Centrist Democracy Political Institute - Items filtered by date: March 2021
Wednesday, 31 March 2021 07:45

Velasco eyes approval of Cha-cha reso in May

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 2) — Speaker Lord Alan Jay Velasco wants the House of Representatives to approve the resolution proposing charter change in May this year.

In an interview Monday after the flag raising ceremony at the House, Velasco said he will talk about the timeline for passing Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 with its main sponsor, House Constitutional Amendments Committee chairman and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin.

"I have to talk to chairman Pido Garbin first. But actually I see finishing the charter change before the end of May," he said.

Velasco's target is two months later than Garbin's initial target of passing RBH 2 before the House goes on break on March 27.

RBH 2, which is authored by Velasco, seeks to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution to ease restrictions on foreign business ownership.

The Speaker insisted that charter change isn't dead in the water even as some senators have reservations about taking it up in the Senate. He, however, admitted he has yet to discuss RBH 2 with Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

"Nag-usap na po kami ni SP Sotto pero (I've talked to SP Sotto but) right now, we're not really discussing it yet because we still have a year to be able to tackle the whole charter amendments. So to be honest, hindi naman really siya rushed ba (it's not really rushed)," he said.

Velasco maintained charter change will be limited to the economic provisions of the Constitution.

"At the end of the day po, ang tinitingnan natin dito ay mabago po natin ang konstitusyon para mabuksan po ang ating bansa sa mga foreign investors," he said.

[Translation: At the end of the day, what we're looking here is to change our Constitution to open our country to foreign investors.]
Published in News
Wednesday, 31 March 2021 04:53

Holy Week reflections: Jesus Christ, God-Sun

Last of 2 parts

SINCE the dawn of time, one object that has dominated man is that orb in the sky. The sun’s movements were ever changing yet immutable — a conundrum that man learned to live with yet left him astounded. By being observed over the eons, the sun revealed the secrets behind the daily occurrences and phenomena that governed and gave meaning to man’s life. The sun liberates man from the dangers of the dark, giving him warmth and comfort when it appears at dawn, slaying the dark. It sustained life. Without it, plants will not grow and there would be no harvests.

At night, man started to parse the stars, tracking its movements corresponding to the vagaries of the seasons. And when the sun appears unfailingly, heralding the day, over the year, its path began to follow a recurrent cadence — the song of the universe, the rhythm of life pervading all earthly wonders and those unearthly ones too. Man personified the sun to venerate it properly. Thus, the sun became a god. The giver of life.

Since 10,000 BC the sun held the primary place among the pantheon of gods, depicted in carvings and writings, engraved in stone. It appears in the pyramids of Egypt, the stelas of Mesopotamia and the carvings in the temples and pyramids of the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica (Aztec, Inca and Maya).

The zodiac
And this god became the center of the oldest conceptual icons — the zodiac. The first people after the Egyptians to observe and track the sun’s interminable travel across the heavens from season to season; the intermittent eclipses of the moon and the ominous intrusions of comets; codifying the same were the Babylonians in 2000 BC. They mapped out the fixed stars, noted the relations with the seasons, the solstices and equinoxes and grouped them into the 12 constellations, following the 12 months of their calendar (which depicts too the 12 disciples of Horus, Mithras and Jesus). The ancients interpreted its movement through the heavens as influencing man’s affairs — determined by one of the 12 zodiac signs under which he was born. To establish intimacy, these symbols were anthropomorphized with elaborate myths woven around their movements establishing the relationship between them and man’s fortunes.

The god-sun has many names in many cultures. In Egypt he is Amun-Ra. But the more popular one worshiped over time in their mythology was Horus. He had an enemy, Seth, god of darkness; so, every morning, Horus fights Seth conquering him, and, in the evening, Seth vanquishes Horus sending him into the underworld. This is the metaphorical battle between night and day — light against dark — good versus evil.

The star rising from the East
The brightest star in the night sky is Sirius, the star in the East. Seen from the northern hemisphere, after midnight it rises from the southeast seemingly lingering in the south until dawn. In the constellation of Orion’s belt are three bright stars. At the winter solstice, marking long days and short nights, the three bright stars, called the “three kings” are perfectly aligned with Sirius. Thus, the three kings look towards the star of the East. All four stars point toward the sunrise on December 25.

