How Jaime Sin Led the Filipinos Peacefully and Force Ferdinand Marcos to Resign

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How Jaime Sin Led the Filipinos Peacefully and Force Ferdinand Marcos to Resign


Ferdinand Marcos came to power in 1965, following two years as the country senate president. In power, Marcos administration can be accredited for conducting widespread reform in economic and social programs. However, the regime was characterized with nepotism, despotism, corruption/ embezzlement and the authoritarian rule. In his regime, Marcos is accused of having assassinated Benigno Aquino. Jr. Following the events between a hotly contested November, 1969 elections it was imminent that Philippine political arena became an ardently contested political arena and a revolution was necessary to end the unpopular regime of President Marcos. The commencing research will provide a detailed analysis on the events that preceded the 1969 election. It will also prove prove that the Cardinal Jaime Sin contribution to the political development was instrumental in eventual ousting of Ferdinand Marcos regime.

  1. Marcos’s Election

Marcos Ferdinand running on a Nacionalista ticket got five million votes against closest rival Sergio Osmera running on the Liberal party ticket. Osemera garnered 3.1 million or 38.51% of the total vote count[1]. However, on the night of November 11th, 1969 early signs of election fraud were already imminent. According to the international observer delegation, it was assessed that the action characterized was not free and fair in any manner. In fact, through Marcos influence, constitutional resolutions were altered to ensure Marcos and Fernando Lopez “Marcos vice president” were duly elected.

To a greater extent, Marcos dominated National Assembly proclaimed Marcos the winner. As a result, Cardinal Jaime Sin was prompted and liberal factions to rally against the nature of the elections in favor of Liberal Party political ideologies. The uprising was popularly seconded by the clergy, ordinary citizens, and children who marked the occurrence of a series of political upheavals from 1969-1986. The opposition had a genuine reason to oppose Marcos to lead dictatorial rule. It should be recalled that, by the beginning of Marcos regime, crucial political elites were jailed, and top in the list was Benigno Ninoy Aquino.

The United States seconded the ramification of the election. The US ambassador to the Philippines conducted an unprecedented usurpation of power mounting on radical mobilization of the Liberal party, although this was just the beginning. The various organizations conduct reformist movement to support liberal democracy culminating in most sections of the country. In the meantime, students’ seconded general public was already demonstrating dissatisfaction in the main streets of Manila Metropolitan[2]. On the other hand, the catholic religion courtesy of Jaime Sin was vehement in conduct a social-political war that agitated heavily in publication and documentation of the election malpractices. Additionally, the pressure was exerted by neighboring democracies like those that the Singapore only led to the consolidation of power by Marcus regime[3]. Hence in analysis, Marcos survival in power was radically challenged by internally driven external forces.

In this event, Marcos subsequent claim that he won the election was deeply discredited by international seers, and meanwhile, the Liberal Party was obtaining significant influence. It is the liberal party that released the independent tally to contest the ruling party results. As a result, formal protest by the civilians ensued, which three Marcos into panic. Marcos prepared a constitutional reform agenda to ensure that he consolidated power. The liberal party seconded by the catholic religion to initiate a massive agitation in the next two decades with intent to agitate for the democracy. Due to this pressure, the Armed Forces vice of Staff General Fidel Ramos, the Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile resigned and this forced Marcos powerless but to resign.

1st Filipino president to be elected for 2nd term

It should be recalled that Marcos brutal ruler-ship and subsequent election malpractice can be traced to the much-contested 1969 presidential election. Marcos contest against the Sergio Osmena began in a mere political struggle and later graduated to contested martial law three years later. The 1969 presidential election was characterized by two-experienced presidential election. The election was the ugliest and the most expensive presidential contest the country had ever experienced. The Nacionalistas led by Marcos spent around 200 million US dollars. Almost half of that money came from government coffers. The Nacionalistas won seven out of eight seats that led to the winning of the state presidential seat for a second term[4]. Thus in analysis, this was the first indication that Marcos power was based on factors far from ethics, and to a greater extent Marcos regime failed to appeal to the masses.

