Claim: The 1986 EDSA People Power was bloodless because of Marcos
In a photo quote released by Global Daily Mirror, actor Cesar Montano praises late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. for choosing peace and non-violence during the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution. Montano claims that the reason the People Power Revolution was bloodless was not because of the protesters, but because Marcos chose not to ‘hurt’ his fellow Filipinos when he had the choice to do otherwise. He punctuated his statement with admiration for the dictator.
Although Marcos did declare a non-violent approach to disperse the protesters, this lacks context.
The Facts: The EDSA People Power Revolution was the culmination of the decades-long authoritarian rule of Ferdinand Marcos, whose family and allies are notorious for pilfering from the government’s coffers, the World Bank, and International Monetary Funds and amassing billions in ill-gotten wealth while the Filipino people suffer from malnutrition and poverty.
The Marcos years were also marked with extensive human rights abuses, which “showed a pattern of widespread arrests and detention, enforced disappearances, killings and torture of people that were critical of the government,” amounting to more than 50,000 victims (https://www.amnesty.org/…/five-things-to-know-about…/). Marcos’ regime is arguably the bloodiest in recent Philippine history.
The commitment to a ‘bloodless’ resolution of the 1986 EDSA People Power actually stemmed from the U.S. government’s urging. Former President Ronald Reagan, who deliberately turned a blind eye to the atrocities of the Marcos regime due to his close friendship with him, had committed $900 million in military and economic aid over five years in exchange for using the largest military bases in the Philippines.
Former Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Lieutenant General Fidel Ramos have since defected from Marcos’ military after widespread corruption and electoral fraudulence. The U.S. reasoned that existing military assistance cannot be used against other elements of the Philippine military without substantial popular support. Thus, it is the most ‘ideal’ to avoid violence in this crisis.
There were documents citing the Catholic Church under the influential Cardinal Sin for making Marcos behave.
Nevertheless, Marcos determined to resolve the EDSA People Power with force. He dispatched tanks and armored vehicles to Camp Aguinaldo to end the uprising. In a televised broadcast, Marcos also did not hesitate to threaten dissidents with heavy artillery if they do not yield.
Even Bongbong Marcos was seen during their last days at Malacanang wearing an Army uniform as if anticipating a bloody battle.
Why we fact-checked this: Cesar Montano is a long-time actor who will star in the upcoming film Maid in Malacañang, which will be screened nationwide this August. Portraying the dictator and his family in a sympathetic light contributes to the Marcos disinformation propaganda machinery, humanizing and normalizing their bogus narratives to further rehabilitate the Marcos name.
As historian Ambeth Ocampo said, the film is not about historical revisionism but historical distortion.