The authentic, and dominant thread in our history, is the peaceful quest for change. Heretical as it may sound, the dominating ideals have been those proposed and desired by Rizal, which even Mabini, after supporting the First Republic so fiercely, at the end of his life endorsed. The Propaganda Movement, with its evolutionary aims, its fear of the mob, its unapologetic desire for a directing class -its elitist values- was continued in the independence efforts to restore the independence lost to the United States, and thereafter to regain the freedoms lost to the Marcos dictatorship.
Revolution is romantically and emotionally more satisfying; but the paramount hero chosen by our people was against it, feared it, though he saw it is inevitable -and so he devoted his last years to preaching the message that only self-improvement and the adoption of civic virtues would work when revolution would be proven to have failed. As it did fail -in Mabini’s words (see his “La Revolucion Filipina”) because of the cronyism, selfishness, and cupidity of our leaders (then as now!). If you read Mabini’s condemnation of Aguinaldo it reads like a modern indictment of Marcos and Joseph Estrada.
But while we achieve change peacefully, we do not achieve change that lasts; chalk this down to the lack of civic virtues, the backbone of self-government that Rizal demanded and we still lack.
My personal hero is Mabini. He took off where Rizal left off. To understand the real problems with our society, you only have to read his short book on the Revolution and the First Republic. It’s all there.
I still maintain Edsa Dos was a spontaneous outpouring of resentment against official hubris. That is why the supporters of Estrada keep trying to duplicate the numbers, but fail because they lack the motive force of that popular revolt. That Edsa Dos was hijacked by politicians and the military, and sank into a quagmire of legal cases, is beside the point. Marcos only had it half-right. We have had revolutions from the center, as he proclaimed he himself was leading; but the revolutions from the center were Edsa I and Edsa II.