Paradoxically, another phenomenon occurs from the summer to the winter solstice when the days become shorter and colder. The sun travels south and by December 22, it reaches its lowest position in the sky. For three days — December 22, 23 and 24 — the sun seemingly stops moving. During those three days, the sun resides in the vicinity of the Crux constellation. It is composed of four bright stars in the southern sky forming a cross. The ancients looked at this as the sun’s demise. But on the third day, December 25, the sun rises a degree north, foreshadowing longer days of warmth and spring continuing its travel towards the summer solstice — the sun’s rejuvenation, the anastasis.

Mythological structure
Over time, the interpretations by the ancients over these predictable behavior of heavenly bodies were incorporated into a corpus of primitive knowledge and concepts of divination explaining how things work as the machinations of “some others” greater than themselves. Thus is explained the common attributes of the gods — differentiated only by nuances among different cultures. The sun god or progeny of the sun — Horus, Mithra, Krishna, Jesus — must be born of a virgin woman as these beings are gods and should not pass through the process of impregnation through natural carnal sexual acts.

All were born on December 25 depicting the sun’s rebirth. The three bright stars aligning with the star in the East — signifies the three magi paying adoration to the “rebirth” of the god-sun or the son of god. It is easy to infer the crucifixion of these gods through the star Sirius seen around the constellation of the same name. The death of these god-suns for three days, and their resurrection, are thus the ancients’ translation of the sun emerging from the winter solstice.

The biblical Jesus
The narrative of Jesus Christ and his divinity was formalized in 325 AD in the First Council of Nicaea. After years of tumultuous religious disagreements over the centuries, particularly within the church of Alexandria, between St. Alexander with Athanasius against Arius and Arianism, the consensus of the bishops and archbishops upheld Jesus as the begotten son of the Father by his own being and therefore co-equal with God the Father for eternity.

The Nicene Creed
“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father; God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God; begotten not made, one in being with the Father.”

This was acceptable as the Christian statement of faith by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and many major Protestant churches. Another version was later simplified into the Apostle’s Creed (used with the holy rosary) in the Roman Catholic Church.

“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.”

With the promulgation of the Nicene Creed, the astro-theological literary hybrid depiction of the attributes of the gods were in effect eradicated by the collective agreement of the leaders of Christendom — thus by fiat, headed by Emperor Constantine, the Christian Roman Emperor in 325 AD, who was once a Roman pagan.

Horus, Mithra, Krishna who existed 3000 to 500 years before Christ, were relegated to the dustbin of religious history and remained just part of a constructive mythology.

Published in LML Polettiques

IN the Christian tradition, commemorating the Passion of Jesus Christ from Palm Sunday to Black Saturday is the holiest week of the year. In between, Christ presided over The Last Supper with His 12 disciples, repairing to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He was betrayed by Judas and arrested by officials from the chief priests and tried before the Sanhedrin. He was brought before Pontius Pilate, who convicted Jesus for treason. Consequently, He was forced to walk the “via dolorosa,” carrying his wooden cross toward Golgotha. There He was “crucified, died and was buried. On the third day, He rose from the dead.”

The resurrection of Christ is the linchpin of Christianity, its core belief — without it, Christian faith is meaningless, and Roman Catholicism, a farce. Thus, it is imperative that every facet of his life be examined and held to be unique as befits the Son of God.

Parallel narratives
He was born on December 25 of a virgin mother. At the time of birth, a star rose in the East, where three kings followed in adoration. Not much was known about this child’s younger years, but at age 12, he was considered a teacher. He was baptized and later did his ministry at the age of 30 assisted by 12 disciples. He performed miracles, healing the sick and walking on water and was known as the “Lamb of God, The Light, The Good Shepherd,” etc. He was crucified, was dead for three days and resurrected.

This was Horus, an Egyptian god venerated in 3000 BC. Isis, the virgin gave birth to Horus when the god Osiris impregnated her. These images in hieroglyphs also portray the annunciation and adoration of the Magi etched in stone in a temple in Luxor, an ancient city in Upper Egypt 15 centuries before Christ.

Mithra (1200 BC)
Mithra was born of a virgin on December 25 in Persia. He performed miracles and had 12 disciples. He was dead for three days and was resurrected; referred to as the “Truth, the Light,” etc. Sunday was his day of worship.

