“Tem” was a charismatic Philippine Marine officer who led the likes of Col. Ariel Querubin during the height of EDSA military coup in 1986. Initially, he was tasked with the defense of Malacanang Palace after Marine intelligence officers uncovered a plot by rebel soldiers led by then Lt. Col. Gregorio Honasan to storm the Palace and arrest President Ferdinand Marcos. A true soldier of the Republic, Tem remained loyal to the Constitution, his Commander-in-Chief and the chain of command. He chose to leave politics to the politicians and was a Marine above all things. As such, it came as a surprise for this Marine officer to be called to lead the assault on the two rebel-controlled camps. At that time, he was told that ten of thousands of civilians have barricaded the rebels.
As the ground commander of Philippine Marine assault force at that crucial moment, Brigadier General Artemio “Tem” Tadiar (PMA Class 59) has the firepower to crush the rebellion. However, he urged his commanders to “exercise their discretion.” One of these commanders is Philippine Marine Col. Braulio Balbas, Jr. who opted not to fire his 105mm howitzers at rebels positions inside Camp Aguinaldo. At his level, Tem was seen to be slacking in ordering his men to go on with the assault despite pressure from his military superiors and the dictator in Malacanang. His tanks and armed troop carriers were seen doing “atras-abante” against the sea of civilians, priests, nuns and members of the media. EDSA 1986 is a major cornerstone in Tem’s military career. At that time he was one of the Armed Forces of Philippines’ (AFP) youngest generals. If he was not an Officer and Gentleman, he could have followed his orders to a tee and wiped out all of rebels and civilian sympathizers. If he was a lesser man, Tem could go down in history as the “Butcher of EDSA.” EDSA Revolution, in turn could be worse than the Tianamen Square Massacre.
After his role in EDSA 1986, Tem was placed under house arrest at Fort Bonifacio and was reportedly investigated because of his loyalty to the Marcoses. Yet after several years, he was cleared of any irregularities. Later he was assigned as deputy Commander, Subic Naval Base Command and quietly retired from service in December 1992.
Brigadier General Artemio “Tem” Tadiar was perceived by many as a Marcos loyalist. Even if this is true, there is no shame in being loyal, even to a dictator. Soldiers, at all times, should be loyal to the Commander-in-Chief. At least his brand of military service is unlike that of the“military reformists” who would later attempt against the very people they have help install at EDSA.