MANILA, Philippines -- Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Deputy Armed Forces Chief Fidel Ramos, leaders of a rebellion against President Ferdinand Marcos, were two of his staunchest allies during eight years of martial law.
Under both men, a reformist movement has emerged in the past year in the Philippine's 250,000-strong armed forces. It is led mainly by junior officers disgusted with the military's poor image, graft within its ranks and Marcos' failure to retire aging generals.
Enrile, 62, has been with Marcos since his election in 1965. His campaign efforts were rewarded with an appointment as chief of the Customs Bureau and the government's insurance commission.
He rose swiftly to justice minister and was finally sworn in as defense minister Feb. 10, 1970. Like Marcos, he comes from the northern Philippines, a region that has become Marcos' recruiting ground for key political and military leaders.
An alleged assassination attempt against Enrile in 1972 was one reason Marcos used to justify the imposition of martial law that same year.
Saturday, Enrile wearing a flak jacket and flanked by security men in the Defense Ministry, announced he no longer recognizes the legitimacy of the Marcos government. He said the 1972 assassination attempt was stage-managed.
'I have been associating with the president for more than 21 years,' Enrile said. 'I've served him well over theyears. We are here to take a stand. If any one of us is killed, we must all be killed. I don't know what he (Marcos) will do. Martial law never left us, really.'
According to Enrile, Marcos ordered him to cheat Corazon Aquino of 350,000 votes in Cagayan province.
Enrile, a member of parliament representing his home province of Cagayan, played a critical role in the implementation and enforcement of martial law. He described his role Saturday as an act of contrition.
During martial law, Marcos entrusted him to carry out arrest, search and seizure orders. Many of the presidential directives were coursed through him.
Ramos, 58, an avid skydiver, rose through the ranks of the armed forces after he graduated in 1950 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
The cigar-chomping general held the posts of vice chief of staff, director general of the Integrated National Police and the chief of the Philippine Constabulary.
When a civilian commission in October 1984 recommended armed forces Chief-of-Staff Fabian Ver stand trial in the August 1983 murder of opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Ver stepped aside and Ramos temporarily took over the military's top job.
The United States, which has held Ramos in considerable esteem, urged Marcos to keep him in control, even after Ver's acquittal of involvement in the Aquino killing. Marcos refused.
Ramos repeatedly vowed to uphold the constitution during his stint as acting chief. He pledged to implement reforms in the military, boost morale and revive popular confidence in the institution he joined 39 years ago. Like Enrile, he endorsed the reformist movement.
Saturday, Ramos said he could no longer recognize the legitimacy of his commander-in-chief.
'I'm resigning from the Armed Forces of Mr. Marcos,' he said. 'But I'm making myself available to serve the Filipino people.'
'I was only responding to my own long, pent-up feeling. These feelings can no longer be kept unknown to the public.'