Nick Joaquin's 'The PC and EDSA'.
Former Philippine President
This week, please allow us to give way to a most enlightened, articulate, eminent Filipino National Artist for Literature. He wrote a not-so-well-known volume, "The PC and EDSA" back in November, 1991, which, however, is much in demand among historians, being based on live first-hand eyewitness accounts of EDSA 1986. So, we now present Nick Joaquin:
"Auxiliary to people power was the veteran Philippine Constabulary, whose finest hour it was..... Those four days of EDSA had the PC capturing the government's radio and TV facilities. Expeditionary troops to reinforce Camp Crame rushed in from PC commands in Cagayan, Bicolandia, and Mindanao. It was the PC who seized and secured airports in Manila. And they, too, also blocked approaches from north and south into the Metro area, to prevent the entry of government reinforcements.....
"And when Cory Aquino and Doy Laurel were sworn in as president and veep of a restored democratic republic, it was the PC who ringed Club Filipino to ensure the safety of the new Government.
"WE WERE THE ONES," SAYS PC COLONEL RECAREDO SARMIENTO, "WHO PROVIDED SECURITY DURING THE OATH-TAKING OF PRESIDENT CORY AQUINO. IN FACT, WE CAN BE CONSIDERED HER FIRST PRESIDENTIAL GUARDS....."
EFFICIENT CHAIN OF COMMAND
"AT A WORD FROM FVR DURING THE FIRST HOURS OF THE UPRISING, PC COMMANDERS AFIELD HAD SECURED BOUNDARIES OF THEIR RESPECTIVE COMMANDS AND ORGANIZED SPECIAL COMMANDO TROOPS TO BE SENT TO MANILA OR DEPLOYED LOCALLY AGAINST INVASION. SO, AFTER CRUSHING EDSA, MARCOS AND VER WOULD HAVE HAD TO GO FORTH AND TRY TO RECONQUER THE PROVINCES ONE BY ONE.
"And even should they win that civil war, Marcos and Ver would still have been unable to sleep easy. For the PC commanders had sworn that, if routed, they would retreat to the mountains and there continue the resistance, harassing the Marcos dictatorship with a guerrilla warfare as ruthless as that inflicted on the Japanese.
"All this Marcos knew. Was that why he stayed Ver's hand when Ver was for razing Camp Crame? Was that why Washington was heeded when it warned against the use of force on EDSA? Was that the spur in the Marcos decision to flee Malacanang and be flown out?
"Was it the Constabulario that felled Ferdinand Marcos?
"Besides FVR and Enrile, we had another choice on EDSA - to protest the queering of an election that we believed to have been won, not by Mr. Marcos, but by Mrs. Aquino. Here again, EDSA cannot be said to have been 'in vain.' Even if we knew then that Mrs. Aquino would fail, wouldn't we have felt still bound to protest for her sake if we truly believed she had won the election, since the very life of a democracy depends on the sanctity of the ballot?
"Those who now say that they went to EDSA to ensure a new order, or a future for their children, or more galunggong in these islands, are fantasizing.
"WE WENT TO EDSA IN THE SAME SPIRIT WE JOINED THE "CONFETTI REVOLUTION" IN MAKATI, EAGER TO RAISE OUR VOICES IN PROTEST BUT KNOWING FULL WELL THAT NOT ALL OUR SHOUTING AND MARCHING NOR THE SHOWERS OF CONFETTI WOULD BRING DOWN THE STRONGMAN WE LOATHED.
EDSA DIFFERENT FROM MAKATI
"EDSA WAS EQUALLY A LARK OF A DEMO, TO BEGIN WITH, AND NOTWITHSTANDING THE CLAIMS TODAY OF VERY WISE HINDSIGHTERS, WAS NOT EXPECTED TO BE MORE OR LESS EFFECTIVE THAN THE AYALA AVENUE CONFETTI WHICH ALSO EXPRESSED THE HOPE THAT MARCOS WOULD FALL.
"The first time we got an inkling that EDSA might be different was during the false alarm on Monday that the Marcoses had fled. Such was our astonishment that we danced on the streets. From that point on, we knew that EDSA was not mere confetti. EDSA was for real.
"But what made it different from Makati?
"NOT NUMBERS ALONE. MILLIONS COULD HAVE MARCHED ON AYALA TO NO AVAIL BECAUSE THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN MARCHING BY THEMSELVES.
"ON EDSA, A NEW ELEMENT HAS BEEN ADDED. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR DEMOS, THE POLICE AND PART OF THE ARMED FORCES WERE MARCHING WITH US.
"The Philippine Constabulary made all the difference, especially since leading it into the people's camp was no less than the PC Chief himself, General FVR.....
"Says General Ramon Montano: The whole PC ready provided backing for General Ramos. I think we did so, not because we wanted to mutiny, but because FVR was our rallying point. That's the culture of the soldier: to follow a good commander. And FVR had already proved he could lead us.
"Says General Honesto Isleta: The PC became the hero on EDSA because the site of the rebellion was Camp Crame. And in the defense of Crame, the people united with the PC against Government forces.
