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Seven year itch
By mlq3 Posted in Events Mode on January 18, 2008 104 Comments 17 min read
Conspiracy theories Previous Overstated Popularity Next

In “Closer Than Brothers: Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy” (Alfred W. McCoy) there’s a riveting section on the battle of wills and wits between Ferdinand Marcos and the rebels holed up in Camp Aguinaldo. One big problem was that Marcos was very ill, and McCoy quotes one aide who witnessed Marcos creeping from room to room, brain befuddled by disease and medicines, his situation not helped by General Fabian Ver’s seeming incapacity to undertake genuine generalship. Every time the Marcos government was poised to seize the upper hand, the Palace or the prime movers and shakers in the shaky government would issue contradictory orders, or delay, and delay, and delay…

So it’s not that Marcos was concerned with the well-being of his countrymen, but rather, he delayed too long (Fabian Ver had wanted the massacre to take place as soon as possible; Marcos said no, on TV; to this day, even some of his critics give him credit for doing so); and so, when he ordered the people gathered at Edsa massacred, the momentum had shifted to the rebels.

No one has seriously tackled what condition Joseph Ejercito Estrada was in, during the crucial days and hours his government lost the momentum and crumbled. Looking back, it happened quickly. Prior to the point Angelo Reyes convinced the military’s top brass to, as he put it, engage in mutiny, the advantage, in terms of legitimacy and brute force, lay with Estrada. Even when the defections began to gather pace, he knew, somehow, that his greatest ally was time. Up to the morning of the day he fell from power, it seemed quite possible he could counter-attack by summoning reinforcements from the provinces.

In retrospect, Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Ejercito Estrada knew what had to be done, but were incapable of summoning the iron-clad resolve to do what needed to be done; they hesitated when their enemies, normally more cautious than they, had themselves thrown caution to the winds.

Could it be that even the most self-confident leaders have an innate sense of when their time is up? Recently, Sylvia Mayuga reviewed the latest volume of memoirs by Carmen Guerrero Nakpil. Her review tackles an important question -when comes the time for those on opposite sides in a great divide, to reconcile and understand?- but let me lift, from her review, an interesting vignette. This is Nakpil, by way of Mayuga, recalling asking Madame Marcos if she’d watched the funeral of Ninoy Aquino:

I asked her whether she and the President had watched Ninoy’s funeral on TV, and she said, yes, they’d done so, together, in his bedroom. And that they’d been crushed, struck dumb by the enormity of what they were seeing on the video screen. She added that they had felt overwhelmingly humiliated because they had little inkling of the public mood, and that Marcos had said, “So, after all these years, all our efforts, our trying and striving, it has come to this?”

Ninoy did not die that day on that sunny, Sunday afternoon in August 1983, at the Manila International Airport, for that was when he began to live forever in the hearts of his countrymen. It was Ferdinand Marcos who died that day, and he knew it.

That psychic body blow for Marcos, surely it sapped his will to fight for his political life? And Estrada, who’d managed a huge crowd at the Luneta after the first protests began, who’d managed the biggest plurality since 1992, perhaps it was a psychic body blow, too, to see all those kids banging pots and pans along Katipunan…

In contrast, both Marcos’s and Estrada’s successors immediately took to heart, a political reality underlined by Marcos’s departure and that of Estrada: possession is 9/10ths of the law. Who knows if, allowed to go to the Ilocos, Marcos could have actually waged a civil war with his command bunker in Sarrat; and there is the “what if?” if Estrada, after leaving the Palace by barge, had holed up in Makati and dared those rallying at Edsa to engage in urban street fighting there, or even in the crowded streets of San Juan -or anywhere else.

Cory Aquino faced down coup attempts by holing up in the Palace’s Guest House and her Arlegui residence (who can forget Fidel Ramos’s wanting, at one point, to drop napalm on White Plains? Or to be precise, as I heard it anyway, asking the Americans to napalm White Plains); President Arroyo’s done the same. Neither were befuddled by disease or drink during those crisis times, both seemed more willing to take extreme measures. Pragmatically speaking, if self-defense is the most basic right, then everything the President’s done to defend her office has been correct.

