The effect of the Philippine Revolution

This investigation assesses the extent of the Philippine Revolution had on the Philippine culture. In order to analyze the effects of the revolution on the political structure of the Philippines, the investigation will involve what the how it was several years before the Philippine Revolution, also known as the People Power Revolution. The political structure after the Philippine Revolution will also be researched. This research will be done to evaluate the changes in the overall political structure. The two primary sources for this investigation include Monina Mercado’s A People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986: An Eyewitness History along with Florentino Rodao’s book, The Philippine Revolution of 1986: Ordinary Lives In Extraordinary Times.

The two sources that will be used will be analyzed according to its origin, purpose, limitations and value.

Summary of Evidence

The online article “What Was People Power?” states that the revolution was a non-violent movement of united Filipino citizens. They were lead by Corazon “Cory” Aquino, the wife of Benigno Aquino, a leading opponent of the rule of President Ferdinand Marcos, an advocate for the opposition of their Nationalist Party. This movement was a success because it led to the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos. After the overthrow, Corazon Aquino won presidency.

Ferdinand Marcos was a corrupt leader. He was president of the Philippines for twenty years (for two terms), from 1965 to 1986. [1] After World War II, Ferdinand Marcos emerged from World War II with the reputation of being the greatest Filipino resistance leader of the war and the most decorated soldier in the U.S. Armed forces. [2] Before being president of the Philippines, Marcos had been the leader of the Ang Maharlika. The Ang Maharlika was a secret resistance that Ferdinand Marcos had created. It was said that this secret resistance was made up of spies and revolutionaries (assassins), in actually, the resistance consisted of counterfeiters, thieves, and gunmen. The Ang Maharlika was a guerilla force in northern Luzon. As president Marcos excelled in achieving infrastructure development along with international diplomacy; however despite these great achievements he, along with his administration, was extremely authoritarian, corrupt; they were also politically repressive, and they also violated human rights.

In 1983, Benigno Aquino Jr., a senator and governor of Tarlac who opposed Marcos, was assassinated due to a gunshot to his head. President Marcos, along with the rest of his government, was involved in the assassination. This assassination became the catalyst of the People Power Revolution. From 1972 up through 1981, Marcos’ government passed a martial law that repressed the people’s freedom. He claimed that it was to create “New Society” based on new social and political value. Despite the law’s success in reducing crime, it frightened any political opponents causing them to go into exile. The same goes for the rest of the people. They could not have a say in anything. Things were about to change for the better once Ferdinand Marcos was exiled.

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After the revolution, Corazon Aquino’s presidency was the start of democracy for the Filipinos. The new government, the Constitutional Commission gave them a new constitution. It was ratified on February 2, 1987. The Constitution then went into effect on the eleventh of that month. It diminished presidential powers from declaring martial law. The Constitution also restored the bicameral congress.

Evaluation of Sources

The source Mercado’s A People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986: An Eyewitness History was written by Monina Mercado. It tells the story of the revolution that exiled Ferdinand Marcos from power through a collection of various stories by many different people told in their own words. It was published in 1987 making it somewhat of a credible source. This is said because it was written after, if not during, the revolution. This means that it contained real, current information. On the other hand, being published so soon after the revolution had occurred means that it will not have all the necessary information. If it was to describe the effects of the People’s Power Revolution, it would only mention the effects that occurred only between that one-year time period. It would not encompass the effects over ten or twenty years. It appears that the purpose of the source is to inform readers about the Philippine Revolution of 1986 and her point of view on the situation. A People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986: An Eyewitness History is limited because it is biased. The author is clearly a supporter of Corazon Aquino. She does not write about what the people on the other side of the revolution thought. The source’s value is questionable. It does its purpose and informs readers of the revolution and it does sheds light on the events which toppled the Marcos dictatorship.

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The second source is The Philippine Revolution of 1986: Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times was published in 2001, making it a valuable source. This book is the most recent resource out of both of the sources. It was written by Florentino Rodao. The author of this book goes into detail about “gender and ethnicity during the Revolution; corruption in the second-half of the nineteenth century; the circuitions “intra-Asian trade”; the influx of refugees to Cavite, which affected the rivalry between Bonifacio and Aguinaldo; the travails of the Franciscan friars; and the hopes and fears of a Spanish soldier as seen through his letters.” The purpose of this book was to describe the time in which they were ruled by the Spanish and when they were freed. With this being said, this was not a very valuable book for this investigation. It does not completely talk about the issue at hand, the People Power Revolution; thus limiting this book much more. It does not go into depth about the revolution, rather the time before it. In a sense, this book is valuable because it gives background information on how the people were before the revolution, therefore allowing for a comparison to be made between the time periods.

D. Analysis

Every single kind of revolution brings about change. The Philippine Revolution, in this case brought about a positive change. After 1986, there were many more social and governmental changes. The Philippine Revolution brought about great social changes. The people were not to be socially repressed any more. People could speak their mind without getting reprimanded. The revolution, along with all other revolutions, was a time of military and political struggle for power. This thoroughly affected the people. Even before the People’s Power Revolution Filipinos had been military and socially repressed because of the Spanish. After gaining their freedom, they had little time to be their own; to be free, even if it was just for a little while. They were not technically used to having such freedom, so when Marcos became president there was not much resistance. With all the changes being made throughout the Philippines, it is not shocking that, socially, the country changed. This comes to show, why there was not resistance to Ferdinand Marcos in the beginning.

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While the Philippine revolution overthrew such a powerful, despotic leader, it left much of the old centralized power structure unchanged. The U.S. still retained major influence through military aid and bases. The Philippine military remained intact under Defense Minister Enrile, the same man who had gotten rich from political connections while serving as Defense Minister under Marcos. The new President, Corazon Aquino, was from a wealthy family. The poor were still poor, and the rich were still in charge.

The Philippine revolution demonstrates what the power people can have when they unite and “withdraw consent.” The same dynamics apply, no matter what the issue. If Filipinos had decided to go on and struggle and fight for a more just division of wealth, the abolition of the military, and/ or a decentralized government that was more responsive to their needs, who knows what more amazing things they might have achieved.

E. Conclusion

To conclude, there were social and governmental changes as a result of the Philippine Revolution. After Marcos was exiled, there was much more social freedom. Political leaders could actually speak their mind and exiled. The people were given the right to voice their opinions and not be punished. What changed drastically was the government. The Philippines came from being an authoritarian state to a bicameral democratic country. The People Power Revolution of 1986 signified the unity of the civilians and how they came to the aid of the military, which had long been an instrument of repression and terror.

F. Sources

BookRags Staff. 2005. “Ferdinand Marcos.” [Available Online] [cited September 12, 2010] Available from

Dizon, Regina G. Mount Holyoke College. (27 January 2010)

“People Power in the Philippines.”

In Defense of Marxism. (30 January 2010)

Kabayan Central.

Mercado, Monina A. People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986: An Eyewitness History. Manila: James B. Reuter, S.J. Foundation.

Morrow, Paul. Maharlika and the ancient class system. a-culture/in-other-words/251-maharlika-and-the-ancient-class-system.html (accessed 2010).”USA Spain Philippine Revolution.” (2 February 2010)

Rodao, Florentino, and Felice N. Rodiguez. The Philippine Revolution of 1986: Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times. Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press.

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