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Wednesday, February 26, 2014
EDSA was a people’s revolution only in the sense that unarmed citizens massed and braved a dictator’s tanks and gunships. It was not a people’s revolution in the sense that they enjoyed the benefits of victory. These went to another clique among the elite that restored democracy in the very limited sense of renouncing Martial Law as an instrument of abuse of power.
Democracy in its truest sense was never restored. The same structures of domination (like two-tiered justice and economic systems) continued to serve the interests of a profligate few. After Edsa, the people went right back to being second class citizens dominated by a privileged and powerful first class few that we now know to be systematically plundering the country.
Thus, it is not surprising that Edsa has to this day been deceptively promoted by the elite as an emotional high on freedom. The truth still needs to be told about the political, economic and cultural low that it really still is for many powerless, hungry and uneducated Filipinos.
A clear lack of common decency among elected officials tells us that the dictator’s legacy of plunder and not the people’s need for an inclusive economy and a truly participative democracy is the dominant element in post-Edsa politics.
For instance, not one of the three senators, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., has had the decency to resign or at least take a leave of absence from the Senate. They mock the people with distasteful jokes on their predicament, confident they will be exonerated by a justice system they know to favor the rich and powerful like them.
Worse still, this lack of decency extends to all Senators as not one has even broached the idea of asking the three to take a leave much less to resign.
Vice-President Binay, for another instance, openly supports the three senators and sneers not only at people’s sensitivities on the issue but also those of the government he is sworn to serve. His utter lack of common decency also showed glaringly when he declared that his arrogant “hindi-mo-ba-ako-kilala” son “deserves a little respect,” meaning arrogant Junior must be allowed to disrespect small people like security guards.
It is, therefore, imperative that we put Edsa in its proper perspective in history books and narratives. Without it we face the scary prospect of being forever ruled by sneering plunderers since so far Ferdinand Marcos’s evil legacy of greed and not human decency clearly dominates post-Edsa politics.
Perhaps because of this Ms. Janet Napoles’s rumored strategy is to bide her time until 2016 when she hopes the Binay-Marcos clique will get into power. That prospect has bone-chilling implications.
People power must mass again and culminate in stopping it… or we’re goners.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 27, 2014.