Fidel Ramos, the former Philippine president who was head of the national police under Ferdinand Marcos before defecting and joining the “People Power” protests that ousted the dictator in 1986, died at 94 on Sunday (July 31).
Popularly known as FVR, Ramos served as defence chief in the first post-dictatorship government led by Corazon Aquino, widow of the slain Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., a prominent Marcos critic.
He won the presidency himself in 1992, the first election under the current constitution, and was credited with steering the economy into a period of rapid growth until the 1997 financial crisis hit South-east Asia.
A career military officer, Ramos gained prominence in 1986 when he and then-Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile broke from Marcos, whom they accused of rigging elections that year to stay in power.
Ramos said he defected because the dictator had prioritised personal interest and was no longer a capable commander-in-chief. They holed up in police headquarters in the capital, expecting an attack from pro-Marcos forces.
However, members of the public heeded a call from a Roman Catholic cardinal to gather around the building, forming a human barricade that protected Ramos, Enrile and their troops. This started the People Power Revolution that eventually ousted Marcos.
In honoring him in 2000, the alumni group of the US Military Academy at West Point cited his “paramount role in returning democracy to the Philippines”, for which he was named a military hero of the revolution.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES