The other day I received this news from a patient whose sister was an eyewitness to the dramatic events of the toppling of the Marcos government.
The tanks slowly approached the gates of Camp Crame where two top officials of the government with several hundreds of military rebels were prepared for the siege after defecting. Filipinos, a hundred deep, barricaded the gates with their human bodies.
There was an eerie silence. One could hear the humming of the “Hail Marys,” led by the nuns who knelt in the paths of the tanks. There was an old man, bearded, with tattered clothes, leaning against his cane and heading toward the tank. The commander of the tanks yelled, “Where are you going, old man?” The old man looked at him straight in the eye and answered, “Nowhere. I live here. Don’t you?”
Soon the soldiers broke into smiles and embraced the people around them. Some people ran back to their houses and came back distributing food to all around them. It was like one big, happy, reunited family, with the sky as its roof. After several moments, people began to disperse and the soldiers said, “Don’t leave. If you do, we are forced to carry out the orders to seize the camp.” So, the people stayed on and continued to pray the rosary.
And the old man? He was nowhere to be found.
At another gate, another nun placed herself in front of another tank with outstretched arms, saying, “Look at me. I am your sister, I am your mother. I am your wife. I am also the future of the Philippines.” The hatch of the approaching tank opened and the soldiers spilled out embracing those around them.
Three days later, a dictator flees the palace after 20 years of corrupt rule, without bloodshed. Do you believe in miracles? The government is taken by a wisp of a woman, a reluctant housewife and mother, and who believes in prayers and nonviolence. Do you believe in miracles? I do.
JENNY L. BATONGMALAQUE