On this day, July 6

arturo tolentino july 6, 1986

Today in History, July 6, in 1986, after EDSA in February, a group of military Marcos loyalists led by Arturo Tolentino occupied Manila Hotel demanding President Corazon Aquino’s resignation. Tolentino proclaimed himself “acting President” on Marcos’ behalf.

Context: In Snap Election 1986, 2 contending parties competed: Ferdinand Marcos & Arturo Tolentino (Pres & VP respectively), and Corazon Aquino & Salvador Laurel (Pres & VP respectively). COMELEC proclaimed Marcos win despite evidence of electoral fraud.

The EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986, brought about by Snap Election fraud and the subsequent millions of civilians forming barricades to protect defected military leaders Fidel V. Ramos and Juan Ponce Enrile, ousted Ferdinand Marcos from power.

At the time, Corazon C. Aquino assumed power as Philippine President, as the Marcos family fled to Hawaii. Aquino issued Proclamation No. 3, (Freedom Constitution) as a provisional constitution until a constitution is drafted & properly ratified by the People.

Just 5 months after EDSA, at 3 pm, in the usual Marcos loyalist rally in Luneta, Arturo Tolentino declares himself as Acting President, as Marcos’ VP. All of a sudden, around 300 fully-armed soldiers, all loyal to Marcos, mingled with the crowd. They began occupying Manila Hotel.

Tolentino further explains that he is only acting on Marcos’ orders. Enrile & Ramos, however, quickly reaffirmed loyalty to the government. At the time, Pres. Aquino was in Cagayan de Oro while VP Laurel was on an official visit to Spain. The resistance in the hotel would last 37 hours.

Upon seeing that the public did not support him, with the AFP having the hotel surrounded, Tolentino & rebel troops surrendered on 8 July, 3 days after. This would be the 1st of the 7 coup attempts to challenge the C. Aquino government.

While the C. Aquino admin has had clearly wrong decisions made (Mendiola incident, among others), it could be credited for assuring a peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next, in 1992–the first the Philippines had after 2 decades of Marcos dictatorship.

Photo Credit: @indiohistorian via Presidential Museum & Library 2010-2016

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