EDSA uprising was meant to stop military junta, Enrile tells Bongbong

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 23 2018 12:58 AM | Updated as of Sep 23 2018 02:11 AM

Soldiers rehearse in preparations for the EDSA People Power anniversary in February. This week, Juan Ponce Enrile, a former defense secretary of President Ferdinand Marcos, said he looked at the 1986 revolution as an attempt to stop a military junta and, in his eyes, was not meant to overthrow President Ferdinand Marcos. File/Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—Juan Ponce Enrile looked at the 1986 EDSA revolution as an attempt to stop a military junta and, in his eyes, was not meant to overthrow President Ferdinand Marcos.

The former defense minister under Marcos sat down with the former leader's son, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., in a one-on-one conversation released in two parts on Facebook, a production criticized by martial law victims for Enrile's apparent attempt at historical revisionism. 

In the installment video posted on Saturday, Enrile said top military officials at the time had formed a junta to take over the government in the event that Marcos died. Marcos was then rumored to be suffering from lupus and undergoing dialysis. 

"The chief of staff, head of the Philippine Army, head of the Philippine Air Force, head of the Philippine Navy, head of the Philippine Coast Guard" comprised the junta, he said.

According to Enrile, the junta had planned to execute him should Marcos die, because he said he believes he "was a hindrance to their political objective." 

"They (military junta) will invite all the members of the Cabinet in the name of your father for a cabinet meeting and once we are in the Palace, we will be quarantined, but in my case, I will have to be executed," Enrile said.

Marcos Jr. then asked Enrile: "The uprising of what became EDSA was not a break with my father, it was an opposition to this junta?"

Enrile replied: "Correct but it just happened [that] on the day we went to Aguinaldo, we were already going to be arrested by the Presidential guards because of the [intelligence] information you got, the Palace got."

"We have no other way but to protect ourselves," he added.

Enrile's assertion appears to contradict the state of mind he expressed around the time of the "people power" revolt. 

In an interview before the EDSA revolution in February 1986, a transcript of which is posted on the Official Gazette website, Enrile said he was resigning his post as defense minister because "I can no longer serve the government."

When asked 32 years ago, "Are you saying that you no longer recognize President Marcos as President?" Enrile said: "As of now, I cannot in conscience recognize the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. And I am appealing to my brother-members of the Cabinet to head the will of the people expressed during the last election. Because in my own region, I know that we cheated the elections to the extent of 350,000 votes."

Marcos won the 1986 presidential elections based on the official Comelec count, but the poll fraud and widespread discontent prompted a successful civilian-military uprising weeks later that led to the fall of the regime.