Krishna (900 BC)
A major Hindu god in India and the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu was born of a virgin, Devaki. At his birth, a star rose in the East. He performed miracles, he died, shot by an arrow and was resurrected.

Yeshua Hamashiach (Anno Domini)
A Hebrew, he was born on December 25 of a virgin, Mary, wife of Joseph in Bethlehem. At the time of his birth, a star rose in the east where three kings came to adore him. Not much was known about this child’s younger years, but at age 12, he was found at a temple sitting, listening and debating among the teachers. He was baptized and later did his ministry at the age of 30 assisted by 12 disciples. He performed miracles, healing the sick, walking on water and raising the dead Lazarus. He was known as King of Kings, Son of God, Alpha and Omega, etc. He is better known as Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

Common source of narratives
These similarities in narratives and godly attributes permeated many of the world’s culture and religion spanning 3,000 years and perhaps further back to primordial times when early man began to understand his surroundings, the dangers of darkness and the uplifting warmth and security of light. These cannot be dismissed as mere coincidences. From the time writing was invented, these depictions have been preserved, some in cuneiform and hieroglyphs; no doubt passed on from oral traditions. This suggests that there was a common source embellished over the millennia in the retelling, appearing eventually as myths, strong primordial forces to explain natural phenomenon.

Books of the Bible
Our knowledge of Jesus Christ is exclusively from the gospels. Biblical scholars have proven that the writing of the New Testament was an initiative of St. Paul (Saul of Tarsus), the head of the Pauline Church faction decades after the crucifixion, through the four canonical gospels of Mark (66-70 AD), Matthew/Luke (circa 85-90 AD) and John (90-110 AD). These writers never met Christ himself. These names were simply added in the 2nd century. What we have today in the Christian Catholic and Protestant traditions reflect Paul’s perspective after the internecine religious conflict and custodianship of the biography of Christ over the Jerusalem Church faction headed by James, the brother of Jesus (TMT, “Holy Week reflections, Part 1 and 2,” April 17 and 24, 2019).

The Bible is a compendium of selected writings by various people over a period of more than 1,000 years between 1200 BC and 1 AD. The Church included them in the canon (God-inspired, thus, theologically legitimate). But the editing continued until perhaps the late 300 AD. The debates over which books were theologically legitimate continued up to the 16th century.

The current Bible
The Roman Catholic Vulgate contains 39 books of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) while the New Testament contains 27 books. Thus, we have 66 canonical books, but hundreds more were discarded (outside of the canon) by various Church authorities and councils. But biblical scholars, experts and academics, not necessarily of the faith, regard the books of the Bible as simply the work of fables and legends by fallible men. Intriguingly, they could be works of plagiarists over the millennia copying the written work of authors writing about gods and deities of the ancients. How then to reconcile the attributes of Jesus Christ that were also the exact portrayal of deities and gods from Horus to Dionysus that preceded the Christ by 3,000 to 500 years ago.

If Jesus Christ were the point of reference, five features pervade analogous storylines: the virgin birth, December 25 birth date, a star rising in the East, dead for three days and resurrection. The simplest explanation is that these are more than 3000-year-old myths passed down through the millennia. And that these written records, including the current Bible, are simply astro-theological literary hybrid (Wikipedia); meaning these attributes are the barest and simplest explanation by the ancients of natural phenomena, day versus night, the changing of the seasons and more importantly the role of the sun in the heavens, conceptualized by the ancients into mythological structures. And these are collectively embodied in Jesus Christ as the basis of a religion followed by 2.3 billion people on earth today.

To quote Thomas Paine: “The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the sun, in which they put a man called Christ in the place of the sun and pay him the adoration originally paid to the sun.”

The belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God may be true in the sense that He in fact, like Horus, Mithra, Krishna and the others before him, are depictions of the Sun God!

Next week: Jesus Christ – God-Sun
This series of articles has drawn heavily from “Zeitgeist the Movie” (the main source) and Timeline-World history documentaries. This columnist claims no profound scholarly work except to titillate the reader to do his own research — thus, no Church imprimatur is needed . . . or the devil’s.