In fact the problem seems to be that the fall of Marcos and Estrada did to people power what the same events did to the media: make the participants so cocksure that faced with what they should have expected all along, no one had the will to deal with the challenges creatively, and sensibly. Because of the blunders of beleaguered leaders, Edsa 1 and Dos succeeded when they could easily have been crushed. The media, because of the circumstances surrounding the media’s reawakening after Ninoy’s murder, has gotten used to having a privileged place in our politics that depended not so much on the law, but on the toleration and fear of those in power. Confronted by leaders with no qualms about respecting informal parameters on political behavior, the public and the media found themselves facing the full might of the state.

This point is explained thoroughly by Writer’s Block, taking a cue from Hegel::

A revolution succeeds only with an implicit acquiescence of the State, at least at its outset. If Czar Nicholas had the same tyrannical character as his predecessor Ivan III, dubbed The Terrible, not only would the Bolsheviks have not won, but liberty would be almost inexistent. And if Ramon Blanco, the Governor-General of the Philippines acted swiftly and surgically when the revolution erupted, as did his successor Camilo Polavieja, then history would have been written differently, and Bonifacio would have merely graced the list of leaders of failed rebellions.

The masses do not have power in revolutionary movements. They are oftentimes led by the middle class or even the aristocracy (who parrot the ideologies in fashion without really comprehending it). The masses rallied to the French Revolution, but it was the intellectuals, hailing primarily from the lower middle class or bourgeoisie, who led them against the aristocracy, the Church and the King. The middle class intellectuals are the ones who have both the time and the energy to divest in the ideologies of liberty and rights of men. There are but few exceptions to this, and there the revolution succeeded only because the State was significantly weak in the first place (the Chinese Revolution, in fact, could be better classified as a “civil war”).

In the case of the political class, Edsa I, the product of a unique set of circumstances, turned into a blueprint for political action. Many of those veterans tried to apply that blueprint during Edsa Dos (and even Edsa Tres, and after 2005). Except the President, or perhaps more precisely, her husband, had come up with a mutation that guaranteed success, not least because it was successfully camouflaged by the trappings of traditional People Power. She came to recognize something quite early on, a point raised by Writer’s block: revolts thrive when given the space by the powers-that-be, to grow and flourish.

A view I’ve been developing is that in a society where the transmission of culture has broken down, rhetorical appeals lose their effectivity; they cannot mobilize people or even if they do, the mobilization loses focus and the firmness of purpose that comes from a shared appreciation of the words that mobilized the people; the glue loses its stickiness, movements become unstuck. Edsa Dos was built, in large part, on nostalgia for Edsa; but since those who’d taken part in Edsa had neglected transmitting to younger generations The Road to Edsa I, younger people at Edsa Dos lacked staying power (and there’s the possibility, which of course those in question will dispute, that their attention spans are just so much shorter, for anything at all). Which is why instead of keeping at the grindstone, people at Edsa Dos have retreated to a state of disillusionment and moving on to the departure lounge (also, the changing nature of work: a gainfully-employed middle class youth in the Call Center industry cannot, even if he or she wanted to, engage in political advocacy).

I’ll put it this way: superficially, the recipe for People Power seems to be: unpopular president + explosive revelations + economic downturn + angry prelates + an appeal to past greatness, based on shared values + get enough people on the streets + officer corps defects = regime change. The last factor, the top brass, taking its cue from the presence of all the previous ingredients. But as Tiananmen Square proved, the antidote to People Power is very simple: the application of force. Ruthlessly. Actually, an earlier example would be how People Power in Romania ended up in a civil war situation. Edsa Tres gave us a taste of what such a situation would be like, and people have instinctively shrunk from that possibility ever since.

Another complication is how unprepared our society is, to recognize the Left as part of the body politic. A tacit agreement seems to have been reached with the Left, during Edsa Dos, where the Left worked more or less discreetly with the other players (for example, during the “sleepy” periods during those protest days, the Left ensured there would be people at Edsa in the morning and lunchtime). The Left thus managed to make up for missing the bus during Edsa in 1986 (much as their revisionism denies that, of course). Since 2001, however, the Left has found itself unable to really find a place for itself in legitimate politics. From 2005, in particular, while committed and disciplined, the Left had to contend with the usual problems of its dogmatism alienating other political players, and its cause proving itself less than attractive to the broader public (for many reasons: ideological, and also, their past alliances).

