I was browsing the website of CNN and I saw that the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has just released about 13 million pages of recently declassified documents.
Curious about what it contained about the Philippines, I went to their website to see what hidden needle I would find in that huge digital haystack.
Having been initiated into politics during the time of People Power and Cory Aquino’s ascendancy, I naturally gravitated to those topics that had to do with events that transpired during that period. I searched embassy dispatches and news stories for anything that would shed light into that troubled phase of our history.
While it may be common knowledge for people of my generation and older, few among younger Filipinos remember how unstable the government was back then, with several coups being launched against Aquino by the same people who helped put her in Malacañan in the first place.
The most serious of these was the one staged on December 1, 1989 by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines belonging to the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) led by Colonel Gregorio Honasan, and soldiers loyal to former President Ferdinand Marcos under retired General Jose Ma. Zumel.
It was during the height of the rebellion, when government forces where at their breaking point, that Aquino requested US Military assistance. According to one of the declassified CIA documents, “Aquino asked for U.S. assistance in crushing the most serious attempt to oust her from power” in the form of “airstrikes” against the rebels. Something that the United States rightly refused “because of political risks in killing Filipinos.”
It isn’t a secret that the U.S. military played a major role in helping secure Cory Aquino’s hold on the presidency. I even remember seeing those Phantom jets flying in the skies above Metro Manila.
But it troubles me to know that officials of the Philippine government actually contemplated the possibility of having a foreign nation fire on and kill their countrymen just to stay in power.
Such a traitorous act is in stark contrast with President Duterte’s own pronouncements about voluntarily stepping down to avoid bloodshed, in case a coup is launched against him. But then again, this really comes as no surprise considering Aquino’s penchant for violently reacting against those who opposed her, including the massacre of 13 unarmed farmers protesting on Mendiola bridge.