LAST week, there was an almost muted celebration of the so-called EDSA revolution. Let’s look back not on the gathering of the people on that kilometer stretch of the highway but what happened when Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino’s widow assumed the presidency. There was a major overhaul on the local government level, removing local officials. Many governors and mayors identified with the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL), the ruling party during the rule of President Ferdinand Marcos were booted out and replaced by anti-Marcos activists as rewards for their efforts.
That happened at the height of people’s euphoria after Marcos was forced into exile by the Americans to Hawaii. In the meantime a constitutional commission was created to dismantle the 1973 constitution and to install a Cory oriented one. The Aquino appointed OICs, ‘blessed’ by Cory magic prepared for the 1988 polls.
All over the country the Cory magic was at work. The people dazed by the mesmerizing yellow fever, and in protest against the departed regime, elected street parliamentarians to office disregarding maturity, political experience, capability and leadership potential of the anointed. In Pampanga the first tragic casualty in defeat in a congressional race was Estelito Mendoza. He was pitted against Oscar Rodriguez, an activist lawyer of the poor. Aber Canlas, an engineer fro Florida Blanca and builder of many Infrastructure projects like Folk Art Theatre, Cultural Center and others retreated from a possible showdown against Emigdio Lingad of Lubao in the second district congressional race
Swept to victory in the electoral race in the 1988 polls were Bren Z. Guiao, the late Ninoy Aquino’s public relations man as governor and running mate acidly Macapagal Salgado. Except for Fred Halili who was a dyed in the wool member of KBL, all towns were swept by those identified with the new government. Roy David in Porac, Manuel Santiago in Guagua, Javier Hizon in Mexico, Norberto Blanco in Bacolor, Paterno Guevarra in San Fernando, Oscar Tetangco in Apalit, Nelson DeLa Cruzin Arayat and Alfonso Pelayo in Candaba.
Two political giants, Francisco G. Nepomuceno and Rafael L. Lazatin came down in defeat as Antonio Abad Santos aka ‘Bubusok’ because of his fiery speeches trounced the two revered figures. The province politicians who were identified with Marcos Kilusang Bagong Lipunan fell on the wayside. Israel ‘Baby’ Eusoof of Guagua, Romy Pamintuan of Apalit and Tomas Guevarra of Mexico were forced to give up their seats as President Cory Aquino declared a revolutionary government. Even two of the most well loved and respected mayors, Benigno Espino of Arayat and Armando P. Biliwang of the capital town of San Fernando were replaced. Many of them never went back to politics, some attempted but thwarted. Few others made it and reclaimed their seats.