five years ago on this date, my father was at our assigned quarters in Fort Bonifacio on the tenth or eleventh day of his house arrest, ordered by then General Ramos. His decision to not follow the orders given to him on the second day of the Edsa Revolution, the decision to not throw in his lot with the rebels, the decision to continue serving President Marcos in a defensive manner, the decision to order Col. Balbas back to Fort Bonifacio on the third day all must have sat heavily in his mind as he contemplated what appeared to be the end of his professional military career.
For me, it was heartbreaking to see him so but what solace or comfort could a 17 year old son offer him during those dark times? What followed was eight months of house arrest punctuated by investigations by the PCGG hatchet men due to my father’s perceived close ties with President Marcos. Did they find anything out of the ordinary? Apparently not for he was later on given a new posting as the Deputy Commander, Subic Naval Base Command in October. He knew deep down that his career was essentially over since this posting was a dead end in the AFP. One thing I love about him was, despite being given a basket of lemons, instead of being sour or bitter about it, he went on to make lemonade and enjoyed his six years at this post interacting with his counterparts in the US Armed Forces, playing regular golf games many times a week at the world class golf course in Binictican and looking out for the welfare of all those assigned to his command.
When he was promoted to Brigadier General in 1984, he was one of the youngest Generals in the AFP. By the time of his retirement in December 1992, he was one of the oldest Brigadier Generals having served the longest time “in grade”. If he had any bitterness or disappointment that many officers junior to him went on to higher positions and rank than himself, he did not show it but what man would not have a little something in his heart? One thing he could be proud of was that he was the only officer of flag rank promoted by Marcos to have survived the purges of the Aquino administration. They could find nothing.
Thank you again for pointing out something that most have already forgotten. My dad was a hero.
God bless you and yours.