25 February 2016, 8:15 pm – THIRTY years after the Church-backed “People Power” Revolution
that ended the Marcos dictatorship and restored democracy, opinions remain
divided over its place in history. But what did Thomasians think about the
events of February 1986?

Thomasians had heightened political awareness during the
fraudulent snap elections of 1986 that pitted Corazon Aquino against Ferdinand
Marcos, and many favored non-violent means of protest in line with the Catholic
Church’s stance.

This was the conclusion of a special monograph published by the
old UST Social Research Center (SRC) under Fr. Fausto Gomez, O.P. following the
revolt that saw Filipinos march at EDSA, the exile of Marcos, and the rise of
Aquino to the presidency.

The 1986 SRC monograph, titled the “Philippine Revolution and the
Involvement of the Church,” contained the results of a survey of Thomasians’
opinions on the post-election statement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of
the Philippines (CBCP). The landmark statement said the polls, in which Marcos
was officially proclaimed winner, were “unparalleled in the fraudulence of
their conduct.” The bishops also called for “active resistance of evil by
peaceful means — in the manner of Christ.”

The SRC surveyed 695 respondents from Pharmacy, Arts and
Letters, Science, Commerce, Nursing, and Education, as well as the Faculty of
Sacred Theology and the Sister’s Institute for Theological Formation.

Nearly one of five Thomasians surveyed said they were
particularly struck by the CBCP’s judgment on the election result. There was
“general support” for the Church’s stance and students did not believe it
violated the principle of the separation of church and state, the 1986 SRC
study found.

Twenty-two percent said that in response to the political
situation, they would be “vigilant, prepared, aware,” or they will “join
rallies” and “get involved” to “change the present situation.” Nineteen percent
said they would pray, fast, or do penance and leave everything to God.
Seventeen percent said they would join moves for civil disobedience and follow
the programs of Aquino or anti-Marcos politicians.

“The UST respondents are basically aware and are abreast with
the current political issues including the manner in which the elections was
conducted and that of the CBCP post-election statement,” the SRC monograph

“The support given by the respondents to the Bishops’ statement
was further reinforced by their disagreement that such statement is a violation
of the principle of the separation of Church and State. It can also be inferred
from the reasons given that the respondents were even expecting the Church to
lead and guide the people towards truth and justice and that it is a moral
obligation of the Church people—and as citizens of the State—to take a stand
against evil and to express their opinions,” it added. Paul Xavier
Jaehwa C. Bernardo and Monica M. Hernandez


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