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A History of Journalism in the Philippines: 1986 EDSA Revolution (9 of 11)

Three years before the 1986 EDSA Revolution, Mr & Ms, an inexpensive weekly magazine, sensationalized the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., paramount political rival of Marcos, at the Manila International Airport on August 21, 1983. Aquino’s assassination ignited a fire of protests particularly in Ugarte Field in Makati and in Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila where the upper and the middle classes marched with the poor, the workers, the unemployed, and the professionals.

The continued publication and circulation of Mr & Ms encouraged Eugenia Apostol and Leticia Jimenez-Magsanoc to publish the Philippine Daily Inquirer, an opposition newspaper edited by Luis Beltran, on December 2, 1985. With the slogan “Balanced News, Fearless Views,” 40 editors, reporters, photographers, correspondents, and other editorial employees put out the newspaper on December 9, 1985. It was one of the two alternative newspapers that chronicled the flight of the Marcoses on February 25, 1986.

Earlier, We Forum, with Jose Burgos Jr. as the editor and publisher and Bonifacio Gillego as the writer, ran series of exposé on the alleged Marcos fake medals. Because of this, Marcos ordered the closure of the newspaper and the arrest of its editor and publisher. However, on December 4, 1981, the newspaper metamorphosed into Malaya, which ceased on December 7, 1982 and reopened on January 17, 1983.

The rampage of the new elite and the abuse of human rights did not only bleed the economy dry but also fueled rallies and demonstrations. The EDSA Revolution that prevailed on February 22-25, 1986 was a peaceful cry for freedom and independence, which, according to Senator Francisco Tatad, was “a beautiful revolution whose combatants include men, women, and children who had fun rather than fear and who thought that what they went through was a religious rather than a political experience.”

On February 25, 1986, Corazon Aquino24 was inaugurated as President of the Republic of the Philippines at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan before Supreme Court Senior Justice Claudio Teehankee. An hour later, Marcos conducted his own inauguration at the Malacañang Palace. Channels 2, 9, and 13 covered the ceremony, but they were cut off suddenly because their transmitters were taken by reformist troops. Without television, Marcos finally loses control. Marcos called Juan Ponce Enrile to offer him power in a provisional government, but the latter turned him down. Marcos called US Senator Paul Laxalt to ask for advice and he was told: “Mr. President, I think you should cut, and cut cleanly.” Marcos made a final call to Enrile asking for a safe conduct for his family. The Marcoses then packed hurriedly. At 9 p. m., four American helicopters fly the Marcoses from the Malacañang Palace in Manila to the Clark Air Base in Pampanga. The next day, they stop over at Guam, then fly to Hawaii.

Prominent newspapers during this period were the Business Day, the most respected business newspaper; the Malaya, the newspaper that strongly opposed martial law; the Bulletin Today, the newspaper that exists through bad and good times; theManila Times, the newspaper that came back before the snap elections; and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the most read newspaper even after a few months of circulation.

Included were their Sunday magazines: Panorama, Inquirer Extra, Midday Malaya, Sunday Times Magazine, and Sunday Inquirer Magazine. The weekly newsmagazines were Veritas, We Forum, Veritas Special, and Mr & Ms Special Edition. Also included were News Herald, Manila Chronicle, Ang Pilipino Ngayon, Pilipino Daily Mirror, and the Philippine Tribune.

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