But you can’t have it both ways. Either the Left must be embraced as part of the body politic, or the alternative is the tactic pursued by the administration: all-out persecution or war. If liquidating the Left is wrong, then there is no half-way measure: they must be embraced as a force like any other, entitled to participate like any other. But our society seems unprepared for this, and the best it can offer is tokenism.

As for me, I think that Edsa Dos can no longer be separated from Edsa Tres, they are indivisible. A common thread in my articles on Edsa Dos and Edsa Tres was this ditty:

Gloria, Gloria labandera!
Gloria, Gloria labandera!
Gloria, Gloria labandera!
Labandera si Gloria!

Which I first heard sung minutes after the President took her oath at the Edsa Shrine; it was, of course, the theme song of Edsa Tres though oddly enough, little heard since.
My account of Edsa Dos can be found in Six years since (now, seven years since!). It’s best not to embroider recollections, so my article published soon after Edsa Dos is there, recounting my experiences, as well as the debates that ensued and my thoughts several years on. For more recent thoughts on Edsa Dos, see Half a People Power, an attempt at a synthesis.

As for Edsa Tres, there’s my piece, The May Day Rebellion, also written days after the events took place. This comment, in CJV’s blog, by Torn & Frayed, is very interesting to me, because it only shows the limitations of eyewitness accounts and experiences: we had diametrically opposite thoughts and experiences when it came to Edsa Tres.

Anyway, check out Bloggers Remember People Power 2. See also Recovery Room on Edsa, and Misteryosa and Life in Random and Color Me Bleue (who was in the march that I wrote about) on Edsa Dos. While goodbye blue monday participated in it, vicariously.

Addendum:

In Airbrushing the Left out of Edsa 2 and the body politic, Tonyo Cruz takes exception to this blog entry. I hope he’ll re-read both the entry, and what I wrote at the time: I saw what took place in Mendiola and the central role Bayan Muna played in taking the protests to the gates of the Palace.

As for the particular portion he took exception to, this is what Teddy Casino wrote (View from the Street: Different Strokes for Different Folks (in Doronila, Amando. Between Fires: Fifteen Perspectives on the Estrada Crisis. Philippines: Anvil Publishing, Inc. & Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inc., 2001), pp. 259-260:

Around 4 a.m., January 17, the first among several meetings among the major formations at EDSA was held at the Linden Suites in the Ortigas Center. Among those present were me and Carol Pagaduan-Araullo of Bayan and Estrada Resign Movement, Paul Dominguez, Sen. Alberto Romulo and retired generals Lisandro Abadia and Renato de Villa of the United Opposition, Dan Songco and Francis Pangilinan of Kompil II, Satur Ocampo, Nathaniel Santiago and Vicente Ladlad of Bayan Muna; Joey Lina and Gary Cayton of the Kangkong Brigade; and Triccie and Louie Sison of Couples for Christ.

We identified the requirements for getting as many people as possible to mass on EDSA and mapped out out immediate tasks. Bayan was tasked to bring in the warm bodies, which would come from its organized forces in the youth and student sector, and workers and urban poor communities in Metro Manila…

From an angry and worked-up throng of 30,000 on the night of January 16, the crowd at EDSA had dwindled to around 2,000 by early morning. Most of those who stayed were from the organized groups…

The first morning, the speakers included, among others, a balut vendor, a grandmother, and a seaman who had just returned from abroad. A constant irritation among the various groups at EDSA was the handling of the 24-hour program. The first two days saw Baranay RJ handling the morning program, Bayan and the ERM (Estrada Resign Movement) the afternoon program, and the Kangkong Brigade and Kompil II the evening program.

When complaints of favoritism and the dominance of politicians on the stage arose, the coordinating group decided to form a committee composed of Bayan, Kompil II and the Kangkong Brigade to handle the program. The committee tried to strike a healthy balance between sectoral leaders and politicians on the program…

By lunchtime each day, students from the various schools would start to arrive in numbers. So would members of the various labor unions, urban poor communities and other sectors… By the afternoon of January 19… crowd estimates were as high as 300,000.

