Presidency of Corazon Aquino
President of the Philippines
The Presidency of Corazon C. Aquino spanned for six years from February 25, 1986 to June 30, 1992.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Administration and Cabinet
- 3 Supreme Court Appointments
- 4 Domestic policies
- 5 Foreign policies
- 6 1987 legislative elections
- 7 Military Insurrections
- 8 Controversies
- 9 Natural disasters and calamities
- 10 Blackouts and Severe Power Crisis
- 11 End of presidency
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The triumph of the peaceful People Power Revolution and the ascension of Corazon Aquino into power signaled the end of authoritarian rule in the Philippines and the dawning of a new era for Filipinos. The relatively peaceful manner by which Aquino came into power drew international acclaim and admiration not only for her but for the Filipino people, as well.
During the first months of Aquino's presidency, the country experienced radical changes and sweeping democratic reforms. One of Aquino's first and boldest moves was the creation of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which was tasked to go after the Marcos ill-gotten wealth; however, the PCGG itself was also implicated by corruption scandals after her presidency after it was alleged that officials wanted a cut of Marcos' assets and officials were "milking" sequestered assets. Aquino, being a revolutionary president by virtue of people power, repealed & abolished repressive laws under her predecessor, restored civil liberties, abolished the 1973 "Marcos Constitution" and dissolved the Marcos allies, loyalists, supporters-dominated Batasang Pambansa, despite the advice of her vice-president and only prime minister Salvador Laurel. She also immediately created a Constitutional Commission, which she directed for the drafting of a new constitution for the nation.
On the over-all, the Aquino administration made important gains in the aspects of bringing back democracy, restoring investor confidence in the economy and enacting legal and constitutional reforms. Despite these achievements, her presidency faced several threats from both right-wing military elements and extreme left-wing communist rebels. Further, her administration dealt with numerous problems such as major natural disasters which struck the country and severe power shortages which took a toll on doing business in the Philippines. It was also during her tenure that the United States finally ended its military bases and presence in the country.
Administration and Cabinet
Corazon Aquino, President (1986–1992)
Catalino Macaraig, Jr., Executive Secretary (1987–1990)
Juan Ponce Enrile, Secretary of National Defense (1986)
Fidel V. Ramos, Secretary of National Defense (1988–1991)
Franklin Drilon, Secretary of Labor and Employment (1987–1990), Secretary of Justice (1990–1991) and Executive Secretary (1991–1992)
Ramon Mitra, Jr., Secretary of Agriculture (1986–1987)
Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., Secretary of Interior (1986–1987)
Ernesto Maceda, Secretary of Natural Resources (1986–1987)
Hilario Davide, Jr., Chairman of the Commission on Elections (1988–1989)
Jovito Salonga, Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (1986–1987)
Jose Diokno, Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Human Rights (1986–1987)
Jejomar Binay, Chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (1990–1991)
Alfredo Lim, Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (1989–1992)
Rodolfo Biazon, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (1991)
Supreme Court Appointments
Aquino appointed the following to the Supreme Court of the Philippines:
- Claudio Teehankee - (appointed Chief Justice, April 2, 1986)
- Justice Jose Feria - April 7, 1986
- Pedro Yap - April 8, 1986 (appointed Chief Justice, April 19, 1988)
- Marcelo Fernan - April 9, 1986 (appointed Chief Justice, July 1, 1988)
- Andres Narvasa - April 10, 1986 (his last SC Chief Justice, December 1, 1991)
- Justice Isagani Cruz - April 16, 1986
- Justice Edgardo L. Paras - April 16, 1986
- Justice Florentino P. Feliciano - August 8, 1986
- Justice Teodoro R. Padilla - January 12, 1987
- Justice Abdulwahid Bidin - January 12, 1987
- Justice Emilio A. Gancayco - January 12, 1987
- Justice Abraham Sarmiento - January 25, 1987
- Justice Irene R. Cortes - February 1, 1987
- Justice Carolina Griño-Aquino - February 2, 1988
- Justice Leo D. Medialdea - May 2, 1988
- Justice Florenz Regalado - July 29, 1988
- Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. - January 24, 1991
- Justice Flerida Ruth Pineda-Romero - October 21, 1991
- Justice Rodolfo A. Nocon - December 2, 1991
- Justice Josue N. Bellosillo - March 3, 1992 (her last SC justice appointee)
When Corazon Aquino became president, she inherited an economy that was bankrupt and debt-ridden as a result of twenty years of misrule and mismanagement under the Marcos regime. As president, Aquino focused her attention and energy to revitalize and rejuvenate the sagging economy.
