Filipino authors

Cory’s birthday and the coups that dragged Enrile

Carmela Fonbuena
To commemorate the birthday of the late President Corazon Aquino, Malacañang recalls previous attempts to unseat her, including one that involved Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

MANILA, Philippines – The timing is interesting, but Malacañang said it’s entirely a coincidence.

On the 80th birthday of the late President Corazon Aquino on Friday, January 25, Malacañang happened to commemorate the attempted coups associated with Philippine politics’ most controversial man at the moment – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

The Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office posted this video of the late President holding a press conference after the 1987 attempted coup that killed 57 civilians, wounded 200, and destroyed the Armed Forces General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.

Among those seriously wounded was the late President’s only son, President Benigno Aquino III.

PCDSPO prepared a multimedia historical series to commemorate how Mrs Aquino  vigorously defended democracy in the Philippines in the face of various threats against her.

“In her presidency, the country saw her staring down attempts at reversing the gains made under restored democratic rule, saw her standing resolute against the most serious and bloodiest challenges to modern Philippine democracy and civilian supremacy,” reads the PCDSPO series.

Aside from the 1987 coup, the series also highlights the December 1989 coup – the bloodiest attempt to unseat her.

The 1989 coup killed 99 and wounded 570, according to the PCDSPO series. It also prompted the creation of the Fact-Finding Commission that investigated the coups. It was led by former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. The entire report was also uploaded on the page.

Enrile, then a senator, was accused of planning the coups with then Lt Col Gregorio Honasan (now senator), his former aide. Enrile always denied any involvement.

Enrile would be detained after the 1989 coup attempt and charged with “rebellion complexed with murder and other serious offenses.”

According to Enrile’s memoir published in 2012, the Supreme Court ordered his release after he posted a bail of P100,000.

PCDSPO Undersecretary Manuel “Manolo” Quezon III said the coups against President Corazon Aquino were the “logical focus” of the commemmoration of her birthday this year.

“We have been covering every aspect [of her administration.] See previous commemorations: wife and mother and the 25th anniversary of the constitution and people power. The next, logically, is [her role] as defender since we couldn’t focus on that last year. We covered the constitution last year,” he said. –

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