Published in LML Polettiques

Last of 3 parts

THIS is the last of a trilogy on EDSA 1986. Looking back, people on both sides of EDSA have interpreted its meaning over the years through the prism of their own deep-seated beliefs, values and biases. Today, the perception of the winners and losers of EDSA are as convoluted as it was in 1986. No one is neutral on EDSA save perhaps today’s millennials, whose collective ethos has no intimate bond with the realities of those days.

Nonetheless, mindful of Santayana’s dictum — those who participated at EDSA may not be allowed to forget their roles, but remember them lest they be condemned to repeat the same. But we may set on paper our memoirs of those events as lessons to be passed on to the coming generations. They may take or leave them. No matter. And they could be right as time has a way of deleting extraneous details leaving only the substance.

One interpretation of EDSA
These are my best interpretations of the events telescoped within the four-day period, a culmination of the seething anger and frustration of many of the actors that started years back. And I don’t claim this as the definitive narrative of EDSA where its supporters then proudly wore “yellow” as their color against the Marcos ‘red and blue.’

– The mantra that this was not a revolution as there was no structural change that ensued could be right. Nonetheless, the upheaval was euphoric for the Yellow forces of Corazon “Cory” Aquino, Cardinal Jaime Sin, supporters of Fidel Ramos and perhaps even those of Juan Ponce Enrile and the RAM, who tied yellow ribbons on their weapons. What should not be forgotten in this equation are those in the provinces and cities outside of Metro Manila, nongovernment organizations, civil society, students and the youth, and even those abroad who were part of the struggle and whose aspirations were congruent with those physically at EDSA. EDSA transcended the avenue, its essence becoming the driving force for this phenomenon. Thus, this is forever etched in our consciousness as the “spirit of EDSA.”

– The upheaval was an immediate consequence of Cory’s decision to bring the fight to the people on Marcos’ fraudulent declaration that he won the Feb. 7, 1986 snap election.

– The actual EDSA event started as a putsch by an elite military faction — the RAM led by Marcos’ own defense minister, Enrile — simply vying for power, with the Filipino citizenry and the Yellow forces not even part of the calculation.

– The coup plot was leaked to Gen. Fabian Ver forcing RAM to hold out at the Defense department headquarters.

– RAM and Enrile were joined by another bloc — General Ramos’ Philippine National Police (PNP). Ramos was the main rival of Ferdinand Marcos’ top uniformed and ultra-loyalist General Ver.

– The people’s anger at Marcos stealing the election propelled them to trickle to EDSA. Many of those that came first were the usisero, vendors eking out a living — a motley group of ordinary Pinoys. Cardinal Sin began to call the faithful to protect Enrile and Ramos and gather at EDSA. They heeded the call — the bulk of these were seminarians, priests and nuns, the youth joined by the hordes, including the NGO communities and civil society, the elite and organized neighborhood associations, students and their school councils sympathetic to Cory and against Marcos.

– The communists who were boasting that they speak for the masa were nowhere to be found. They sat this out on the sidelines.

– Filipinos from all walks of life made this a full-scale upheaval against a dictatorship.

– Ramos established his ascendancy when Enrile’s faction crossed EDSA Avenue to the PNP HQ and both recognized Cory as the legitimate President. Enrile and the RAM had no choice but accede reluctantly to the Yellow forces of Cory, Cardinal Sin and Ramos.

Cory Aquino, the legitimate president
The Enrile and Ramos factions rode on the seething anger of a citizenry that had long suffered under promises and abuses of what was once a competent leader, Ferdinand Marcos. A classic study on John Dalberg-Acton’s dictum, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

Marcos misreading the factions’ strength with the surrounding hordes of civilians hesitated while the factions at the cusp of being annihilated relied on Ramos’ psywar initiatives and the call of Cardinal Sin and eventually Cory’s.

Cory appeared at EDSA during the latter part of the gathering, as she was stranded in Cebu. The people, particularly the Catholic Church, carried the momentum for her, wresting the initiative from both military factions.

Cory Aquino, Cardinal Sin and General Ramos are the recognized architects of the People Power Movement.

Part 3 therefore could be a road map, a point of departure, as it were for the next generation or two to redefine EDSA’s unfulfilled promise. It could take this long to erase whatever lingering animosities are attached to the events of 1986. Taking out the old actors from the equation, filtering out their motivations that produced the hurts, grudges, including the murder of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. at the tarmac and their symbolisms could leave behind a residue of a simple but pure articulation of the Filipino dreams and aspirations acceptable to all; “…that the hopes of the majority of the EDSA participants are — to free the Filipino from the shackles of poverty, injustice and the grasp of the oligarchy and the traditional practices of politics.”

