Glory Days

On Feb. 22, 1986, I threw a birthday party for my 5-year-old son at a McDonald's in Manila. A uniformed staffer tapped me on the shoulder to say I was wanted. Those were nervy days in the Philippines. Cell phones didn't exist; instead, through a phone behind the hamburger counter, a source warned me that something big was happening.

At dusk, I arrived at Camp Aguinaldo, a military facility on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, or EDSA, Manila's main artery. The halls and stairwells of the Defense Ministry headquarters were in sinister shadow: no one had turned on...

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