Cebu and the days leading to February 25, 1986
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Filipinos may have different ways and beliefs in commemorating the EDSA People Power Revolution 35 years later.
But the lessons from this pivotal moment in Philippine history remained true, and that it is still regarded as one of the world’s most notable peaceful demonstrations that took place in the 20th century.
The People Power Revolution brought down the dictatorship of former President Ferdinand Marcos who held onto power for two decades, and the only chief executive who placed the entire country under Martial Law.
On February 25, 1986, at precisely 10:46 a.m., the late President Corazon ‘Cory’ Aquino was sworn in as the Philippines’ new President, culminating the series of protests held and participated by thousands of individuals along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA).
Cory’s running mate, Salvador Laurel, was also sworn in as the new Vice President of the country.
READ MORE: Doy Laurel: Forgotten patriot of Edsa I
On the evening after Cory and Laurel took their oaths of office, Marcos left the country together with his family. They spent the later years exiled in Hawaii in the United States.
While majority of the events leading to the People Power Revolution occurred in Metro Manila, Cebu also played a crucial role in this historic event. And in this special feature, we compiled the stories that highlighted Cebu’s participation.
Fuente Osmeña Circle
On February 22, 1986, Cory and Laurel resumed the Civil Disobedience Campaign against the Marcos regime in Fuente Osmeña Circle in uptown Cebu City, and they were joined by thousands of Cebuanos who showed and expressed their support to the Cory-Laurel tandem by also conducting an indignation rally.
Cory and Laurel fled to Cebu on February 22, following the results of the February 7 Snap Elections in which the Commission on Elections (Comelec) proclaimed Marcos as the winner.
This despite widespread reports of election fraud, vote-buying, intimidation, and other forms of electoral manipulation, and a separate tally from the National Citizen’s Movement for the Free Elections (NAMFREL) showing Cory as the winner.
The 1986 anti-Marcos protests in Fuente Osmeña circle were calling, among others, for the public to boycott businesses owned by Marcos cronies.
This iconic rotunda would eventually become not only a landmark of anti-Marcos protests but also as a witness to several peaceful, post-Martial Law demonstrations from various groups.
READ MORE: From Edsa to Fuente Osmeña
READ MORE: ‘Best part of martial law was its end’
During their stay in Cebu, Cory and Laurel sought refuge at the Carmelite Monastery in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City for a night – 14 hours to be exact – just to avoid the prying eyes of the military.
With them were Cory’s youngest daughter Kris, then 14 years old, and brother Jose “Peping” Cojuanco.
Cory’s supporters asked her to spend the night in Cebu since it was too dangerous for her to return to Manila.
In Cebu, to trick military agents tailing Cory, a convoy of vehicles with Cory supposedly in one of them made its way to the Cebu Airport on Mactan Island.
Cory was actually being driven to the monastery by the late Cebu City Councilor Antonio Cuenco, who was also one of Cebu’s leading opposition figures.
The Carmelite Monastery, being home to contemplative nuns under “Papal enclosure,” is off-limits to outsiders. Only heads of states are exempted from such rule.
Cory was later joined by other supporters including former House Speaker Ramon Mitra Jr., and the late Senators John Henry ‘Sonny’ Osmeña, and Aquilino Pimentel Jr.
Cory left the monastery bound for Manila at around 11 a.m. on Feb. 23, 1986.
READ MORE: The day the Carmelite nuns hid Cory
The Philippines marks the 35th Anniversary of the People Power Revolution today, Thursday (February 26, 2021).
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