Stalking EDSA — Finally, a chronology


By October, I was still fine-tuning the sequence of events and had long given up on the 10th anniversary that was just four months away. But in November, serendipity struck. Tia Nita, then based in Denmark, was in Manila for a visit; she phoned with the news that her friend Eggie was looking for material on EDSA 1986, gave me Eggie’s address, and urged me to send at once a copy of my work. I agonized over the title; “Chronology of a Revolution” hadn’t worked for FVR. After consulting my brother Louie, I sent the manuscript off with the title “Compendium of a Revolution,” which of course didn’t work either. National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, who later wrote a rave Foreword, told Eggie to change the title to Chronology of a Revolution.  Why not, indeed.

Eggie also sent me some news clippings and books, among these The Marcos Dynasty by Sterling Seagrave [1988] where I found on page 419 the tidbit that Enrile angrily denied in his 2012 memoir, about him being in Malacañang Park Tuesday night to say goodbye to Marcos. No wonder, maybe, that when Lorna Kalaw-Tirol requested an interview, Enrile wanted editing privileges.  No dice, we all agreed.

Lorna was editing both Chronology of a Revolution 1986 and Looking Back, Looking Forward 1996, an anthology of essays on the 10 years since – a coffeetable Duet for EDSA package to be published by the Foundation for Worldwide People Power. Lorna tried to get word to Imee Marcos, too, for an interview; no reply.  But Cory, bless her, said yes, and to my surprise I was mesmerized by her presence. I found myself hanging on to her every word as she recounted her EDSA story, the familiar cadence bringing back memories not of her presidency but of the exciting days of the snap election, when both sides of my family joined rallies and campaigned for her like mad, and the heady days of the crony boycott when change was palpably in the air. I did manage to ask her about an interesting piece of information, this one from Eggie’s EDSA anniversary clippings: that she had met with Enrile and Ramos back on the long night of EDSA Sunday. I had long assumed that Cory and Enrile must have had to sit down and agree on a modus vivendi at some point. Cory confirmed the meetings, and added that it was she who sent word to Crame that she wanted to speak with them, but they couldn’t be both away from Crame at the same time, so they came separately.  Cory would not reveal any more details about the separate conversations /negotiations, but just the same it was a huge AHA! moment. Cory was in command from the first, and feeling-president – she summoned Enrile and Ramos and they came.  Even if Enrile regretted it the next day, by EDSA Tuesday he capitulated, and Cory appointed him Defense Minister.

The Chronology was generally well-received. Cory was quite happy with it because it documented her brief visit to EDSA on Monday afternoon, giving the lie to Enrile’s allegation that she wasn’t even there.  Buddy Gomez, once Cory’s press secretary, congratulated me: “A yeoman’s job!” I wasn’t sure if it was a compliment, but he seemed impressed.  Sylvia Mayuga phoned: “What a tour de force!”  Other writer friends though sniffed at it: “Just a compilation.” LOL.  So when I read somewhere, sometime in ’97, that Chronology won the Manila Critics Circle’s National Book Award for Documentation, I was pleased. Even if I did not understand (I still do not) why the editor, who barely touched the text, got as much credit for Chronology as I, the author, or why the anthology of essays Looking Back… won for Documentation, too.  Nothing personal against Lorna, rather, the literati that dictate the rules who sideline as editors maybe? Even more droll, there was an awarding event and I wasn’t invited. Lorna apologized profusely when we ran into each other in a mall; she had no idea that I hadn’t been informed or asked to come. Media, like literary, circles can be quite exclusive, rather than inclusive, of freelancers. Or maybe it’s just me, haha.

Next: Himagsikan for Revolution