One of her boldest moves was to dismantle the various monopolies that were perpetrated by Marcos during his stay in power.
She also moved quickly to tackle the issue of the US$26 billion foreign debt incurred by her predecessor. Instead of repudiating it, Aquino chose to honor all the debts that were incurred previously under different administrations. Her decision proved to be unpopular but Aquino defended it, saying that it was the most practical move and choice to make as it was crucial for the country at that time to regain the confidence of investors and the international community in the Philippine economy.Since 1986, the Aquino administration has paid off $4 billion of the country's outstanding debts to regain good international credit ratings and attract the attention of future markets. Nevertheless, the administration borrowed an additional $9 billion, increasing the national debt by $6 billion within six years time since the ouster of former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
Further, the Aquino administration also sought to bring back fiscal discipline in order as it aimed to trim down the government's budget deficit that ballooned during Marcos' term through privatization of bad government assets and deregulation of many vital industries. It was also during Aquino's time that vital economic laws such as the Built-Operate-Transfer Law, Foreign Investments Act and the Consumer Protection and Welfare Act were enacted.
The economy posted a positive growth of 3.4% during her first year in office. But in the aftermath of the 1989 coup attempt, the Philippine economy remained stagnant. In her final year in office, inflation was raging at 17%, and unemployment was slightly over 10%, higher than the Marcos years.
Immediately after assuming the presidency, President Aquino issued Proclamation No. 3, which established a revolutionary government. She abolished the 1973 Constitution that was in force during martial law, and instead promulgated the provisional 1986 Freedom Constitution, pending the ratification of a new Constitution by the people. This allowed Aquino to exercise both executive and legislative powers until the ratification of the new Philippine Constitution and the establishment of a new Congress in 1987.
Aquino's new government was met with criticism from Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Vice President Salvador Laurel, as well as constitutionalist and retired Supreme Court Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma vehemently opposing the move. "To declare her government “revolutionary” and abolish the Batasan Pambansa was to behave no better than Dictator Marcos", Palma said. Homobono Adaza, who brokered the opposition coalition, "when the United Democratic Opposition (UNIDO) decided to support Cory for President, the agreement with Cory was that the type of government of Marcos would be continued, with Cory as ceremonial President, since everyone knew that Cory had no knowledge of how to run the country, and Cory admitted this."  Enrile and Laurel subsequently resigned from Aquino's government.
As such, Aquino promulgated two landmark legal codes, namely, the Family Code of 1987, which reformed the civil law on family relations, and the Administrative Code of 1987, which reorganized the structure of the executive branch of government. Another landmark law that was enacted during her tenure was the 1991 Local Government Code, which devolved national government powers to local government units (LGUs). The new Code also enhanced the power of LGUs to enact local taxation measures and assured them of a share in the national revenue.
Likewise, Aquino closed down the Marcos-dominated Batasang Pambansa to prevent the new Marcos loyalist opposition from undermining her democratic reforms and reorganized the membership of the Supreme Court to restore its independence. In May 1986, the reorganized Supreme Court declared the Aquino government as "not merely a de facto government but in fact and law a de jure government", whose legitimacy had been affirmed by the community of nations. This Supreme Court decision significantly affirmed the status of Aquino as the new, legitimate and rightful leader of the Philippines.
1986 Constitutional Commission
To fast-track the restoration of a full constitutional government and the writing of a new charter, President Aquino appointed 48 members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission (Con-Com), led by retired activist Supreme Court Associate Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma. The Con-Com completed its final draft in October 1986 On February 2, 1987, the new Constitution of the Philippines, which put strong emphasis on civil liberties, human rights and social justice, was overwhelmingly approved by the Filipino people. The ratification of the new Constitution was followed by the election of senators and congress that same year and the holding of local elections in 1988.
