PEOPLE from all walks of life at Edsa 86! Yes, folks. But we have to admit, that was also the re-awakening of the burgis. The multitude at EDSA was dominated by the urbanites, middle- class, church devotees and close followers of Cardinal Sin. It was some kind of an alumni homecoming for La Salle, Assumption, St. Scholastica’s, Ateneo, Letran, Santo Tomas.
When Tita Cory took oath of office at Club Filipino, the working class and the red banner- carrying urban poor who were manning the barricade were not present. Shall we say that Cory is also an embodiment of the Filipino elite? Who is Cory Cojuanco Aquino? Daughter of landed aristocracy of Hda. Luisita fame; buena hija of old political families; grew up inside the four walls of the convent; obtained her education from USA; married to Ninoy, another member of her class.
She was gentle, religious with family-centered values. She got conservative fashion sense…yellow duster or something like that. Her major subjects are French and Math. Of course, these could not be understood by the barangay tanods and the hand-to-mouth Filipinos. Cory Aquino could only be called “Tita Cory” by people like us or by her friends or by the orange chin urbanites.
President Diosdado Macapagal, the lawyer from Lubao was “Mang Dado”; President Ramon Magsaysay, the HUKBALAHAP hunter from Iba was “Monching”; President Carlos Garcia from Bohol was “Carling”. President Elpidio Quirino was “Apo”. Cory Aquino, the colegiala from New York could not be called “Aling Cory”.
We were happy because Tita Cory did not manifest elite leadership in her government. She was not trapo. She was a source of hope for the Filipinos. She came to power without seeking it. No other president has captured the imagination and affection of Filipinos. She got the admiration of the family of nations.
President Corazon Aquino as “Tita Cory” was not good enough. After Marcos there was still the bankrupt economy, gargantuan foreign debt, dependency on external goods, corrupt bureaucracy, enormous poverty, the Leftists still waved the flag of insurgency, the Rightists were waiting like vultures, restless military in our midst… remember Gringo?... metropolis in roller coaster ride… aahh, majority of the Filipinos were irritated, impatient.
From where Tita Cory stopped, other leaders took over… the making of the “Tiger Economy” by Pres. Fidel Ramos (June 30, 1992- June 30, 1998). Ramos could be remembered by his Philippines 2000 Program, granting of amnesty to rebel, peace treaty with MNLF, campaign against organized crime, protest on China’s occupation of Mischief Reef in Spratlys.
The Ramos administration was also known for brownout, failure to save Flor Contemplacion from death sentence in Singapore, anomalous and corruption ridden transactions. So, going where?
President Joseph Estrada (June 30, 1998- January 20, 2001) highlighted his presidency by preventing the shutdown of Philippine Airlines; the first president to be impeached; and rumors of massive corruption by Transparency International. Cronyism was a fad. Erap granted political favors to venal political allies and bureaucrats.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Jan. 20, 2001- present) believes that she has stimulated the economy. Government agencies presented wow statistics. Our life is better now. Really?
Some setbacks include the claim of her critics that she is an illegitimate president because Erap did not resign; but PGMA’s presidency was upheld by the Supreme Court. So, no problem. She was heard saying that she would not run in the 2004 presidential election. She did run! Her “Hello Garci” on tape and “I’m sorry” on television are now in history books written by Christine Diaz.
May 2010 is just around the corner. Who will be the next president of the Philippines? Filipinos wake up! We need new breed of leaders whose interest is not in conflict with what we want to happen in our democracy. We are the Masters. We elect our leaders. Leaders must serve the Masters. Let us make our destiny. Let us assert our sovereignty.
There can be no tyrants if there are no slaves. Let us complete the unfinished Revolution of 1896 (1898 in Negros) and 1986 at EDSA. Let us find our own heroes in this revolution. Let us become heroes, too, by fighting hard for our rights.
Lupang hinirang… Duyan ka ng magiting… Sa mga politiko… Di ka pasisiil! Aming adhika, makita kang sakdal laya!