However, it should be recalled that Marcos victory (re-election) led to the introduction of belligerent politics in Filipino. In fact, through this political backlash, a subsequent uprising was begun rising in 1971 senatorial elections. Thus, by the time of Marcos inauguration in 1970, the first Quarter storm led by students took full effect. A vehement student wing marched to Malacanang Palace that would become known as Battle of Mendiola Bridge. In 1971, two explosions were set-off in Manila’s Plaza, which led to the death of 9 spectator and 100 wounded. Amongst the wounded were eight Liberal Party senatorial candidates[5]. As a result, President Marcos blamed communist regimes on the attack, while the opposition blamed the government for the explosions forcing the government to reinstate a Habeas Corpus for period of six months[6].

After the successful events of the 1971, the Liberal Party gained significant influence and they won 6-8 senate seats in the November elections, which led to the end of Marcus, dominated senate. For that reason, Marcos began considering extra-constitutional means as a way of consolidating power[7]. This led to the subsequent attempts of replacing the 1935 constitution with a bellicose Filipino charter engineered by Marcos. Marcos blamed the old constitution for ills of democracy. On the other hand, the Liberal Party had the view that a political change would be instrumental in minimizing Filipino political woes. In fact, the opposition thought the Oligarch rule, worsening social justices; the failing constitution resulted in corruption and economic underdevelopment.  Hence, delegates converged in Quezon City for the ConCon, and this led to the invite of various social, political, and economic agitators to round table talks.

III. Cardinal Sin’s Motivation and Desire

Wanted to stop corruption

Marcos regime became ruthless and began conducting extra-judicial measures as a mean to consolidate power. For example, in 1974, Alvarez Heherson fled the country after martial law; however, the blatant regime went a step further to assassinate Alvarez Brother. For this reason, Cardinal Sin criticized Marcos on basis of incompetency. Following the increased hostility led by the Cardinal Sin, Fr. Manuel Lahoz, and Fr. Edicio de la Torre was secretly arrested and detained in government torture chambers. Cardinal Jaime Sin mounted open criticism on every of Marcos attempt to conduct a preliminary investigation to blindfold the local community on the whereabouts of the missing political patronage[8].

It is in light with Cardinal Sin support that a Task Force Detainees was established to assist human right victims to defeat torture, salvaging, disappearances, detention, and disappearances. Through mobilization of external aid, Cardinal Sin was able to organize political asylum for political victims, and later the asylum was spread to take care of the victims’ families. Meanwhile, Cardinal Sin deliberated for the development of Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) to take human rights cases in Marcos courts. It should be remembered that AMRSP network to minimize perennial human rights violation was responsible for the development of foreign-based religious network.

Although Cardinal Sin did not have subsequent economic policies, it should be noted that through his support to Aquino’s regime, Sin did demonstrate that he was open to liberal economic policies. Part of this agitation was development of Makati-Based think tank center chiefly led by Opus Dei. In fact, it is through this effort that Sin was capable of encouraging wealthy external businesspersons affiliated to the catholic religion to consider Filipino a possible investment destination and defeating Marcos was the first major effort that was to be achieved.

As a result, Cardinal Sin was able instrumental is encouraging subsequent peaceful coup attempt to oust the Marcos Regime. On 28th, August 1986, Cardinal Sin successfully encouraged Gregorio Honasan commonly known as Gringo to conduct a rebellious revolt against the government[9]. Later the following morning, Cardinal Sin issued a touching statement in response to the mutiny criticizing Marcos inability to contain government problems collectively. In fact, Cardinal Sin requested the masses through Radio Veristas to move up and camp Aguinald and Camp Crame to protect the endangered Enrile and Ramos from bellicose government forces. Through his calling, close two million Filipino camped in Aguinald and Crame collectively. Considering that it was a crucial strategy for Cardinal Sin since the clergyman was in a better position to counter his best counts against challenging Marcos[10]. Thus in analysis, the clergy was crucial in instilling a revolution against Marcos.

  1. Sin’s Leadership

“People power”

As assessed earlier, Cardinal Sin championed the usage of mass media to agitate for better provision equal rights in elections. For instance, the Enrile openly admitted that the elections were characterized with massive cheating and there was a subsequent need to invite the people’s power in direct involvement of political agitation. The nature of Filipino society is close hybrid of traditionalism and Christianity. Thus, a flamboyant Cardinal Sin will obviously make a significant impact to the people. As a result, the PPR was establishment of EDSA revolution. In any case, the approach was instrumental in enhancing proper support prevention of excessive employment of military support in agitating for political support[11].

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