(Editor's intro: Raissa, foreign correspondent for South China Morning Post and Radio Netherlands, is an independent blogger.)
Shortly after being ejected from the Marcos-appointed Supreme Court in the wake of the 1986 Edsa People Power uprising, Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas played a key role in a coup attempt against then President Corazon Aquino.
Cuevas defied the Rule of Law by swearing in Arturo Tolentino as the “Acting President”. The game plan was for Tolentino to pave the way for the return of the ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos to Manila.
The ceremony led by Cuevas on the Manila Hotel driveway was a fiasco: It was one of the more comical coup attempts staged by Marcos loyalists, who took over the hotel and occupied it for a few days. In the process they ate most of the food and trashed the establishment.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas (lower left in white suit) swears in Arturo Tolentino as "Acting President" during a failed coup attempt against then President Corazon Aquino
A year later in August 1987, Cuevas came to the rescue of then Senator Juan Ponce Enrile who was accused of instigating another coup attempt against Cory Aquino. Enrile was arrested for the crime of “rebellion complexed with murder”. Cuevas was one of the lawyers who forcefully argued for the dropping of this charge against the former defense secretary.
While the Manila Hotel coup attempt was a farce, the August 27 to 28, 1987 coup attempt that implicated Enrile was tragic – resulting in the deaths of 53 mostly unarmed civilians and the wounding of over 200.
Among those seriously wounded in the August coup was President Aquino’s son, Benigno III.
I am very proud to say that it wasn’t I who found out about Cuevas’ participation in the 1986 coup attempt, nor Cuevas’ lawyering for Enrile in 1987.
Both incidents were shared with me by readers and commenters to this blog. This indicates that this blog is indeed becoming OUR Plaza Miranda – where insights are shared and ideas are vigorously debated on.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.