THIS 2022, we celebrate the 36th anniversary of the first People’s Revolution in Edsa. We will once again see personalities telling us how they participated in toppling down a dictator or they will retell what they had undergone almost four decades ago. We will be hearing or reading testimonies of how they participated in an “active nonviolent mass action in 1986. Most politicians will be using this event as a springboard for their dying campaign. Some will once again become neo-heroes of Edsa.

My mind now asks me, where has Edsa brought us? Have we learned the lessons of Edsa? Have we transcended and applied these lessons today? Or are we stuck in the past? These are questions that we must ask as we go near in the celebration of Edsa’s 40th anniversary.

I was in my senior year in high school then. I volunteered for Namfrel and was assigned as a runner. I remembered during the week of the elections I was so busy updating myself on the events. I was also out in the streets joining a protest march that would lead to the Edsa revolution. Then, when the news came that the dictator had left the country, we rejoiced and attended the early eucharistic celebration led by the Late Bishop Antonio Fortich at the plaza. However, after that day of rejoicing came the dark days ahead.

So, let us try to reminisce but let us try to move on also. The unrest in the Philippines started when Opposition icon Benigno Aquino, Jr. was assassinated upon his arrival to the Philippines from the US. When the news of the assassination broke out, we were preparing to celebrate the birthday of my cousin. I got curious about who Ninoy Aquino was. So, after the news about his death and burial, I gathered facts about Ninoy and appreciated his nationalistic deeds for the country and how he fought his good friend, McCoy. Marcos and Aquino were really good friends but politics divided them.

As I read books and newspapers, the realities unfolded. Those who spoke against the dictator or his cronies were silenced. Many were “missing-in-action,” especially during the dark years of Martial Law. However, I noted that it was the dogs of Martial Law who were doing the atrocities. Many of the members of the defunct Philippine Constabulary abused their authority. They did not know their limits. Some cronies of the dictator were also getting things in their bags at the back of the dictator, especially in the last years of his regime.

The 1986 snap elections became the stage for the People Power Revolution. Reports came in of massive cheating and vote switching. Many opposition politicians grabbed their chairs and threw them on the stage and played active roles. Soon, the military headed by Ramos and Enrile came onto the stage. The Catholic Church with the charismatic Jaime cardinal Sin and other bishops entered and theologized the events and called for the voice of God from the people. And then came the finale. Thus, the Edsa People Revolution was born. The Philippines was again shining for a moment. Edsa was a show of faith, courage, and nationalism.

However, after a few months, we came back to our old ways. Those who had political interests made it to the doors of government. Others saw this as an opportunity for a good business enterprise. While still others advanced their interests. But, worse, people were changed but habits continued. The so-called “champions of democracy” were soon eaten by the corrupt system and the spirit of Edsa disappeared into thin air.