Upon her ascension into power, President Aquino envisioned agrarian and land reform as the centerpiece of her administration's social legislative agenda. Her family background and social class as a privileged and landed daughter of a wealthy and landed clan became a lightning rod of criticisms against her land reform agenda. On February 22, 1987, three weeks after the resounding ratification of the 1987 Constitution, agrarian workers and farmers marched to the historic Mendiola Street near Malacañan Palace to demand genuine land reform from Aquino's administration. The farmers' march turned bloody and violent when Marine forces fired at farmers who tried to go beyond the designated demarcation line set by the police. As a result, 12 farmers were killed and 19 were injured in this incident now known as the Mendiola Massacre. This tragic incident led some prominent members of the Aquino Cabinet like the nationalist and progressive senator Jose W. Diokno to quit from their government posts. Though Aquino did not have any personal and official involvement with the drastic actions taken by some police elements, her administration has been faulted since then for failing to solve land disputes in the country.
In response to calls for agrarian reform, President Aquino issued Presidential Proclamation 131 and Executive Order 229 on July 22, 1987, which outlined her land reform program, which included sugar lands. In 1988, with the backing of Aquino, the new Congress of the Philippines passed Republic Act No. 6657, more popularly known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law." The law paved the way for the redistribution of agricultural lands to tenant-farmers from landowners, who were paid in exchange by the government through just compensation but were also allowed to retain not more than five hectares of land. Corporate landowners were also allowed under the law to "voluntarily divest a proportion of their capital stock, equity or participation in favor of their workers or other qualified beneficiaries", in lieu of turning over their land to the government for redistribution. Despite the flaws in the law, the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality in 1989, declaring that the implementation of the comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP), provided by the said law, was "a revolutionary kind of expropriation."
Despite the implementation of CARP, Aquino was not spared from the controversies that eventually centered on Hacienda Luisita, a 6,453-hectare estate located in the Province of Tarlac, which was a shared inheritance among the Cojuangco clan. She was scored for allowing Hacienda Luisita, which was now owned by the Tarlac Development Corporation, to opt for stock distribution, instead of land redistribution. As such, ownership of agricultural portions of the hacienda were transferred to the corporation, which in turn, gave its shares of stocks to farmers.
The arrangement remained in force until 2006, when the Department of Agrarian Reform revoked the stock distribution scheme adopted in Hacienda Luisita, and ordered instead the redistribution of a large portion of the property to the tenant-farmers. The Department stepped into the controversy when in 2004, violence erupted over the retrenchment of workers in the Hacienda, eventually leaving seven people dead.
When Aquino assumed the presidency in 1986, P31 billion, slightly more than 25 percent of the government's budget, was allocated to public sector enterprises—government-owned or government-controlled corporations—in the form of equity infusions, subsidies, and loans. Aquino also found it necessary to write off P130 billion in bad loans granted by the government's two major financial institutions, the Philippine National Bank and the Development Bank of the Philippines, "to those who held positions of power and conflicting interest under Marcos." The proliferation of inefficient and unprofitable public sector enterprises and bad loans held by the Philippine National Bank, the Development Bank of the Philippines, and other government entities, was a heavy legacy of the Marcos years.
Burdened with 296 public sector enterprises, plus 399 other nonperforming assets transferred to the government by the Philippine National Bank and the Development Bank of the Philippines, the Aquino administration established the Asset Privatization Trust in 1986 to dispose of government-owned and government-controlled properties. By early 1991, the Asset Privatization Trust had sold 230 assets with net proceeds of P14.3 billion. Another seventy-four public sector enterprises that were created with direct government investment were put up for sale; fifty-seven enterprises were sold wholly or in part for a total of about P6 billion. The government designated that about 30 percent of the original public sector enterprises be retained and expected to abolish another 20 percent. There was widespread controversy over the fairness of the divestment procedure and its potential to contribute to an even greater concentration of economic power in the hands of a few wealthy families.
