Corazon Aquino's pacifist crusade has struck, with no visible misgivings, an alliance with military men who have guns and are using them.

Together, they seem close to toppling President Ferdinand Marcos.

A small Air Force and Army are now in action in the name of Aquino's claim to the presidency. It is the Philippine military's first attempt at armed intervention in domestic politics.

There is no evidence that she has control over the military units supporting her. But neither has she asked them to give up and go home.

Before the military revolt against Marcos erupted late Saturday night, Aquino's drive against him had been developing slowly.

That was due in part to a reluctance to provoke the degree of confrontation that could bring him down but would risk serious violence.

Nonetheless, her followers have greeted the revolt's leaders, former defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile and former acting armed forces chief of staff Fidel Ramos, like saints.

In the past few days, Manila has seen the spectacle of ebullient ci-vilians massing outside the rebel headquarters to act as a "human barricade," all with Aquino's approval. The idea is both to encourage the soldiers and stave off any Marcos attack by assuring there would be civilian casualties.

And the casualties might not be the rabble-rousers or leftists who usually fall victim in such incidents, but some of the largely middle class citizens, many with families in tow, who have flocked to these demonstrations in response to appeals by the Roman Catholic Church, moderate opposition politicians and the military rebels of Enrile and Ramos.

The alliance appears to have succeeded in threatening Marcos while freezing out the left, a goal that both of the essentially conservative partners support.

Differences in style and character between the rebel leaders and Aquino, who appear not to have met since the revolt began, but to have conferred through intermediaries, are hard to overstate.

Enrile and Ramos now live among hardened military officers and men, many of them veterans of combat against Moslem and Communist insurgents. In the third-floor office where Enrile and Ramos are sequestered, aides strut about cradling a variety of exotic automatic weapons.

While talking of the need to avoid bloodshed, they escalated the conflict from stand-off to shooting Monday with the bold seizure of a television and radio station and a helicopter gunship raid at an air base outside Manila.

Aquino, in contrast, is a quiet women who spends much of her time with other women. She talks often of prayer and reflection. Though she has said she is willing to die for her country, she has always maintained that her own movement would never abandon nonviolence.

None of this has prevented Aquino ally Cardinal Jaime Sin, archbishop of Manila, from talking with affection of the rebels, or nuns from flocking into their headquarters to set up first aid stations and lend moral support.

Monday, activist priest Efren Dato, taking a break from a talk show at the government broadcasting center that rebel troops captured with rifle fire, was asked whether he felt that taking the station justified violence. He said there had been shooting but he didn't know that anyone had been hurt. At least three persons were wounded in the shooting and one died of a heart attack.

Francisco M. Batacan, a broadcaster at the Roman Catholic Church's Radio Veritas, was more to the point. The shooting was justified, he said, due to the acts of government people. "They were persisting in misinforming the public," he said.

Following the rebellion's outbreak, Aquino said Ramos and Enrile "have made it very clear that they are out to support the people's will and not one person."

Aquino has all but vanished from the public eye since the rebellion began, apparently due to fear of arrest by Marcos. Her brother, Jose Differences in style and character between the two groups' leaders are hard to overstate. Cojuangco, has conferred on her behalf with the two rebel military leaders in their headquarters.

Casting her lot with armed rebellion represented a fundamental shift in her strategy. But she appears to have judged it as the best route to unseating Marcos.

Aquino's people are heartened by the fact that the rebel's ranks are filled with young officers of the Philippine armed forces reformist movement who feel that Marcos and corruption are sapping the military's strength and impeding the fight against Communist insurgents. Aquino has long praised them.

Before the revolt, Ramos had been regarded by Aquino followers as a generally fair and competent military leader.

His announced promotion by Marcos to acting chief of staff after the Feb. 7 election was intended as a concession to the opposition and the United States.

Enrile, despite praise being showered on him now, was seen by many before the revolt as not much better than Marcos -- corrupt, ambitious, one of the so-called cronies around the president.

As defense minister, he had an important role in administering the martial law that Marcos imposed on the country between 1972 and 1981.

The two men's motivation remains murky. They say they acted out of disgust with Marcos and fraud in the election and do not want power for themselves. Marcos, however, asserts that their support of Aquino is only a pretext and they want a free hand to run the country themselves.

How long relations between the two military men and Aquino would remain sweet in a post-Marcos Philippines has everyone here guessing. There are some elements for conflict, but neither side would prefer the alternative: Marcos staying on.