Emotions ranged from worry to euphoria at the rebels' military headquarters on the outskirts of Manila yesterday and early today.
The rapidly unfolding events in the capital and at the camp frayed soldiers' and observers' nerves inside the compound and brought outbursts of joy and disappointment from demonstrators gathered outside.
Before daybreak today, former defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile and former acting chief of staff Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos were keeping vigil in a third-floor office in the compound surrounded by heavily armed men.
Enrile, with an Uzi submachine gun draped around his neck like a piece of jewelry, introduced to the group a woman lieutenant who had just defected to the rebel ranks. On a light note, he declared, "You'll probably become the first WAC general."
Later, at about 6:15 a.m., the mood shifted to fear and anxiety as six Sikorsky helicopters of the Philippine Air Force with about 30 Air Force personnel landed inside the heavily guarded compound. The choppers, armed with rockets and 50-caliber machine guns, swept in a cloud of dust onto the parade field before rebel soldiers with guns at the ready.
The tension broke abruptly with the wave of a white cloth from one of the choppers and the realization among the waiting soldiers that the Air Force men had come to join them rather than to crush them.
Outside Camp Crame, supporters of the mutineers had spent yesterday chanting anti-Marcos slogans, praying and then cheering opposition vice presidential candidate Salvador Laurel when he arrived for consultations with Ramos and Enrile. They listened on transistor radios to conflicting reports of the power struggle.
Optimism rose again this morning as word spread -- incorrectly -- that President Ferdinand Marcos and his family had fled the country.
At about 8 a.m., Ramos and Enrile emerged from the headquarters building and delivered emotional speeches of thanks to their supporters, suggesting that Marcos was no longer president -- confirming in many people's minds the earlier reports. "We won, we won," shouted a woman on the street.
"It's over," said a young man. "Marcos has left the country already . . . finally we are free after 20 years."
Marcos' live appearance on national television to declare a state of emergency ended the euphoria not long afterward.
Yesterday, most of the activity at Camp Crame was decidedly nonmilitary. Inside, hundreds of journalists crowded around leaders of the rebellion for impromptu press conferences and lined up for telephones in offices normally used by commanders of the Philippine National Police Force.
Late in the afternoon, about 60 people celebrated mass at the camp's main gate, while soldiers toting automatic rifles and a crowd looked on. Bystanders scolded a Japanese photographer who interrupted the scriptural reading by calling to a colleague too loudly for extra film.
Priests and nuns shuttled in and out of the camp, sometimes bringing food for the soldiers and helping to run a volunteer first-aid station. Earlier, Cardinal Jaime Sin, the influential archbishop of Manila, had issued an appeal for crowds to gather at Camp Crame and the nearby Camp Aguinaldo to support and protect the rebel forces.
Crowds swarmed along the main boulevard leading to the camp, directed by trucks with loudspeakers toward locations where government troops threatened to approach the camp.
At one such truck, parked at a key intersection, John Yabut spread his crude, hand-drawn map on the hood while he plotted the movements of troops loyal to Marcos and tried to estimate where anti-Marcos demonstrators needed to gather to block their advance.
"The weak point in our defense is here," Yabut said, poking at the map with a marking pen. Shouting over the sudden blare of the truck's public address system, he explained, "We have to move a few thousand people out there to meet some Army troops with tanks."
Yabut, 29, an architect, normally devotes his spare time to an amateur theater group but he said he would continue to work on the human cordon with which the thousands of anti-Marcos Filipinos hoped to keep government troops away from the rebel camp.