corazon c. aquino

The country needs you now.’ Quezon City, circa 1986. Though initially hesitant to run, Corazon C. Aquino, widow of martyred Senator Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino Jr., eventually filed her candidacy after an outpouring of support for her campaign.

In a rare news radio broadcast on the 1986 snap elections, it is noted that Quezon City gained the largest number of new registered voters. (Audio courtesy of Mr. Bobby Romero)

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In 1984, photojournalist Kim Komenich landed in the Philippines to work on what would become one of the most important stories of his career — documenting the oppressive regime of Ferdinand Marcos and the people’s revolution that toppled him. He was there when anti-Marcos protesters took to the streets in support of Corazon C. Aquino, the widow of the assassinated opposition candidate Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. And he was there on election day in 1986, when officials decided to abandon their posts rather than conspire with the Marcos regime to steal the election. Komenich won a Pulitzer Prize for his striking series of photographs, which documented the birth of democracy in the nation.

The project that would become the photobook “Revolution Revisited” began in 2010, when he started to think about those he’d photographed years earlier. What had happened to them? The book will include stories and photos of the people he reconnected with, “from the poorest of the poor to the rich and powerful,” to see how the revolution changed their lives.

Filipinos around the world will celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the 1986 “People Power” Revolution from February 22–25, and Komenich wants his book to commemorate the revolution and serve “as a testament to the resilience of the Filipino people who were willing to lay their lives on the line for their democracy.”

On February 25, 1986, a few hours after Ferdinand E. Marcos took his oath of office before Chief Justice Ramon Aquino, he and his family boarded helicopters in Malacañang Park and departed for Hawaii.

The following day, a farmer in Agoo, La Union, standing in front of the Marcos monument, reads about it in a newspaper carrying the headlines “Marcos Flees.” (Photo from People Power: An Eyewitness History)

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Corazon C. Aquino on the campaign trail for the 1986 Presidential elections: with son Benigno (TOP, taken by Teodoro Locsin, Jr. from the archives of the Philippines Free Press); and, in Bataan, daughter Kris (BOTTOM, from Cory: Profile of a President by Isabelo T. Crisostomo). Both her children are sporting ‘Cory’ shirts.

“What struck me most about the campaign was Cory’s sheer energy as she tried to cover all the provinces. Although the crony press gave her very limited space and time, the coverage of the “alternative” press was extensive enough to give readers a sense of the response Cory received in the provinces.” — Fr. Rene Ocampo, S.J., in People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986

Vultures preying on the Palace: Corazon C. Aquino’s Presidency was challenged by Marcos loyalists and militant rebel forces who staged coup attempts from 1986 to 1990 in their attempt to grab power. President Aquino, however, stood firm in the face of chaos and rebellion, and remained steadfast to the people who had swept her into power.

From the June 26, 1987 issue of the Philippines Free Press

A bird’s-eye view of the crowd that attended Cory Aquino and Salvador “Doy” Laurel’s miting de avance in Luneta Park on February 4, 1986.

Doy Laurel, in his memoirs, recalls their campaign: “in all the rallies the attendance was record-breaking. In the Miting de Avance in the Luneta, we had close to a million.”

Photo from Cory: Profile of a President by Isabelo T. Crisostomo