Another example for President Aquino is the sequesterment of its Marcos-owned radio and television stations such as the Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Philippines Network and Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation after the 1986 EDSA Revolution. On July 16 and September 14, 1986, ABS-CBN resumed its operations after 14 years of their closure. Since then, its TV station DWWX-TV and two radio stations are opened following a re-opening.
Media and culture
Since 1986, Aquino adopted Original Pilipino Music by implementing Executive Order No. 255 issued on July 25, 1987 which broadcasts hourly OPM songs to all FM radio stations in Metro Manila and in the provinces regularly to shape up Filipino culture. Singers like Regine Velasquez, Randy Santiago, Ogie Alcasid, Gary Valenciano, Manilyn Reynes, Donna Cruz and others are contributed to the President's implementation of Filipino music over the airwaves. Stations like DZOO-FM, DWLS, etc., are adopted hourly OPMs effectively after the implementation.
After the revolution, she removed Maharlika Broadcasting System, a Marcos-owned TV network originally ceased transmitting on February 24, 1986 to replace a new network under the brand name People's Television Network, Incorporated (PTV-4) in April 1986. In 1992, PTNI made a government broadcaster for the first time under RA 7306 when it was signed. In 1988, GMA Network unveils the new transmitter called the Tower of Power located in Barangay Culiat in Quezon City with a grand opening to mark a nationwide satellite broadcast and for the preparation of a Rainbow satellite. The network becomes an instrument of democracy during the revolution.
Aquino also encouraged the tourism sector to boost the national economy. Under her six-year term, the Department of Tourism launched a program called The Philippines: Fiesta Islands of Asia in 1989, offers tourist visits in the country to show their natural wonders, to protect their indigenous peoples, to preserve heritage sites and to contribute historical importance.
Under her administration, Filipino athletes brought home several medals in international sports events. The 1986 Asian Games in Seoul, South Korea finished with the Philippines in sixth with 18 medals. In 1988, the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, athlete Leopoldo Serantes got the bronze medal in the men's light flyweight division of boxing. Manila was to become the host city of the 1991 Southeast Asian Games and the host country finished second place to Indonesia. To ensure the standards of its athletes, the Philippine Sports Commission was established in 1990 as an institution to train future athletes in sports and international events.
The country experienced daily power disruptions during a period of her administration.
Corazon Aquino's decision to mothball the Bataan Nuclear Plant built during the Marcos administration contributed to the power crisis in the 1990s, as the 620 megawatts capacity of the plant was enough to cover the shortfall at that time.
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In September 1986, Aquino made her first state visit to the United States. She gave a speech in a joint session of the United States Congress with U.S. lawmakers wearing yellow ribbons symbolizing support to Aquino.
United States emergency aid
Following her speech in the United States Congress in 1986, the U.S. House of Representatives voted, 203 to 197, in favor of $200 million in emergency aid to her fledgling government. The vote, admitted Democrat Gerald Kleczka of Wisconsin, amounted to "legislating with our hearts instead of our heads." Indeed, the measure only added to a foreign-aid budget that is already likely to be deeply slashed by the Gramm-Rudman budget-balancing mechanism.
U.S. Bases Extension Treaty
On June 15, 1991, Mount Pinatubo, just 20 miles (32 km) from Subic Bay, exploded with a force 8 times greater than the Mount St. Helens eruption. Day turned to night as volcanic ash blotted out the sun. Volcanic earthquakes and heavy rain, lightning and thunder from Typhoon Yunya passing over northern Luzon made Black Saturday a 36-hour nightmare.
By the morning of June 16, when the volcano's fury subsided, Subic Bay, once one of the most beautiful and well-maintained Navy bases in the Pacific, lay buried under a foot of rain-soaked, sandy ash.
Buildings everywhere collapsed under the weight of the coarse gray ash. Two girls, one a nine-year-old American and the other a Filipino citizen, died when trapped under a falling roof at George Dewey High School. In the city of Olongapo, more than 60 volcano-related deaths were reported, including eight who were crushed when part of Olongapo General Hospital collapsed.