As for taking exception to the term “dogmatism,” well, Q.E.D. But seriously, what Tonyo forgets is that the Left may be, to his mind, Bayan Muna and allied groups, but to others the Left includes a broader spectrum which includes the NDF and Bayan Muna but other groups, too: much as, perhaps, some do not consider other such groups part of the Left. For example, no mention of Akbayan could be construed as whitewashing. But this is an unproductive avenue to pursue (covered at length in this entry and this one over at Reds Care).

In the same essay (p.256-257), Teddy Casino recalled the difficulties due to schisms within the Left, and those groups that had allied, in turn, with non-Leftist groups:

Those in activist circles know the longstanding struggle between the “socdems” (social democrats) and the “natdems” (national democrats), which stretches as far back as the First Quarter Storm of 1970. The last time that there was any formal coordination or joint actions between the ND’s and SD’s was in the mid-90s, before the breakup of the ND bloc into the “reaffirmists” and the “rejectionists,” which the SD’s chose to ally themselves with those who had bolted from Bayan.

Near the end of his essay, Casino points to the intra-Left hard feelings that linger:

At the last minute, Msgr. Socrates Villegas appealed to the crowd not to leave EDSA… Curiously, a Sanlakas spokesperson appeared on national TV prodding the people to “preserve the gains of EDSA” by not joining the march.

In another essay in the book, “People Power 2: A Business Perspective,” Guillerno Luz recounted,

It was the relationship with Bayan and Sanlakas that proved the most unusual for the business community. Even before the crisis, I had already met with Teddy Casino, Carol Araullo, and Nathaniel Santiago of Bayan…

Certainly, Bayan broadened my perspective. Joining its rallies in Makati and Mendiola gave me a first hand appreciation of the extent of its network and its mobilization tactics, of the passion with which it pursued its vision, and its high sense discipline when massed in large numbers…

…With persistence and a little luck, we were able to organize a meeting among the TUCP, APL, LSM, Bayan, Sanlakas, Kompil, United Opposition, Copa, Kangkong Brigade, and business groups one Saturday in November. Working out between Bayan and Kompil/LSM such details as the timing of the marches… did not prove that difficult. What did was reconciling the positions of Sanlakas and the business group…

..since the idea was to demonstrate solidarity between labor and business, it was important to have all labor groups present at the Makati rally. We stressed that business would not want to appear endorsing one union at the expense of others. But Sanlakas refused to fly its flag alongside those of other unions, in particular KMU. We were told only the local or company unions could appear alongside competitor unions…

The brief points, then are: no one is airbrushing the Left out of the picture: but not everyone will agree that the Left consists solely of the NDF or Bayan Muna, or KMU, etc. Bayan Muna, for one, tried its best to be a team player, coordinating actions, programs, and conferring with other groups on logistical issues: they held the fort, including mounting the program, mid-morning to late afternoons.

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  1. thanks for the clarification renmin, much appreciated!

    brianb, thanks for the explanation on idealism vs. materialism. Will have to chew on it.

    bencard, i agree with you that associating gloria with labanderas is demeaning to the latter.

  2. posted this on my blog soon after trillanes nov. caper:

    the edsa tradition

    let’s not forget that what was remarkable, and what deserves re-creating, about edsa one was not so much the military rebellion as it was the non-violent action of the people, stopping tanks with their warm bodies and ardent prayers, which “disarmed” so to speak, and rendered non-violent too, the marcos military.

    cardinal sin “forgot” this noong edsa dos. (the arroyos didn’t care, they were always ready to shoot it out.) and juan ponce enrile, miriam defensor santiago, and tito sotto “forgot” this noong edsa tres. this is why when historian rey ileto asked me, soon after edsa dos and tres, what differences i saw between “the original EDSA and its pale reflections,” i could only agree. pale reflections, indeed. poor imitations, in fact.

    the edsa tradition would have been better re-lived by edsa dos if cardinal sin had not stopped the youth from moving the action to mendiola. noong edsa uno, day 3 pa lang, unarmed militant groups were already gathering in mendiola; coryistas marched in from edsa the next day. the mission: to scare marcos, make him think violent mobs were at the gates, on the verge of breaking in. in fact, non-violent pa rin ang strategy. some stones and bottles were thrown at the marines guarding the palace gates and barricades but not to hit or hurt, only to provoke the soldiers to shoot their guns in the air and thus freak out the marcoses.