In a parallel sense, time will filter out the Marcos, Aquino, Enrile, Ramos, Sin components, including all of us, the bit players, and leave only what may have been our ultimate motivations. By this formula then, we will have internalized that 1986 was no revolution in the classic definition but an unfinished one — an upheaval of some sort awaiting a finale.

In any case, those days in 1986 were the times when the seeds of change were drastically planted now awaiting a set of new players untainted by the conflicts at EDSA, biased only towards the restructuring of Philippine institutions in the body politic; and therefore, will nurture its growth. And this growth may not be watered with blood — as it was not during the events of EDSA when all forces capable of spilling blood, including Marcos, did not.

And what could be passed on to these next generations are the possibilities, passing on the torch to a leadership that is without its socio-political warts and connotations of failed promises. Whatever lessons and recriminations the past gave them, they must be subsumed to a larger purpose; the emancipation of the Filipino — the true meaning of EDSA.

Postscript — gift to the world
Many Filipinos will not agree with the above narrative. This is fundamentally the Centrist Democratic point of view and held as a credo by the Centrist Democratic Party. Others will have their own stories to tell. And we may debate the nuances of the circumstances before, during and after the EDSA People Power revolution/upheaval. But one thing is ineradicable. The EDSA People Power Movement was a gift of the Filipino to the world.

Published in LML Polettiques
THE second part of this series on the EDSA People Power Revolution discusses the expectations of the dramatis personae in 1986 in contrast with the current years 2017 to 2021. Excerpts from my The Manila Times column of March 9, 2017 attempt to answer the conundrum posed in the first part of the series.

The original Cory Yellow army and the Catholic Church (read TMT, March 3, 2021):

“Some of us are no longer Yellows in 2017. Our perception of EDSA and our role in it runs counter to what is now being peddled, mostly by those of the recent past administration. For us, EDSA is not an Aquino family franchise, nor just a mere booting out of the Marcos family. And it is not a narrative of entitlements of two families.

“For many of us, EDSA was a decades-long seething anger against poverty, injustice and the emerging rule of the oligarchy not only in the economy but throughout the political structures. These were long exemplified by the pre-martial law Liberal and Nacionalista political parties; same faces of a political coin that held sway over the lives of the masses of Filipinos through their brand of traditional politics.

President Cory’s death
“The final capture of the color Yellow was consummated upon the serendipitous exquisitely timed demise of the EDSA icon when an opportunistic son rode on the people’s residual love and nostalgia to win power. Yellow from then on came to symbolize his own vengeful and exclusive ‘Daang Matuwid’ regime. PNoy, in his brimming arrogance, tried to exact from the people who once took part in the EDSA revolution, a certain sense of loyalty and adulation similar to that shown his mother. He failed.

“His double standards overshadowed his advocacy of transparent governance, and what we all witnessed was a man who used his power to inflict his wrath upon his political enemies. The economic policies that put the country in the international map, which in essence were inter-generational and a carryover from past administrations, were never properly attributed; in fact, his predecessor (President GMA) was incarcerated for the duration of his term in office.

Marcos loyalists 2017 to 2021
“The hundred yellow ribbons ‘round the old oak tree’ may soon be covered by red ones as Marcos supporters have slowly inched their way to political consciousness in the past few years from their solid base in the Marcos homeland in the north. This resurgence can be attributed to the tolerance and naïveté of President Fidel Ramos, a cousin, who allowed the return of the dictator’s remains under strict conditions agreed to by the Marcos family, but which they reneged on, perhaps with the quiet acquiescence of the FVR administration. This paved the way for the complete rehabilitation of the family by PRRD who has admitted to his own father’s debt of gratitude to the father, Ferdinand, and his fondness for the son, Bongbong. The son also did his part by demonstrating filial love, a trait much valued by Filipinos. On his run for the vice presidency, the Filipino millennial responded in kind. They are a powerful and versatile force that has clearly distorted the equation — partially alienating the Yellows.