That night, the threat of continued eruptions combined with the lack of water and electricity led to the decision to evacuate all dependents. U.S. warships and cargo planes began the emergency evacuation of thousands of Navy and Air Force dependents. Seven Navy ships sailed Monday, June 17, with 6,200 dependents. A total of 17 ships, including the aircraft carriers, USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Midway evacuated all 20,000 dependents over the next few days. The evacuees were taken by ship to Mactan Air Base and then were airlifted by U.S. Air Force C-141 Starlifters to Andersen Air Force Base at Guam.
After the dependents were evacuated, an intense clean-up was begun. All hands, American service members and Filipino base employees, worked around the clock to restore essential services.
Clark Air Base, much closer to Mount Pinatubo, was declared a total loss and plans for a complete closure were started.
Within two weeks NAS Cubi Point was back in limited operation. Soon, most buildings had electricity and water restored. By mid-July service had been restored to most family housing units. The dependents began returning September 8, 1991 and by the end of the month almost all were back at Subic Bay from the United States.
Many months before the expiration of the Military Bases Agreement of 1947 intense negotiations between the governments of the United States and the Philippines began. These negotiations resulted in the Treaty of Friendship, Peace and Cooperation between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines. This would have extended the lease of the American bases in the Philippines.
On September 13, 1991, the Philippine Senate rejected the ratification of this treaty, citing a number of reasons for the rejection. This was a devastating blow to the Aquino administration, who were strongly pro-treaty and even called for a referendum by the Filipino people; a move that was declared unconstitutional.
In December 1991, the two governments were again in talks to extend the withdrawal of American forces for three years but this broke down as the United States refused to detail their withdrawal plans or to answer if nuclear weapons were kept on base. Finally on December 27, President Corazon Aquino, who had previously fought to delay the U.S. pullout to cushion the country's battered economy, issued a formal notice for the U.S. to leave by the end of 1992. Naval Station Subic Bay was the U.S.'s largest overseas defense facility after Clark Air Base was closed.
During 1992, tons of material including drydocks and equipment, were shipped to various Naval Stations. Ship-repair and maintenance yards as well as supply depots were relocated to other Asian countries including Japan and Singapore. Finally, on November 24, 1992, the American Flag was lowered in Subic for the last time and the last 1,416 Sailors and Marines at Subic Bay Naval Base left by plane from NAS Cubi Point and by the USS Belleau Wood. This withdrawal marked the first time since the 16th Century that no foreign military forces were present in the Philippines.
President Corazon Aquino vies for the wrongs committed by Japan during World War II. New foreign aid agreements also were concluded during this visit. Aquino returned to Japan in 1989 for Hirohito's funeral and in 1990 for the enthronement of Emperor Akihito. A series of talks of four Prime Ministers from Yasuhiro Nakasone from 1986 to 1987, to Kiichi Miyazawa from 1991 to 1992, the Japanese Government provided economic and trade relations between the two countries, massive inflow of Japanese investors and tourists, rehabilitation and construction of schools, hospitals and roads, and guaranteed justice for Filipino Comfort women after World War II. Also in an official state visit, she and Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita received condolences in the wake of MV Doña Paz tragedy.
Even Aquino meets Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in another state visit in Moscow for the first time in 1987. She and Gorbachev agreed that the Philippines and the Soviet Union established the two-nation economic ties and to promote their reforms based on the perestroika and glasnost systems paved their way to democracy, it also includes a Philippine-Soviet friendship. She returned between 1991 and 1992 for the state visit with President Boris Yeltsin since Russia was independent on December 25, 1991.
Chinese and South Korean relations
Then in China, a state visit between Aquino and Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping for the first time in 1988, the two leaders discussed the economic relations between the Philippines and China to receive its economic and trading partnership and a Philippine-Chinese friendship under Xiaoping. Also in the state visit, she visited Hong Jian village as ancestral homes of the Conjuangcos where her grandparents and children were born and raised in this village before they descended into the Philippines. Later, she went to South Korea between 1986 and 1988, for separate meetings with Presidents Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo in relation to Philippine-South Korean economic, social and cultural ties, she represented in the Asian Games and the Olympics by supporting the Filipino athletes in the world of sports. She and Tae-woo, also discussed about Unification talks in which South and North Korea will unify to end its hostilities since the Korean War in the 1950s.
