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Philippines Table of Contents


Military Factions

In 1983, the year of crisis resulting from the Benigno Aquino assassination, members of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1971 formed the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM). Notable among its leaders was the chief of Enrile's security detail, Colonel Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan. RAM first demonstrated against corruption in the armed forces in 1985, while Marcos was president. Most RAM officers, including Honasan, have not supported a political idealogy. They viewed themselves as protectors of the people against corrupt, incompetent civilians. Others espoused an agenda with a populist, or even leftist tone. By 1990 RAM was said to no longer stand for Reform the Armed Forces Movement but rather for Rebolusyonariong Alyansang Makabayan, or Revolutionary Nationalist Alliance.

The military in 1991 contained many factions based on loyalties to military and civilian patrons, military academy class ties, linguistic differences, and generational differences. One faction consisted of those still loyal to Marcos; others consisted of those loyal to Enrile or to Ramos. Discord existed between Tagalogs and Ilocanos. Graduates of the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio were at odds with reserve and noncommissioned officers. Within the Philippine Military Academy faction, loyalties ran according to year of graduation. Another faction, the Young Officers' Union (YOU), was made up of a younger group of officers, distinct from RAM. YOU leaders were well educated; some were intelligence officers who had penetrated the communist underground and might have gained some respect for communist organizing principles, revolutionary puritanism, and dedication to ideology. They studied the writings of the late Filipino nationalist Claro M. Recto, espoused a doctrine they called Philippine nationalism, and were reported to believe that a social revolution could be sparked by a military uprising. By 1991 politicized military officers began to focus less on Aquino than on her possible successors. Whatever political leaders it supported, the Philippine military in the 1990s was expected by some observers to remain fractured, factionalized, and frustrated, and civilian control was by no means guaranteed.

Data as of June 1991