    but during edsa dos, cardinal sin was so afraid that violence would break out, remembering only the violent entry into and looting of the palace. in fact all that violence happened only after the choppers had lifted off with the marcoses and the marines had withdrawn. and had ramos and gringo/the new armed forces bothered to send troops to the palace along with the people (it’s not as if they didn’t know marcos was leaving), the transition would have been completely orderly.

    and so, had the edsa dos crowd been allowed to march to mendiola a la edsa uno, with the mission in mind of peacefully, through sheer numbers, pressuring erap into signing an unequivocal letter of resignation drafted by the people, then that particular issue would truly be closed. instead, erap freaked out only enough to leave the seat of the presidency, but not to resign the office.

    as for edsa tres. imagine if the edsa tres “mob” had been better informed by their leaders about edsa 1986, in particular how the non-violent strategy worked to neutralize the armed forces and freak the marcoses out. imagine if the masses who marched to mendiola marched peacefully instead and surrounded malacanang in a giant sit-in, filling the streets, stopping traffic, with priests saying mass and nuns leading the praying of the rosary 24/7… the armed forces would have been helpless, gloria would have had to negotiate, the erap question could have been more quickly and more clearly resolved.

    our problem is, we’re fixated on a rebel military as the key to mobilizing people power. our problem is, we don’t see, or we forget, that by the time enrile and ramos defected in february ‘86, people power was already mobilized, it was already day 7 of cory’s civil disobedience campaign, coryistas were on non-violent revolutionary mode, the boycott of Marcos-crony businesses was peaking, and the economy was reeling from bank runs and capital flight. there was no doubt by then that cory’s strategy, to compel the business community to force marcos to step down, was succeeding. in fact it was succeeding so well, the military reformists just had to get into the act, and that’s when people power was diverted to edsa.

    in other words, change is not up to the military, change is up to us. cory showed us the way, if we would only see.

  3. stuart, this is the interesting (and, for the long term, self-defeating thing) that happened at edsa dos. it was rushed to the extent that an undebatable resolution failed to be achieved. and i agree re: edsa tres.

  4. “in other words, change is not up to the military, change is up to us. cory showed us the way, if we would only see.” – stuart-santiago

    Exactly my sentiments since day 1! This requires a civilian solution, but its getting to be so long that military known for their high threshold for pain and injustice are buckling under the strain already. For people who actually seek out the truth they know, for those hiding in isolation somewhere oblivious to the realities here,well, they just blog, eat, sleep, and blog again – a very meaningful and productive life.
    We have to make a move.

    Incidentally, regarding Filipinos kuno living abroad who like to take potshots at people here fighting for good government, they also have a favorite past time in the states – reporting TNTs for a buck! Just visit this website made by a Filipino. Shame on you!

    http://www.reportanddeport.org

  5. it was rushed bec those behind it was itching to sit in power..

    atat na atat at di makapag hintay…

    on civil war and revolutions…

    the bourgeois finances it, the intelligentsia leads it, and the masses become cannon fodder for it.

    on cory and gma both hunkering down and facing rebellion vs marcos and erap dithering on indecision to attack the masses, both women’s propensity to face down threats by force may be attributed to the fact that women leaders are all characterized by the fear of appearing weak in front of men. that they overcompensate for it thru force. marcos and erap doesn’t have the same insecurity as both women had, so they were able to afford to act softly agst the people. and as a result, they were ousted.

    erap may be accussed of all things, but you had to at least commend him for one thing: he did not order the people hurt in EDSA 2. in that respect, he is nothing like gloria.

  6. so is ruthlessness now to be admired?

    and ivan the terrible become virtuous in future leaders’ eyes?

    only if you see power as the means to and end, i think.

  7. we forget, that by the time enrile and ramos defected in february ‘86, people power was already mobilized, it was already day 7 of cory’s civil disobedience campaign – stuart-santiago

    Very true. ‘People Power’ didn’t just suddenly materialize on February 22 when Enrile and Ramos defected. Even before Cory’s civil disobedience campaign, there were lots of ‘people power’ exercises by way of protecting the votes cast during the Snap Election. During those days, i was always tuned in to Radio Veritas and i can hear the frequent calls (panawagans) for people power to guard the ballots at a particular precinct. We got so used to that term that when Cardinal Sin made that call to protect the defectors, it was almost second nature.