The military 2017 to 2021
“Many of the major players have long been put to pasture and some tucked into the recesses of the bureaucracy. But the institution has a long collective memory, and it has left behind what could be a dangerous legacy; they were made the protector of a dictatorship and have tasted the license of shared power. And they applied that newfound prerogative a decade and a half later in a caricature of EDSA 2, that small original faction of 1986 who once broke away from the traditional mainstream culture with convoluted motivations to fight a common nemesis. EDSA will be a reminder of how their force can either be a tool for hegemony or freedom. And that the military has to be guided by strong moral principles and must equip themselves with a discerning mind to only use their force to serve the people.”

At this point, I interject the arrival of Rodrigo Duterte on the scene. A child of EDSA himself and an original Cory Yellow adherent (read TMT March 3, 2021).

DU30’s entrance 2016
“Some of these Yellows who perceived EDSA to be merely a victory over martial law forces were left disenchanted when the expected change in the status quo and the restructuring of the old order did not occur. And this too is the perception of mostly the millennials with their harsh judgment of EDSA as they have no personal connection to or collective memory of it. The disgruntled former Yellows and the millennials found a common cause in bringing about this elusive change — Ang Pagbabago! — exemplified by a maverick whose language resonated. They found their voice and a champion in DU30, our Davao mayor, whom they catapulted to the presidency running under two main campaign promises of drastic change: the elimination of the illegal drug menace and the restructuring of the government into a parliamentary-federal form.

DDS red, white and blue
“This clinched-fist symbol of defiance and rejection of the status quo is the emblem of those who populate this group who are mostly the vocal millennials — those who have barely a memory of EDSA 1986 and no experience of the circumstances, events and upheavals that led to it. Most were not even born yet at the onset of the Marcos regime and therefore have no awareness of the piquancy of the period. They were among the first to march the streets [against] EDSA during the 2017 commemoration. They could have been properly schooled on the history of the EDSA Revolution, what dictatorship feels like and how their forefathers fought it. However, the passion and flavor of conflict cannot be imparted. They may have understood the dangers of an iron-fisted leader such as Duterte, but on the other hand, the man speaks their language of defiance of the old order. And his is the only game in town!

“The millennials are a force to reckon with and they could be the game changer. They have the vigor, the ideas and technology to rally behind a certain political ideology, an advocacy, or a cause. But only when properly motivated can they begin to fulfill the promise of their generation which is congruent to the hopes of the majority of the EDSA participants – to free the Filipino from the shackles of poverty, injustice and the grasp of the oligarchy and the traditional practices of politics.

“Perhaps it needed the passing of a generation — 35 years from EDSA — for a new set of players to emerge to fulfill the important aspirations, expectations and hopes of EDSA, without being burdened by the conflicts and biases that brought about that same EDSA.

Perhaps the colors, Yellow and Red, will lose their significance and everything negative attached to them. Perhaps, the rise of a leader who was himself a product of EDSA but tried to heal its wounds is what is needed in this time and age.”


Next week: Where will we go from here?
Published in LML Polettiques
Wednesday, 03 March 2021 09:16

Who killed EDSA?

LAST week, the EDSA People Power Revolution was commemorated. Strictly not a “revolution,” having caused no systemic political structural changes, but in essence, it refers to the ardor of those four heady days in 1986 that fueled remembrances, holding the hope that someday changes would still occur.

Public reminiscences were muted. This is perfectly understandable as the intervening years produced regimes and leaders that failed its expectations, demonizing, instead, its memory. I am reprinting excerpts from my essays, blogs and Manila Times columns as I wrote them over the past 35 years.

‘I remember’ (23 years after the events, The Manila Times, February 2009):

“I was not at EDSA. There was no EDSA in Davao City. But I was part of the decades-long political struggle that eventually brought about the upheaval of those heady four days in February 1986; now known worldwide as the EDSA People Power Revolution.

“…This is a simple recounting from personal memory to answer an age-old conundrum ‘…where were you when it happened?’ Perhaps this is also a way of situating one’s role in the great episodes of the time. We hanker to be part of the momentous movements of history and even begin to presume that we may indeed have been a major participant thereof – when in fact, we simply may have taken on a minor role, bit players in an unfolding drama on the world’s stage. But it is this trifling part, when multiplied by the thousands, that makes the involvement of each of us anywhere within the stream of events singularly significant. In this way, our collective action becomes history-making. We need not have been (present physically) at EDSA ‒ we were the spirit of EDSA…

“…Our gut feeling then was that we were in a maelstrom of a life-altering political convulsion. Yet, we were in a quandary as to what we local people could do. Our immediate concern was how to protect Cory (who we thought was still flying into Davao from Cebu) from the Marcos minions).

