In the mid-1980s a popular movement sprang up to oust the authoritarian regime of President Ferdinand Marcos. As the resistance movement gained momentum, two key military officers, namely, the Defense Minister and the Deputy Chief of Staff, defected from the government and sequestered themselves inside a Manila military base. What followed was an amazing example of non-violent struggle, as millions of ordinary Filipinos took to the streets in Metro Manila to protect the rebel officers from troops still loyal to Marcos.
This four-day peaceful action popularly known the world over as The People Power Revolution or The Philippine Revolution of 1986, was also referred to as EDSA Revolution. EDSA stands for Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, a main highway in Metro Manila and the main site of the demonstrations.
Events that precipitated People Power were: the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. at the Manila International Airport upon his return to the Philippines in 1983 from a three-year exile in the United States; and the alleged widespread fraud committed during the presidential elections in 1985. Aquino’s assassination shocked and outraged the public, most of whom had by then lost confidence in Marcos’ leadership. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued a statement condemning the elections, and the United States Senate passed a resolution stating the same.
Behind the scenes, Marcos maneuvered to save face. He must have been astonished to see his power, which had seemed so absolute only a few weeks ago, evaporate so quickly and completely. Marcos, who had ruled for twenty years as one of the world’s most powerful dictators, fled the country. Jubilant Filipinos flooded into the streets to celebrate, as Cory Aquino was installed as the new president of the Republic of the Philippines.