Biazon pays tribute to 'peace warrior' Ramos

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2022 04:34 PM | Updated as of Aug 01 2022 05:01 PM

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Former military chief of staff and senator Rodolfo Biazon on Monday said he would always remember former President Fidel V. Ramos as a "peace warrior."

Ramos died on Sunday, his family told the media. He was 94 years old.

Ramos made peace overtures to communist rebels and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). 
 
"I call him as our peace warrior at that time ‘no. Kasi siya ang nagtulak ng pakikipag-usap sa NPA, CPP-NPA, at saka doon sa MNLF. Nakita naman natin resulta sa MNLF, nagkaroon tayo ng peace agreement with [MNLF founding chairman Nur] Misuari," said Biazon, a 

(I call him as our peace warrior at that time because he pushed for the dialog with the NPA, CPP-NPA and the MNLF. We saw the result with the MNLF, we had a peace agreement with Misuari.)

"He was a warrior and yet he was seeking peace with the enemies of the state," Biazon told TeleRadyo. 

On Ramos' instruction, Biazon said he also urged exiled Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison to come home. 

"And remembering the guidelines set by President Ramos, ay sabi ko kay Joma Sison, 'Joma umuwi ka na. Magparticipate ka nasa democratic practices. You can run as a senator, kako mananalo ka," Biazon said. 

"We need ‘kako to listen to other voices. Kasi kung kami kami nasa gobyerno ang nag-uusap, the danger of inbreeding of ideas is there," he continued. 

(And remembering the guidelines set by President Ramos, I said, Joma, come home. Participate in the democratic practices. You can run as a senator, you will win. We need to listen other voices, I said. Because if only us in the government will talk among ourselves, the danger of inbreeding of ideas is there.)

In the end, the MNLF signed a historic peace treaty with the Philippine government, concluding 4 years of peace talks. Only the communists refused to sign agreements with the Ramos administration.

As president, Ramos also solved a crippling power crisis caused by years of under-investment in energy, and broke up cartels in telecommunications, aviation and shipping -- boosting an economy that reaped a period of renewed growth. 
 
"It was during the time of President Ramos na umangat nang onti ang ating ekonomiya. Remember he addressed the power shortage," said Biazon. "Yung infrastructure, for example, nanggaling sa kanya yung idea ng MRT at saka LRT." 

Former President Fidel Ramos (R) speaks at a froum with Former Prime Minister Dr. Mahatir Mohamad (L) during the ASEAN Leaders Forum held at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati, Oct. 12, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File 
Former President Fidel Ramos (R) speaks at a froum with Former Prime Minister Dr. Mahatir Mohamad (L) during the ASEAN Leaders Forum held at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati, Oct. 12, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File 

A graduate of the prestigious West Point military academy in the United States, Ramos had a lengthy career in the armed forces, including combat against communist guerrillas, and was deployed in the Korean War as part of the Philippine contingent.

He was later commander of the paramilitary Philippine Constabulary, the key institution that enforced the repression of dissent after then president Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972.

Ramos's moment of truth came in February 1986, when popular outrage was hitting its peak over the murder of opposition leader Benigno Aquino and massive regime cheating in a snap election.

Sensing Marcos's weakness, a group of young military officers and their leader, defense secretary Juan Ponce Enrile, plotted to seize power but were found out.

Facing arrest, Enrile and his allies holed up in the military headquarters in Manila and appealed to the public to protect them from an imminent government attack. Ramos joined their rebellion, withdrawing his support from Marcos and inspiring many others to rise up as well.

Soon, millions were massing in the streets for the peaceful "People Power" revolt that sent Marcos into exile and ushered in Corazon Aquino as president.

Aquino promptly appointed Ramos as military chief and then defense secretary. 

When elections came in 1992, Aquino gave her endorsement to Ramos, which was crucial to him winning the presidency despite the opposition of influential Catholic Church figures. 

 — With a report from Cecil Morella, Agence France-Presse