  8. you’re right, cvj. in fact people power started manifesting when marcos declared he would run in snap elections and chino roces launched the cory aquino for president movement (capm) and more than a million people signed a petition asking cory to run.

  9. so is ruthlessness now to be admired? – Devilsadv8

    That is ingrained in the human psyche which accounts for the periodic resurgence of fascism at various points in history. Witness those who admire Alfredo Lim (i voted for him), Mayor Duterte and Bayani Fernando. Also, remember Austero’s bargain.

  10. a portion of Randy David’s column in today’s Inquirer

    Ms Arroyo has shown us the limits of people power. We now know that as a moral force, people power will not succeed in shaming an amoral president out of office. We also now know that as a political force, people power cannot topple down a president without the consent or collaboration of the military. This realization, more than anything else, has diminished our people’s enthusiasm for mass protests. I think that what we should realize is not the futility of people power, but rather its eventual impotence if it remains unorganized and naively dependent on spontaneous sparks of moral outrage.

    To forget EDSA II is to give up the quest for accountable governance. Estrada and Ms Arroyo both want us to feel bad about EDSA II. Why? Because they are twins. The memory of our struggle against the former sustains our struggle against the latter.

    the full article can be found at inquirer.net

  11. Stuart-santiago, that’s why i think then, as it is now, people power requires practice in the small scale before we can unleash it again in a larger venue.

    Excellent column by Randy David, thanks Devils. His statement “Because they are twins“, in effect “pare-pareho lang sila“, is embedded in the kind of reasoning that i can agree with.

  12. DevilsAdvc8: i read this article too. the coincidence is, i just sent the author a copy of my “edsa tradition”. will share his response with you guys, if any.

  13. from randy david:

    “It wasn’t clear in my column, but your stress on the non-violent ethos of the original Edsa is a great point. It is indeed what makes people power powerful. Thank you!”

  14. MLQ3,

    Haha! You are a true Edsa Dos Die Hard. But I find this equivalence between Erap and Marcos amazing:

    “Even when the defections began to gather pace, he knew, somehow, that his greatest ally was time. Up to the morning of the day he fell from power, it seemed quite possible he could counter-attack by summoning reinforcements from the provinces.

    In retrospect, Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Ejercito Estrada knew what had to be done, but were incapable of summoning the iron-clad resolve to do what needed to be done.”

    Erap was nothing like Marcos in his use of “State Power”. Marcos was a megalomaniac while Erap was a dipsomaniac.

    What you ignore is that Erap never imagined the Chief Justice would abort the impeachment trial whose verdict was already shown on 16 January 2001 to be: NOT GUILTY!

    NO ONE saw that coming. In fact some people still don’t see that that was the essence of Edsa Dos!

  15. Erap should not have left Malacanang. The Legislative Branch delivering publicly the “NOT GUILTY” charge has the authority of the Constitution behind it that will require the Military to follow suit.

  16. the initial success of edsa 1 (as far as removing marcos) gave birth to proliferation of “people power”. the lowdown is that the “gaya-gaya” mentality took shape and street protest has become an industry for people too naive and willing to be used for unsavory purposes for a few pesos and some noodles. soon after edsa 1, an almost daily mini “people power” to restore marcos reign (usually consisting of a few hundred people at best), converged in any space they could manage, causing traffic disruptions and annoyance to everyone else.

    the enemies of the state saw in “people power” a clever instrument for advancing their ideological schemes. they coalesce with ordinary citizens who have some grievances against the authorities and try to seize control in the process.

    no wonder, there is a growing people power “fatigue”. the exercise is fast losing its novelty and usefulness as an instrument of change.

  17. “bencard, i agree with you that associating gloria with labandera is demeaning to the latter.”

    thanks, cvj, for agreeing with me on something i did not say. at the rate you’re going, you’d soon be agreeing with yourself. and that would be a disaster, wouldn’t it?

  18. Words for this year’s EDSA Dos anniversary from Gloria’s men:

    Eduardo Ermita – “So the least we talk about it, the better, OK?” He added he found no wisdom in commemorating Arroyo’s assumption of the presidency in 2001, considering that “not all allies are still with the President now.”

    Angelo Reyes – The gains of Edsa II, Reyes said, were diminished not by the presidential pardon for Estrada, but by the “failure of everybody to live up to its spirit.” “Who lost it? Who diminished it? Everybody did,” he said.

