Bucking to international pressure to legitimize his decades-long rule, a visibly ailing President Marcos called for a snap Presidential election in February 1986, ahead of its original schedule in 1987. President Marcos mobilized the KBL, with its diminished majority in the Batasan, and picked former Senator and now Assemblyman for Metro Manila Arturo Tolentino to be his running mate. The position of vice president had been officially reestablished, more than a decade after it had been abolished following the declaration of Martial Law, pursuant to a Constitutional amendment approved in a national referendum held two years prior.
Meanwhile, the opposition had two frontrunners for the presidency: former Senator Doy Laurel and Corazon C. Aquino, widow of the martyred former Senator Ninoy Aquino. Though initially reluctant, Laurel was eventually convinced that their tandem was the only way the opposition forces stood a chance against the overwhelming power of Marcos and the KBL, and decided to run as Aquino’s vice president. Both ran together under his UNIDO.
Massive poll fraud and rampant cheating marred the vote, with the Batasang Pambansa proclaiming Marcos the winner. Electoral watchdog NAMFREL (National Movement for Free Elections), however, showed Aquino in the lead with almost 70% of the votes canvassed. The opposition held an indignation rally in Luneta where the Aquino-Laurel ticket proclaimed victory. In the coming days, hundreds of thousands massed in EDSA, Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare, calling for the peaceful ouster of the dictator. Aquino and Laurel took their oaths in Club Filipino, a country club in the nearby suburb of San Juan. Rocked by key military and political defections, Marcos was inaugurated in the Ceremonial Hall of Malacañan Palace and delivered his inaugural address in Maharlika Hall (now Kalayaan Hall) before departing for exile in Hawaii. The two-decade rule of Marcos came to an end.
The Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) has published the Philippine Electoral Almanac, a handy resource on Philippine national elections from 1935 onwards.