"Says Colonel Leandro Mendoza: Without the PC there would have been no EDSA. The battle was between Camp Crame and Malacanang. At that time, FVR was the PC Chief. That was the deciding factor. Everybody in the PC looked up to FVR, because with FVR it's always a personal relationship.
"Says Lt. Colonel Victor Batac: The rebellion had an instant geographic spread when PC regional commanders signified they were joining FVR. If it had come to real fighting nationwide, the PC would have been the arm of the revolution against the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines.
"But General FVR puts in: To be fair, I would like to declare that the other services - Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines - participated in one way or another in the winning of the fight during those four days of February 1986.
"SAYS LT. COLONEL REX PIAD: THE PC WAS SOLID BEHIND FVR. AND WITHOUT FVR, WHO COULD HAVE RALLIED THE CROWDS ON EDSA?
CREDIT TO THE MEDIA
"SAYS LT. COLONEL NICETAS KATIGBAK: IT'S HONASAN WHO EMERGED AS THE HERO OF EDSA. THE MEDIA HAD A HAND IN THAT - BUT WE DON'T COMPLAIN. ON THE OTHER HAND, GENERAL FVR WILL NEVER SAY: "AKO ANG BIDA." SO WE FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE. WITHOUT FVR THERE, EDSA WOULD HAVE BEEN ANOTHER STORY.
"But with FVR there, EDSA climaxed PC's history, which began on 8 August 1901, with a law establishing "an Insular Constabulary for the purpose of better maintaining peace, law and order in the various provinces..... which shall be known as the Philippine Constabulary."
"Says a PC historian: As a quasi-military organization, this Insular Police took great care to distinguish its uniform from that of the Army. The material adopted was a soft cottony fabric, steel-gray in color. Camano cloth, it was called. The shoulder ornaments and commissioned ratings were fantastic and wholly unmilitary! More than a year was to elapse before Army hostility had abated sufficiently to permit adoption of a khaki uniform and standardized commissioned ratings for the officers.
"Americans were the officers of the PC from 1901 to 1935, when, the Philippines having become a semi-independent Commonwealth, the PC started being Filipinized. It was completely Filipino 56 years later, in 1991, when a law decreed the establishment of the Philippine National Police, which would incorporate both the PC and the Integrated National Police. Taps for the Constabulario.
"NINE DECADES OF GALLANT HISTORY CAME TO A CLOSE WHEN THE PC BANNER WAS RETIRED IN 1991 AND A FINAL RETREAT WAS BUGLED FOR A BODY OF FIGHTING MEN AND WOMEN, WHICH, ACCORDING TO ONE HISTORIAN, 'RANKS WITH THE FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION, THE TEXAS RANGERS, AND THE CANADIAN MOUNTIES.'
THEIR FINEST MOMENT
"BUT IN WHAT CLIMAXES THEIR HISTORY, THEY HAVE BEEN LAMENTED AS 'THE UNSUNG HEROES OF EDSA' AND MANY ASK WHERE IS THE PAEAN FOR THE 'PEERS OF '86'? IN THE IDIOM OF FOLK CULTURE, "PEER" MEANS PATRIOT AND LEADER AND NOBLEMAN - AS IN THE "DOCE PARES" OR "TWELVE PEERS" OF PHILIPPINE BALLAD - AND GREAT ARE THE REASONS FOR EXALTING THE CONSTABULARIO AS THE 'PEERS OF '86.'
"THROUGH NINE DECADES THE PC KEPT THE PEACE IN THE PHILIPPINES PASTORAL, AS NOBLY AND HEROICALLY AS THEY COULD. AND OUR HISTORY SHINES WITH THE HIGH NOONS OF PC VALOR.
"EDSA WAS THEIR FINEST MOMENT.
"PC IS THE PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY, THEN ONE OF THE FOUR MAJOR SERVICES OF THE AFP. REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6975, APPROVED 13 DECEMBER 1990, ABOLISHED THE PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY AND THE INTEGRATED NATIONAL POLICE, AND THEREBY ESTABLISHED THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE WHOSE MAIN FUNCTION IS MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND ORDER.
"EDSA IS EPIFANIO DE LOS SANTOS AVENUE (NAMED AFTER A FILIPINO HISTORIAN AND MAN-OF-LETTERS), THAT LONG STRETCH OF A BUSY ROAD CONNECTING TWO KNOWN LANDMARKS - FROM MONUMENTO IN THE NORTH TO BACLARAN IN THE SOUTH - PASSING AT MID-POINT THROUGH AND BETWEEN CAMPS CRAME AND AGUINALDO, HOME OF THE PC (NOW THE PNP) AND GENERAL HEADQUARTERS OF THE AFP.
"(SAN JUAN DEL MONTE, NOVEMBER 1991)"
FVR notes: The copyright of this 1992 Nick Joaquin book is by ABOCON Enterprises, Manila.
Please send any comments to email@example.com. Copies of articles are available at www.rpdev.org.
Fidel V. Ramos
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|Title Annotation:||Opinions and Editorials|
|Date:||Mar 10, 2018|
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