  19. Stuart Santiago’s take on Edsa 2 is very enlightening, also Randy David’s.

    Those readings demolish the “let’s forget it” advocacy and “gaya-gaya” analysis of Edsa. It’s the belief, or insistence, in using force (with a military component), and engineered by people lusting for power, that makes the BIG difference. That sounds like “conspiratorial” from another vantage point, judging it from the “Now it can be told” speech of Gloria, and published “admission” of her husband’s (Mike Arroyo) participation in the structure and mobilization of Edsa 2 (interview with Nick Joaquin). Try these links –

    1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh9bECSgfqk
    2) http://www.newsflash.org/2004/02/ht/ht006283.htm

  20. Aggression is rarely found in the hearts and vocabulary of the true Filipino soldiers. The few ones corrupted by smart leaders are now the pillars of governance. Marcos and Estrada were only outsmarted. The ills we now have really started at EDSA i.

  21. an excerpt frm Artemio V. Panganiban’s column

    It is good to build roads, bridges, airports and other structures that public money can buy. But the more important legacies are those that money cannot buy, like strengthening democratic institutions, promoting the rule of law, and fortifying the core values of integrity, accountability and transparency. GMA has two and a half years more before she exits in 2010. She can still leave a lasting legacy. But she should begin now. Or never.

    public works, like highways, schools, bridges crumble and turn to dust. but as Panganiban has said, it is those things money can’t buy that lasts.

    alas, billions of pesos, and our politician’s legacies are giant banners of waiting sheds and basketball courts. in Cam. Sur, Andaya even had a very large cemented letter “A” plastered on the rocks of an island in the middle of nowhere. that’s public service for you.

    the public should learn that any politician who builds waiting sheds and basketball courts are not worth reelecting. as are those who initiates projects and posts billboards with their names larger than the building itself. a simple “project of the local govt of…” should suffice, or even better, no billboards at all. signs of wastage such as this should already clue in the public as to how these public officials think of public money as privately theirs. actually, this is how I evaluate politicians (more or less). if they dabble in public works more than anything else, you can bet they’re corrupt.

  22. let me correct that. it’s Villafuerte who had a giant letter “V” plastered on an island. Andaya however had those series of waiting sheds lining quirino highway with their bases of support formed in the letter “A.”

    sorry for the mistake.

  23. When I ran for office the last time, I supported population and gender responsive legislation. I was advised to drop it because the opposition to population control is well-funded and well-organized.

    Sen. Rodolfo Biazon’s words to Pat Evangelista (quoted from Pat’s PDI column)(emphasis mine)

    that’s the church for you! growing fat and lazy, and helping to perpetuate poverty. with all that money, it could’ve gone to more worthwhile things. and no, token charity is not worthwhile. it’s a money drain. it relieves, but it does not solve.

  24. Devil, that is what i always emphasize. Personalities come and go, strong and sturdy institutions remain and if these Personalities smart enough, knowing that their just a passing dots they should build a legacy that will last, the same as the Magsaysays,the Pierre Trudeau’s, Lester Pearson, Tommy Douglas and now as we look at these people we remember both their persons and the legacies they left behind and they are still with us still intact..some in the future may forget these personalities, but their legacies will be part of their lives, they may take them for granted, but they were fought hard by those who left the mark…

    As for the Church, treat them with Carrot and Stick, or vice Versa..Give them carrots, we did, by Publicly funding their Schools, but we beat them with sticks by giving the women the Freedom of Choice by Enshrining that right in the Charter , the same as the Right to Religion and Conscience, their carrots…or carrots for all…

  25. And I can’t even remember the Parliamentarians or the Leaders who fought for these fights, but as we see their legacies last longer than the Streets, the Bridges, as they have to be refurbished and rebuild every so many years..But the once powerful Churches, both the Catholic and the Anglican can now take their proper roles in a society meant to be Free from their influences in Governance, yet needed their co-operations and they are playing their roles quite well…

  26. tonyo, my assertion is, for tactical reasons, remarkably discreet during the protest days until the split over whether to march on the palace. the central role was in the march on the palace.

  27. Correct me if i misread Manolo, but i think you mentioned in a previous blog entry that the Left was proven correct in its ‘Resign All‘ stance.

