Rex Robles, a distinguished member of a clique of Philippine army officers who plotted a number of coups within the 1980s in opposition to two presidents, Ferdinand Marcos and his successor, Corazon Aquino, died on July 5 in Manila. He was 77.
His household mentioned the trigger was cardiac arrest.
The officers’ first plot, in opposition to Mr. Marcos in 1986, was not carried out however was a catalyst for a breakaway by army leaders that gave rise to the mass protests, often known as People Power, that drove him from workplace.
Mr. Robles and the opposite younger officers have been at the core of that breakaway, often known as Edsa, which was led by the armed forces chief of workers, Fidel Ramos, and the protection minister, Juan Ponce Enrile, for whom they served as a safety element.
Mr. Marcos was succeeded in February 1986 by Mrs. Aquino, who quickly grew to become the goal of at least six coup makes an attempt, some led by the identical group of officers. The makes an attempt continued via a lot of her six-year presidency.
Mr. Robles was detained after one of these makes an attempt, however he was launched after 9 months when expenses in opposition to him have been dropped.
Rex Robles was born on May 2, 1943, in Iloilo City on the central Philippine island of Panay. His father was a landowner and his mom was a trainer. He graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1965, joined the Navy and rose to the rank of commodore.
His survivors embody his spouse, Marilyn Robles; a daughter, Penny Robles; two sons, King and Mikael, and two grandchildren.
Mr. Robles was often known as a chief theorist and propaganda professional within the group of officers, often known as the Reform the Armed Forces Movement, or RAM, and spent appreciable vitality cultivating the press and confiding a spread of horrifying however unrealized eventualities that served to place strain on the federal government. “We will move before the year is up,” he mentioned at one level.
“Rex was RAM’s quintessential intellectual — the officer who had an explanation and theory on everything and anything,” mentioned Glenda Gloria, a journalist who’s an professional on the army and knew him nicely. “In those days, he took time to address journalists’ queries, debate with them, engage in a vigorous and passionate back and forth that would end up often in a deadlock,” Ms. Gloria mentioned.
She added: “He bridged RAM with media, and did it well. He played a critical role in ‘humanizing’ them, on one hand, and projecting them as a group that gave politics a lot of thought. A skillful psywar man who knew how to play into media’s weaknesses, i.e., hunger for exclusives, hunger for insider stuff, hunger for arguments.”
The group was made up of some of essentially the most ready and bold officers within the army. Under its charismatic chief, Col. Gregorio Honasan, it attracted a public following.
“These men are bright within their very limited world — and cocky,” a Western diplomat as soon as mentioned. “The classic profile of colonels who take over governments.”
To exhibit their patriotism and machismo, members of the group generally jogged up a significant thoroughfare late at evening carrying a Philippine flag.
“They want to obtain power,” Carolina G. Hernandez, an professional on the army and a professor of political science at the University of the Philippines, mentioned in an interview with The New York Times in 1986 as rumors swirled that the group was planning a coup. “Unless these people are mad, they will not attempt it.” But, she added, the group was pushed and laborious to foretell.
These younger officers’ sense of advantage and political entitlement as they rebelled in opposition to what they noticed because the corruption and incompetence of their superiors was a significant destabilizing think about Mrs. Aquino’s presidency.
When Mrs. Aquino died in 2009, Mr. Robles acknowledged the harm that the officers’ actions had triggered. “On hindsight,” he mentioned, “it wasn’t the best thing to do.”
“It was hard not to like Cory,” he mentioned, utilizing Mrs. Aquino’s nickname. “You couldn’t possibly hurt her. She was well mannered, and she was very sincere. She was brave in a very quiet way.”
In a column for The Philippine Daily Inquirer in 2016, Mr. Robles wrote, “Perhaps the question is not whether Edsa can happen again, but whether we can improve on what we have so far accomplished.”
A supporter of the present president, Rodrigo Duterte, Mr. Robles had for the previous two years been a member of a panel reviewing the Constitution handed in 1987 below Mrs. Aquino for attainable revisions.
In 2003, he was appointed to a panel that investigated a short-lived mutiny by junior officers who took over an residence tower, the Oakwood Premier Ayala Center, within the enterprise district in Manila.
Both their grievances — corruption and incompetence within the army — and their mutinous actions have been a sign that the sample set by Mr. Robles and his fellow officers continued.