Aquino's European tour
In Europe, the President went to the United Kingdom and met British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major from 1987 to 1992, to discuss important talks on economy and social welfare as the Philippines provide economic and financial assistance programs, and strong commercial ties between the two countries. Also in London, she visited Queen Elizabeth II and received a warm welcome for the first time. Similar visits were made by Aquino and she went to other European nations including with President François Mitterrand of France, President Francesco Cossiga of Italy, Chancellor Helmut Kohl of West Germany and Prime Minister Felipe González Márquez of Spain from 1986 to 1991. In Spain and Vatican City, Aquino met King Juan Carlos I of Spain for a special visit in which the country traced back to historical timeline during the Spanish rule for over three centuries and how the country received freedom after its independence and the revolution made the President and the Spanish King a two-nation friendship. Later, she went to the Vatican and she also received a warm welcome to Pope John Paul II, John Paul II congratulated Aquino for supporting millions of Filipinos whose marched at EDSA and to topple the dictator in this Roman Catholic nation.
ASEAN and U.N. relations
Aquino made her first state visits in Southeast Asia, she went to Singapore, then to Indonesia in August 1986, for separate meetings with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Indonesian President Suharto in order to provide trade and economic ties between the three countries. She also went to Malaysia in November 1987, to discuss territorial disputes in Sabah with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, and in Thailand and Brunei, for separate meetings with Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda in April 1988, and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in August 1988. She and the member leaders of Association of Southeast Asian Nations made meetings in various ASEAN summits from 1986 to 1992. Aquino went to the United Nations assembly in New York in July 1988, made a historic speech during the 45th General Assembly. In her historic speech, Aquino promised to the International Community in expressing democratic freedoms in countries since the Philippines received freedom after the revolution in 1986, and to provide a resolution in the protection for migrant workers and their families. During the July 1988 visit, She met Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar for a special meeting to discuss anti-poverty and anti-insurgency measures in the Philippines.
1987 legislative elections
Lakas ng Bayan (LABAN) coalition composed of PDP-Laban, Lakas ng Bansa, UNIDO, Liberal Party-Salonga Wing, National Union of Christian Democrats, Philippine Democratic Socialist Party, Bandila and Pinaghiusa.
Grand Alliance for Democracy (GAD) coalition composed of the Nacionalista Party, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, Liberal Party-Kalaw Wing, Partido Nacionalista ng Pilipinas, Christian Socialist Democratic Party, Mindanao Alliance and Muslim Federal Party
UPP-KBL coalition composed of Pro-Marcos forces.
Aquino's administration-coalition won 22 out of the 24 senate seats.
Coup attempts (1986–1987)
From 1986 to 1987, there were six plots to overthrow the government of Philippine President Corazon Aquino involving various members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. A significant number of the military participants in these attempts belonged to the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) led by Gringo Honasan, while others were identified loyalists to former President Ferdinand Marcos, who had been deposed in February 1986. Two of the attempts — the November 1986 "God Save the Queen" plot and the July 1987 plot — were uncovered and quashed by authorities before they could be operationalized. Save for the August 1987 coup attempts, which left 53 people dead, the other plots were repelled with minimal or no violence.
1989 coup attempt
The most serious coup d'état against the government of Philippine President Corazon Aquino was staged beginning 1 December 1989 by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines belonging to the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) and soldiers loyal to former President Ferdinand Marcos. Metro Manila was shaken by the coup, where the rebels almost gained full control of the presidential palace. It was completely defeated by Philippine Government forces on December 9, 1989.
