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Lucy Komisar is an investigative journalist and freelance author. Komisar was born in New York in April 1942. She graduated fourth in her high school class in 1959. She went on to major in history at Queens College, New York. As a college student, Komisar participated in the 1960s civil rights movement in Mississippi. While in Mississippi, Komisar served as editor of the Mississippi Free Press.

Returning to New York, Komisar worked as the associate editor of The Hatworker.. She then went on to a series of jobs in speechwriting, television news and commentary and freelance writing. She worked as a reporter for the Bergen Record and eventually as a commentator on WNET-TV in New York City. She continues today as a freelance writer, investigator and theater critic.

During the 1970s, Komisar continued her fight against discrimination within the women’s movement and served as vice president for the National Organization for Women.

Komisar has written about revolutions, human rights abuse, and gender relations. Her books include New Feminism, Down and Out in the USA, and Corazon Aquino: The Story of a Revolution. From 1976 to 1996, Komisar was a board member of PEN, an organization of poets, playwrights, essayists, editors, and novelists. As a member, Komisar protested the censoring, jailing, and persecution of fellow writers around the world because of the nature of their work. Since 1997, she has focused on international finance fraud, terrorism, and money-laundering. Her articles are on her website, She resides in Ne

Collection Description

The material in this collection consists of the working documents used by Ms. Komisar in her writings on the Philippines, human rights abuses in the Philippines and eventually her book, Corazon Aquino: The Story of a Revolution. The material, much of it locally produced in the Philippines, consists of background information of all types regarding the political, economic, and social situation in the Philippines in the 1980s. Much of the material documents human rights abuses, and the civil rights abuses of the 1986 Presidential “snap” election. It also includes documentation of the general economic malaise of the islands for most Filipinos suffering under an oligarchic economic and political system controlled by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and top government officials. Many of these documents pertain to the 1986 election between President Ferdinand Marcos and challenger Cory Aquino.

Constrained by a constitutional restriction of two terms, Ferdinand Marcos continued to rule the Philippines as a dictator after declaring martial law in 1972. Opposition movements strengthened over time and in 1983, opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. returned from U.S. exile to lead the fight against Marcos. He was assassinated at the airport. Both his widow and most Filipinos held Marcos responsible for the murder.

Opposition strengthened and continued in the next three years. There was both a communist and a Muslim insurgency in the Philippines and the nation was suffering from deep economic problems. In addition, there was widespread opposition to U.S. involvement in the Philippines, including military bases and support for Marcos.

Pressured by the current situation, Marcos called for a “snap” presidential election in February 1986. Cory Aquino, Benigno’s widow ran as the opposition candidate. Observer groups, media and most Filipinos viewed the election as “rigged” when Marcos was declared the winner.

This led to a widespread protest in the Philippines known as the “People Power Revolution.” Shortly after the election, two of Marcos’s firmest allies, Armed Forces Vice-Chief of Staff Fidel V. Ramos and Secretary of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile resigned and became an additional rallying point for the revolution.

President Ronald Reagan supported Marcos and the Marcos regime. Marcos was viewed by the United States as a bulwark against the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. However, faced with the massive protests, the defection of his top military leaders, the poor health of Marcos and advice from foreign policy advisors, the President decided to end U.S. support for Marcos. Marcos was informed on February 20, 1986 by Senator Paul Laxalt. He left office that day and was transported in exile to Hawaii on February 26, 1986. Corazon Aquino was then recognized as president.

The collection is divided into seven series consisting of SERIES I: Background Information on the Philippines; SERIES II: General Philippine Economic Information; SERIES III: General Philippine Political Information; SERIES IV: Philippine 1986 Election; SERIES V: Crisis and Reform Information; SERIES VI: Philippine-United State Foreign Relations; and SERIES VII: News Clippings.



This series consists of material related to general statistics, and general information about the Philippines. The series includes maps of the Philippines and the city of Manila; a booklet produced by the Mennonite Central Committee on the human rights struggle in the Philippines, the February 1986 Maryknoll journal featuring the Philippines; a general guide to life in the Philippines for new arrivals at U.S. Clark Air Base; and 1985 & 1986 IBON publications on Philippine economics and statistics. The material is arranged alphabetically by folder title.


This series consists of material related to studies of the 1980s economic situation and corporations within the Philippines. It includes recommendations and ideas, mostly socialist, for improvements in the economy. The material was, for the most part, produced by the Makati Business Club of Manila, various departments of the University of the Philippines and a group known as Agusdina. It is arranged in no discernable order.


This series consists of material related to political analysis of the situation in the Philippines prior to the 1986 presidential election. It includes a copy of the Philippine Constitution; a political platform for the Liberal Party calling for a “mixed” economy; a manifesto for the “People’s Party” and their hope to create a democratic socialism for the Philippines; Third World studies by the University of the Philippines; and two long articles on social democracy in the Philippines.

SEREIS IV: PHILIPPINE 1986 ELECTION (0.1 l.ft.; Box 2)

This series consists of material related to the “snap” 1986 presidential election in the Philippines featuring candidates Corizon Aquino and President Ferdinand Marcos. It includes speeches by Corazon Aquino , a biography of Aqunio and a financial disclosure form; a “Dollars for Philippine Democracy” program in the United States; political broadsides from other parties, particularly the Bayan Party calling for a boycott of the elections and protests after the election; broadsides and newspaper ads from various religious groups calling for a fair election and asking people to vote; announcement of the election observers and the final report on the abuses; underground newsletters on the election and a paper on the possible scenarios for any and all election results. The files are arranged in approximate chronological order


This series consists of material related to problems and reforms needed in the Philippine education system; relationship to religion; urban problems; poverty & hunger; land distribution; health industry; fishing industry; sugar workers & production; plight of the Moro peoples; women textile workers; general human rights abuses; torture and detention of citizens; and increasing militarization of Filipino society. All of the material was produced in the Philippines and although much of it is unattributed some groups responsible for its publication include the Nationalist Alliance for Justice, Freedom and Democracy, The National Federation of Sugar Workers, The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, The National Alliance for Peasants, the Philippine Peasant Movement, and many church and ecumenical groups. Much of the material includes references to United States imperialism in the Philippines and the “US-Marcos” dictatorship.


This series consists of material related to U.S. efforts to determine the true situation politically and socially within the Philippines after the assassination of Benigno Aquino. The National Security Study Directive 4-84 and several staff studies done for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were used by U.S. decision makers in Congress, the State Department and the White House. These studies helped establish new U.S. policy towards the Philippines. It also includes speeches by State Department officials and a study of the needs for maintaining United States military bases within the Philippines. Additional material created both in the Philippines and in the United States focuses on the relationship from the Filipino point of view. This material is predominantly focused on efforts to remove Ferdinand Marcos and calling for the end of continued U.S. imperialism and U.S. political intervention in the Philippines.

SERIES VII: NEWS CLIPPINGS (0.4 l.ft.; Box 4-5)

This series consists of material related to newspaper and journal accounts of the 1986 election and the life of Corazon Aquino. The material was written and produced in the United State and the Philippines. Also included is a group of articles and reports about the Armed Forces of the Philippines reform movement. The news clippings and material on President Aquino’s life are separated from the general news clippings but each group is arranged in chronological order.

Last Updated: 09/26/2020 01:28AM

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