  28. but vic… Had Magsaysay left a Filipino nation a civil service and bureaucracy as robust as the three bridges — Jones Bridge, Quiapo and Santa Cruz — life will be great. These 3 bridges, they’re still there!!!!

  29. devilsadvoc8, don’t forget the mother of all “public service”, the thick-concrete face of marcos near the entrance to baguio.

  30. the “resign call” had no basis, and could have created real crisis and instability for the country. and for what – to put the losers in power?

  31. bencard, yes. tnx for pointing that out. im sure marcos had mt.rushmoore in mind. but he forgot that mt.rushmoore wasn’t commissioned by the same persons who owned those faces.

    self-aggrandizement is one sign of a megalomaniac

  32. UPn, not one single leader is capable of building a great nation in one swoop. Magsaysay (maybe a little biased here, since He is my darling niece bibs Lolo Monding) had left a Legacy of Compassion and the the Principle of More to those who have less in Life..Not live long enough to make sure they have made its roots strong and last forever, those legacies where also forgotten and eventually never taken root as we only remember the Greatness of the Person..

    Douglas left us the legacy of Universality, while Trudeau always the Libertarian, gave us the Charter (yes it was during his Tenure)and it was He who said that the Government has no Business in the Nation’s Bedroom and Pearson before becoming PM, I believe won the Nobel Prize for his Brainchild, the UN peacekeeping…Collectively those leaders who are now in the other side of life, help built a Great Nation and collectively too, built Infrastructure just as strong as their Legacies, the Burlington Sky-way, a long Bridge that opens up for Ocean Freighters docking to unload their cargoes, the Trans Canada Railway, that made BC joined the Confederation instead of the U.S.A. and many more..but they are the Tangibles, the Intangibles are the ones we cherished the MOST…

  33. Sorry,the Burlington skyway is no longer a “draw Bridge” as it was redesigned to accomodate all sizes of Ocean freighter underneath…

  34. vic, sorry to put a fly on your ointment but magsaysay (my idol as a teenager) only served for only about half his term, and died tragically in a way that created an outpouring of national emotion. by the time he died, there were already ripples on the stream with the likes of recto, tanada, etc. raising the “lap-dog” relationship issue with the u.s., not to mention continuation of venalities in the government and ubiquitous economic issues. what could have happened had he not died and was able to run for re-election? could his image been tarnished?

  35. bencard, that we would never know. As if Marcos just faded after his term, He might even be able to keep his supposedly fake war medals, instead of what he is remembered today…But Magsaysay is today remembered as a Great Person, but I’m not even sure if any one of his deeds and thoughts been Remembered during his Life…as for bibs quote, “only a Magsaysay can beat a Magsaysay”, yet don’t know if she will ever, that’s including her two bros, think of beating some of them…I meant the bad ones…they just love California…

  36. Also being a lapdog of the U.S. is always a convenient issue for those Nationalist, even if a leader is doing it for the long term interest of his Nation..

    I remember during the long negotiation of NAFTA, most Liberals making an issue of Brian Mulroney Conservative and personally Mulroney, also being Irish like Reagan was just giving all to President Reagan and to make counter the Critics, they both did the Duet of the Irish Eyes..

    Now that we are making a $50 billions trade surplus, almost on sustained basis, well, a lap-dog had done more for the interest of his country than old those pitbulls combined…anyway pitbulls are now an illegal Breed in Ontario and grandfathered. After their life span, they are goners..dangerous animals..

  37. “I’m not saying this applies to all, but the feeling of ‘being had‘ as a reason for tuning out is a little bit too convenient. If it was a ‘President’ FPJ or ‘President’ Noli de Castro who was caught red handed talking to Garci, there will have been lesser problem mobilizing the EDSA Dos crowd. Instead, what we get from otherwise decent folks are rationalizations and as a result, we’re stuck in this low intensity civil war (or its prelude).” – cvj

    Right, cvj, and the EDSA Dos crowd mostly became the “move on” crowd.

  38. UPn, HIV virus quite easy not to get infected with…but pitbulls, once they locked on their strong Jaws on children or even adults, even a full Mag of .40 S&W won’t help much, that’s the cops service cartridge on their Glocks..but knowingly spreading your HIV virus could also land you in Jail..

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