The coup was led by Colonel Gregorio Honasan, General Edgardo Abenina, and retired General Jose Ma. Zumel. At the onset of the coup, the rebels seized Villamor Airbase, Fort Bonifacio, Sangley Airbase, Mactan Airbase in Cebu, and portions of Camp Aguinaldo. The rebels set patrols around the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, effectively shutting it down. From Sangley Airbase, the rebels launched planes and helicopters which bombarded and strafed Malacañan Palace, Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo. Three hours after the fall of Villamor Air Base, President Aquino went on air to address the people, assuring them that the government "shall smash this naked attempt once more." At that point, the counterattack of the government forces began. Seven army trucks headed for the headquarters of the government-owned station Channel 4, where fierce fighting occurred between the forces. Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos and AFP Chief-of-Staff Renato de Villa monitored the crises from Camp Crame, headquarters of the Philippine Constabulary. With loyal forces hard-pressed by the rebels, Aquino requested assistance from the US Military, and, at the behest of her military commanders, granted. 120 marines, part of the 800-strong U.S. contingent stationed at Subic Naval Base were deployed at the grounds of the US Embassy as a defensive measure. President Aquino stated that the loyal forces lacked the ability to contain the rebel forces. American help was crucial to the Aquino cause, clearing the skies of rebel aircraft and allowing government military to consolidate their forces.
As the mutiny continued, Aquino declares an ultimatum for the rebels, giving them two choices, to surrender or to face death. Government F-5 jets went to the skies and challenged rebel planes, and culminated with the destruction of the rebel T-28 Trojans. Government forces would recapture all military bases save for Mactan Airbase by December 3, but rebel forces retreating from Fort Bonifacio occupied 22 high-rise buildings along the Ayala business area in Makati. The government claimed the coup was crushed, but fierce fighting continued through the weekend; Camp Aguinaldo was set ablaze by the rebel howitzers.
The occupation of Makati lasted until December 7, surrendering full control of Mactan Airbase on 9 December. The official casualty toll was 99 dead (including 50 civilians), with 570 more wounded.
The United States military supported the Aquino government during the coup. Operation "Classic Resolve" involved the use of U.S. airpower from the aircraft carriers Midway and Enterprise (CVN-65), and F-4 Phantom II fighters from Clark Air Base. The U.S. Air force jets retook the skies for Aquino. The U.S. planes had clearance to "...buzz the rebel planes at their base, fire in front of them if any attempted to take off, and shoot them down if they did."
Following the failure of this coup, President Aquino established a Fact-Finding Commission headed by then-COMELEC Chairman Hilario Davide, Jr. to investigate and provide a full report on the series of coup attempts against her government. The report would become known as the Davide Commission Report.
Participants of the December 1989 coup would later blame perceived deficiencies in the Aquino government in areas as graft and corruption, bureaucratic inefficiency, and lenient treatment of communist insurgents as the reasons for the coup. In response, the Davide Commission recommended several short-term and long-term counter-measures, including the establishment of a civilian national police force, a crackdown on corruption in the military, a performance review of appointive government officials, reforms in the process of military promotions, a review of election laws in time for the 1992 presidential elections, and a definitive statement on the part of Aquino on whether she intended to run for re-election in 1992.
Within a year of the People Power Revolution, on January 22, 1987, state security forces fired their guns into a farmers' march on Malacañan Palace. Thirteen of the peasants were killed and many more wounded.
Luis Beltran scandal
Luis Beltran, who was a Filipino journalist, became notorious for mentioning in a column about the 1987 coup attempt that then President Corazon Aquino had been hiding under the bed during the coup. For this statement he was sued by the President for libel. Aquino went so far as to show journalists that she could not fit under her bed. Beltran, who openly expressed his belief that the President was lacking in competence, countered that his words were not meant to be taken literally, but Aquino still pursued the case against him and the STAR's editor-in-chief Max Soliven. On 22 October 1992, the court ruled in Aquino's favor, sentencing the columnist and his editor to 2 years of imprisonment and ordering them to pay 2 million pesos in moral damages.
