The Alternate Reality: A World Where the 1989 Philippine Coup Succeeded

Imagine a world where the 1989 Philippine coup d’état succeeded. The coup, led by members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) and soldiers loyal to former President Ferdinand Marcos, aimed to overthrow the government of President Corazon Aquino. However, the coup failed, and Aquino’s government remained in power. But what if it had succeeded? How would the Philippines look today? This article explores the potential outcomes and implications of a successful 1989 coup.

The Immediate Aftermath

If the coup had succeeded, the immediate aftermath would likely have been marked by violence and instability. The coup leaders, led by Colonel Gregorio Honasan, had a reputation for brutality and were unlikely to have taken power peacefully. There would likely have been a crackdown on opposition figures, with many being imprisoned or forced into exile.

Political Landscape

The political landscape of the Philippines would have been drastically altered. The coup leaders were staunchly anti-communist and would likely have implemented policies to suppress left-wing groups. This could have led to a more polarized political environment, with a strong divide between the right and left.

Economic Impact

The economic impact of a successful coup is harder to predict. The coup leaders were critical of Aquino’s economic policies, which they saw as favoring the elite. However, it’s unclear what economic policies they would have implemented in her place. It’s possible that they would have pursued more populist economic policies, which could have led to short-term gains but long-term instability.

International Relations

A successful coup would likely have had significant implications for the Philippines’ international relations. The U.S., which had supported Aquino, would likely have been hostile to a government led by the coup leaders. This could have led to a realignment of the Philippines’ international alliances, with the country potentially moving closer to countries like China and Russia.

Long-Term Implications

In the long term, a successful coup could have led to a more authoritarian Philippines. The coup leaders showed little respect for democratic norms, and it’s likely that they would have ruled with an iron fist. This could have stifled political dissent and led to a less free and open society.

However, it’s also possible that a successful coup could have sparked a backlash and led to a stronger democratic movement. The brutality of the coup leaders could have galvanized opposition and led to a stronger push for democratic reforms.

Ultimately, the question of what would have happened if the 1989 Philippine coup had succeeded is a complex one, with no easy answers. However, by exploring these potential outcomes, we can gain a better understanding of the importance of democratic institutions and the dangers of political instability.