History, part 12
Return of Democracy (1987 to present year)
In a bid to fully restore the democratic form of government, President Corazon
Aquino appointed 48 members of the constitutional convention that drafted a new
constitution restoring the presidential form of government and abolishing the
Batasang Pambansa. The 1987 Constitution replaced the 1973 Constitution
which was amended twice in 1981 and 1984.
The Reform the AFP Movement (RAM) led by Gregorio Honasan, one of the
leaders of the EDSA revolution, staged a military coup against the newly-installed
Aquino government on August 28, 1987. The rebel troops attacked both Camp
Aguinaldo and Camp Crame but were repelled by government forces. There were
other unsuccessful attempts of military coups led by the RAM, the Nationalist Army
of the Philippines (NAP), and an attempt by the combined forces of RAM and NAP.
MV Doña Paz, a maritime vessel owned by Sulpicio Lines, sank after colliding with
a small oil tanker named Vector, on December 20, 1987. The local inter-island
passenger ferry was travelling to Manila from Catbalogan, Samar. Vector, with
more than 8,000 barrels of oil, burst into flames and the fire spread rapidly into
Doña Paz. Officially it was reported that 1,565 persons perished from the disaster
but it is believed the death toll was much higher due to reports that the ferry was
overloaded with passengers. It was the worst passenger ferry disaster in the
world, and the worst maritime disaster in recent post-war history.
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake, one of the most powerful and devastating natural
calamities to hit the country, caused widespread catastrophic damage in Luzon,
especially in the central and Cordillera regions, on July 16, 1990. An estimated
1,600 people died from the massive earthquake .
The second-largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century, and the largest eruption
to affect a heavily populated area, occurred at Mount Pinatubo on June 15, 1991.
The eruption produced high-speed avalanches of hot ash and gas, giant mud
flows called lahars, and clouds of volcanic ash spread hundreds of miles across.
President Fidel V. Ramos and Vice President Joseph E. Estrada were elected into
office during the presidential election on May 11, 1992. They were sworn into office
by Supreme Court Chief Justice Andres Narvasa at the Luneta Grandstand in
June 30, 1992. It was the first democratic election since the EDSA revolution - it
was open, fair, and peaceful. Ramos was the first Protestant to become president.
The administration of President Ramos was competent and solid. It was marked
by greater stability and economic progress. Although his administration was
viewed positively, Ramos resisted the encouragement of some loyalists for him to
initiate a constitutional amendment that would have allowed him to run for another
term. He believed that the constitution is a very fundamental law to be subjected to
The United States closed its last military bases in the country. The volcanic
eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, and the damage it created, hastened the
closure of the military bases.
President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, best known by his screen name Erap, was
elected into office in the May 11, 1998 election. It was the second democratic
election since the EDSA revolution. He took his oath as the 13th President of the
Philippines at Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan, on June 30, 1998.
Filipinos worldwide joined in the celebration of a century of independence. It had
been 100 years since General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed on June 12, 1896 in
Kawit, Cavite the country's independence from foreign power.
End of the 20th Century and the arrival of the new millennium. President Joseph
Estrada enjoined the nation "to pray for global peace and brotherhood" in light of
the challenges of the 21st Century.
People breathed a collective sign of relief when computer systems through-out
the world did not malfunction, as feared, due to the possible glitch that many
computer software might be unable to distinguish the years 1900 and 2000
because they were programmed to read only the last two digits ending in 00.
President Joseph Ejercio Estrada's impeachment trial on corruption charges
broke down in January. Massive street protests, cabinet resignations, and
withdrawal of support from the Armed Forces leadership, in what was called
EDSA Dos, or People's Power II, forced Estrada to resign as President. He was
succeeded immediately by his Vice-President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as acting
President. She is the daughter of the late President Diosdado Macapagal.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was elected in the May 2004 election to her own six-year
term as President. Her election was marred by controversy sparked by the so-
called Garci tape containing alleged wiretapped conversation of an apparent
attempt to influence the election. Attempts to impeach her in Congress failed.
Allegations of government corruptions threatens the political stability of her
administration, while the world-wide rapid increase in the prices of prime
commodities, like food and petroleum products, threatens the economic stability
of the country.
Manny Pacquiao made history by becoming the first Filipino, and first Asian, to
hold four concurrent world boxing championship belts, in four different boxing
weight divisions, by defeating Mexican David Diaz at the Mandalay Bay Resort and
Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 28, 2008.