(February 25, 1986) At least we were alive! Yes, we could have died there in Santolan. If there was even a small spark of antagonism or violence, it could have erupted to a riot, chaos, or intense fighting between the people and the army. Any iota of threat would have developed into a bloody confrontation. This dawned on me while we were on our way back to the seminary. We were exhausted for the overnight vigil. We were all half awake throughout the duration of the ride. Hungry, tired, pushed, tear gassed, hoarse, lacking in sleep, and frustrated, we hope to rest and recover so that we can come back and continue the fight.
Upon arriving in the seminary, I took my breakfast, had a quick bath, and immediately hit the sack. I dozed off for about five hours. When I woke, I could not easily remember what happened the night before. When I did, I went to the chapel to pray. I saw other seminarians in deep prayer in the chapel. In these trying times, communicating with God is the best resort. Asking God's guidance was the best thing to do in this situation. I found myself entering in serious reflection of the events that had transpired. Where was our country going? What will happen to us, seminarians, who had actively participated in the People Power? I was even worried about the Catholic Church. Will priests be still relevant in the coming days, months or years? The future was both dangerous and unsure. The future was horrifying.
The bell rang signaling lunch. We all stood and prayed the Angelus. Then we went out of the chapel and proceeded to the refectory to take our lunch. The mood was surprisingly a little upbeat. Everybody was excited to share their own experience and story. We were deployed in different places the night before. Many were interested in what happened to us who were in Libis-Santolan. They heard news about our "encounter" with the soldiers. When we were done with lunch, a short meeting was held to ask how everybody was doing. There were really not much to talk about because everybody was interested to know the developments in EDSA. A sign-up list was posted on the board to indicate one's preference of "duty" for the evening. (Seminarians and religious were assigned to take the night shift.) I decided to sign-up for Channel 4 this time. Fr. Cal Poulin drove us to the place where I took my position at the corner of Mother Ignacia Street and Quezon Avenue. Channel Four became very important because there was an effort to capture it earlier. Many people were called to protect the area from government forces.
It seemed to be a normal evening. Food, water and drinks were coming from everywhere. Sandwiches and packed dinners were available from food stations. Groups of people were arriving and were very prepared to camp the night away. Suddenly there was an uproar near the station. Word immediately reached me that the dictator and his family had flown out of Malacanang. There was jubilee from all faces. Some were shouting with joy. Many decided to march to Malacanang. People were congratulating themselves. There were exchanges of "Never again!" Meaning we would not again allow a dictator. ( But what about now? With due respect to today's generation, in our time, the present government can not get away with what it is doing now.) Since the dictator had already left, I too left my post and joined the other seminarians in front of Channel Four. When all of us were already gathered, we decided to go home and just watch the developments on television.
Happily, we rode the seminary Fierra. Upon reaching the seminary, we gathered in the TV room to watch the latest events. Malacanang was the focus of the news. Many people had entered the place. It was literally mobbed! Many expressed their anger to the dictator by destroying some furniture, pictures of the Marcos family, and other things in the Palace.
It was all over. But we knew we were just starting a new chapter in our history. Recovering from the more than a decade of Martial Rule and dictatorship will not be easy. As would be proven later, the reaction was to adopt the stance of the other extreme. The devastation was so deep that they re-emerged again later in another form. The slaves of those days became the tyrants of the following days.
The Philippine People Power became known all over the world. It was known to be a bloodless revolution. Not a fire was shot. Not a life was lost. It was a victory for the People, the true owners of the Republic. We prayed that the transition will be smooth. We prayed that what we had gain would be preserved. We prayed that the change we asked for be first made to happen in each one of us. We prayed for a lot of things. We hoped we would finally rebuild our country and effect our way to recovery. Well, we hoped too much.