The Dilemma of General Tadiar’s forces at EDSA
February 24, 2021
Brig. Gen. Artemio Tadiar (left) conferring with leaders of the crowd at EDSA. Taken from the book “People Power: An Eyewitness History”
Photo of Col. Braulio Balbas, from the Documentary Video “EDSA 1986: Mga Tinig ng Himagsikan”
Coverage from the Veritas Special Edition and Cecilio T. Arillo’s book Breakaway offers perspective from Col. Balbas’ situation. Balbas, it would seem, was given the kill order directly from Maj. Gen. Ramas himself at around 9:00 AM. Unsure if this was really cleared by Marcos, he looked for Commander Tadiar to inquire, but was told that he had gone to Malacañang. When Balbas finally managed to speak to Tadiar, informing him of Ramas’ orders, he was instructed to wait while Tadiar obtained confirmation. Tadiar would return with word from General Ver that Marcos had approved the order. Balbas would tell him that people had been let inside Crame already and that they would be hurting a lot of civilians. Tadiar paused, then told Balbas to hold his fire and use his discretion.
Photo of Col. Balbas’ artillery stationed to fire at Camp Crame – sourced from Breakaway.
Photo of a civilian handing over flowers to a marine at EDSA. Uploaded by Yen Catinga at My Pope Philippines.
Nonetheless, we also recognize the courage of the soldiers on the ground to refuse committing actions which would have drastically altered the course of the peaceful, non-violent demonstrations that they were sent to oppose. EDSA was a movement which dismantled more than a decade of Dictatorship responsible for many punitive human rights violations. At the time when it appeared most critical, these soldiers chose to side with and protect the people from the same kind of harm which the regime had inflicted on its victims.