Natural disasters and calamities
During her last two years in office, President Aquino's administration faced series of natural disasters and calamities. Among these were the 1990 Luzon earthquake, which left around 1,600 people dead and the 1991 volcanic eruption of what was then thought to be a dormant Mount Pinatubo, which was the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century, killing around 300 people and causing widespread long-term devastation of agricultural lands in Central Luzon. The worst loss of life occurred when Tropical Storm Thelma (also known as Typhoon Uring) caused massive flooding in Ormoc City in November 1991, leaving around 6,000 dead in what was considered to be the deadliest typhoon in Philippine history. Also in November 1987, Supertyphoon Sisang slammed into Luzon killing almost 1,036 people and destroying farms and coastal villages, turning as the deadliest supertyphoon of the 20th century, and in October 1988, Typhoon Unsang lashes out Central Luzon with scores of fatalities and tremendous damage, also in November 1990, Supertyphoon Ruping struck into the Visayas leaving 784 lives lost due to flashfloods and landslides since the worst Typhoon Nitang in 1984, and in October 1989, it was Supertyphoon Tasing lashed into Northern Luzon with 47 people were also killed years before Supertyphoon Juan. A series of flashfloods struck the northern regions of Luzon resulted to the deaths of 36 persons when Typhoon Miding went slowly in August 1986, it is the worst before Typhoon Pepeng happened in 2009. It was also during Aquino's term that the MV Doña Paz sank, which is the World's worst peace-time maritime disaster of the 20th century. The disaster occurred in December 1987 which killed more than 1,700 people. A series of air disasters occurred in 1987 when Philippine Airlines PR 206 crashed into a mountain in Benguet with 50 passengers found dead on June 26, another on December 13, PR 443 crashes near Maria Cristina Airport in Iligan with 15 people on board were killed and on July 21, 1989, another plane crashed on a runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, killing eight on ground.
From 1989 to 1993, a long El Niño phenomenon which caused a severe drought in the archipelago. Droughts destroyed crops in farmlands and livestock led to a nationwide food shortage, dwindling water supplies also contribute a water shortage and electric blackouts left the national economy to a damage worth billions of pesos. Aquino declared the archipelago under a nationwide state of calamity because of the drought.
Blackouts and Severe Power Crisis
During Aquino's presidency, electric blackouts became common in Manila. The capital experienced blackouts of seven to 12 hours, bring numerous businesses were brought to a halt and as associated to El Niño. By the departure of Aquino in June 1992, businesses in Manila and nearby provinces have lost nearly $800 million since March 1992. The Aquino administration knew for years that country's power plants were failing, but they did not act to solve the problem. It was only during the time of her successor, Fidel Ramos, that the government decisively solved the severe power outages that were common during her tenure.
End of presidency
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As the end of her presidency drew near, close advisers and friends told Aquino that since she was not inaugurated under the 1987 Constitution, she was still eligible to seek the presidency again in the upcoming 1992 elections, the first presidential elections under normal and peaceful circumstances since 1965. President Aquino strongly declined the requests for her to seek reelection and wanted to set an example to both citizens and politicians that the presidency is not a lifetime position.
Initially, she named Ramon V. Mitra, a friend of her husband Ninoy and then Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives, as her candidate for the presidential race in 1992. She instead threw her support behind the candidacy of her defense secretary and EDSA Revolution hero, General Fidel V. Ramos, who constantly stood by and defended her government from the various coup attempts and rebellions that were launched against her. Her sudden change of mind and withdrawal of support from Mitra drew criticisms not only from her supporters in the liberal and social democratic sectors but from the Roman Catholic Church, as well, which questioned her anointing of Ramos since the latter was a Protestant. Nevertheless, Aquino's candidate eventually won the 1992 elections, albeit by a margin of 23.58 percent of the total votes only, and was sworn in as the 12th President of the Philippines on June 30, 1992.
In contrast with previous inaugurations, Aquino attended the swearing-in of her successor at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. As a final gesture as President, she rode the presidential limousine to the event and later left the venue aboard a Toyota sedan, a gift from her siblings, which was a strong symbol of her return to private life as "Citizen Cory".
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- Davide Commission Report, p. 222
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- Davide Commission Report, p. 376
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|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Presidency of Corazon Aquino
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Corazon Aquino.|
- Official website of Corazon Aquino – maintained by the Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. Foundation
- Time Woman of the Year: Corazon "Cory" Aquino
- President Cory's historic speech before the U.S. Congress
- Prayers – prayforcory.com
- NYTimes obituary
|Philippines Presidential Administrations|
|C. Aquino Presidency