Republic of the Philippines, People Power Movement
People Power Movement, Corazon Aquino, Juan Ponce Enrile, Marcos regime, day protest
In a bold attempt to bolster his power, Marcos called for a “snap,” or unscheduled, presidential election to be held in February 1986. He calculated that a fragmented opposition and a corrupted electoral process would allow him victory. Contrary to his expectations, however, the United Nationalist Democratic Front (UNIDO), the coalition of opposition parties, chose just one candidate to run against him, Corazon Aquino, the widow of Benigno Aquino. After the elections, the two monitoring bodies, one sponsored by a U.S.-based group and the other an official government commission, reported contradictory election results. Both candidates claimed victory, but the national assembly recognized Marcos as the winner.
Days later the Roman Catholic Church issued a statement claiming the election had been “a fraud unparalleled in history.” The minister of national defense, Juan Ponce Enrile, and other leading military figures, including Deputy Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos, publicly turned against Marcos and seized the two main military installations at Quezon City near Manila. Troops loyal to Marcos moved to suppress this mutiny. Jaime Cardinal Sin, the archbishop of Manila, issued the definitive blow to the Marcos regime when he called on the citizens of Manila to help prevent a Marcos victory. Throngs of civilians staged a four-day protest, confronting the loyalist troops and preventing them from taking any action. This massive protest was centered on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). It became known as the People Power Movement, or simply EDSA.
Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos fled the country in late February. The Marcoses were widely believed to have amassed huge personal wealth by plundering the Philippine economy. They also left the country with $27 billion in external debt and in a deep economic recession.
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