Just heard retired general Jose Almonte on Ricky Carandang’s show. By and large, he didn’t say anything new; the details of the military plan to take over Malacanang in late 1985 or early 1986 have been revealed before. What struck me, however, was Almonte’s throwaway phrase, uttered in the show’s last few minutes. "When we launched the Edsa revolution," he said … and in my outrage (I think I screamed at the TV in the newsroom) I didn’t hear him finish the sentence.
The military reform movement was certainly involved in the Edsa revolution; we can even say that the military reformists triggered the historic event. But did they "launch" it? That’s like asking whether "Kabuki," Almonte’s famous charge in the early 1990s, wears no makeup. The answer is an emphatic No.
They could not have launched it, because it was not part of their plan. That’s why it was crucial for them to get Fidel Ramos over on their side; he was their seal of good housekeeping, their badge of credibility. In the interview for the EDSA 20 documentary, Butz Aquino made a special mention of Ramos’s role, precisely as a guarantee of the Enrile faction’s good intentions. (Of course, the Makati congressman added, that was then.) If Ramos had not been part of the defection, Aquino would not have called on people to troop to Edsa. I doubt whether Cardinal Sin would have made his more famous appeal too.
Launch the revolution? That implies that the People Power that redeemed the aborted coup was a deliberate unfolding of events, instead of the series of inexplicable accidents that surprised all of us, and reminded us of the better angels of our vexed and vexing nature.
In his EDSA 20 interview, reformist leader and Army colonel Gringo Honasan waxed inconsistent on that very question. At certain points he would refer to the political component of the plan, which involved reaching out to Cory Aquino’s camp (We offered her security, he said, and all Cory said was, Why don’t you just vote for me?). His intention was to present a more comprehensive explanation of the events of 1986. But at certain points, he also could not deny the simple reality. Ours was "a military plan," he said. "Wala kaming kamuwang-muwang sa People Power. Wala kaming sinasandalan na People Power [We knew nothing about People Power, we did not rest our plans on People Power]."
The military rebels did not launch the revolution; like charity, which the Bible assures us covers a multitude of sins, the People Power revolution that redeemed them descended on us like a gift.
PS. Resty Odon has some choice words on the miracle of Edsa.