“Somehow, an idea began to float about providing not only sanctuary to Cory in Davao, but organizing an armed resistance against the Marcos regime. Mindanao was so vast an area that it was possible to create a revolutionary government, headed by Cory. We looked upon Chito Ayala to bring this to the attention of Cory in Cebu, but by this time, she was incommunicado.”

Cory Aquino, who won the presidential election, was flying down to Davao that weekend from Cebu to campaign all over Mindanao and the other provinces in the country to protest Marcos’ election fraud. Her trip was canceled, and she sought shelter at a nunnery. In Davao, we had to abort preparations for an armed resistance as we were overtaken by the events of February 25 when the dictator fled to Hawaii.

‘I am EDSA – we are EDSA’ (31 years after the events, The Manila Times, February 2017):

“Today…31 years after, I am again putting on paper my thoughts; a little bit more appreciative and perhaps a little bit more dispassionate on the events that transpired – given the distance of years and the dissipation of emotions and passions that propelled us then to bring about this ‘revolution.’

“In 1986, President Cory never promised anything for the country except ‘…the abrogation of a dictatorship and restoration of democracy…” But the long-suffering Filipinos condemned under a systemic structural government anomaly for generations had their expectations way up beyond the capability of the ‘housewife president’ to satisfy.

“I was wrong on my expectations on the ‘restoration of democracy.’ What was restored brought with it the reestablishment of the rule of an oligarchy and the continued perpetuation of traditional politics, albeit with a new set of personalities.

“Many of us in the decades-long struggle for real democracy from the mid 1960s, adherents of parliamentary-federal structure of government, were enthusiastic in supporting Cory Aquino as she was our symbol against the repressive dictatorship. We understood too that she was from the elite, and her values, therefore, were of those of her class, but we were hopeful that she would transcend these with the outpouring of love and adulation shown by the masses – whose values were not congruent with hers.

“A few of us recruited to her administration implored her to continue to rule under the Revolutionary Constitution to give herself more time to dismantle not only the martial law structures, but the unitary system of government, which we then and still now believe perverted the principles of democratic governance. We were no match for the ruling class. Cory surrendered her prerogatives to real socioeconomic-political reforms by rejecting the people’s gift — the 1986 Revolutionary Constitution. She then proceeded to embed her dogmas in her 1987 Constitution.

“This is the Constitution, guarded zealously by her son, President PNoy, that President Duterte and we the Centrist Democratic Party (CDP), the PDP-Laban and the majority of the downtrodden Filipinos want to replace with a federal-parliamentary system and a social market economy (SOME).

“These were our expectations. But what were the expectations, then and perhaps now, of the others who participated at EDSA in February of 1986?”

The Yellows and the Catholic Church
“We were all ‘Yellows’ then, as this was the color we wore after the assassination of Ninoy, symbolizing our protest against this dastardly act; and our struggle to boot out the dictator Marcos from power and institute real reforms. The masses that congregated at EDSA were a motley crowd of Filipinos from all walks of life, from the ordinary folks and some members of the elite and some from the oligarchic families dispossessed by the Marcos cronies; members of religious groups, Islam and Christians prominently headed by Cardinal Sin and the Catholics; we all had disparate motives but wielded together by a pent-up anger against the Marcos family.

“These are the antecedents of the old alliances of 1986 under the Yellow banner. President Duterte too was a child of EDSA, a derivative of its reshuffling. In Davao, ‘Nanay Soling,’ DU30’s mother and one of our leaders in the Yellow Friday Movement, begged off from her appointment as vice mayor OIC (officer in charge) to complement our PDP Laban OIC mayor Zafiro Respicio. Instead, she proposed her son. I was then deputy minister (undersecretary) to Minister of Local Government ‘Nene’ Pimentel, and with Davao industrialist ‘Chito’ Ayala, we brought his papers to President Cory in Malacañang. She did not know the Deegong from Adam, but he was appointed nonetheless. History is replete with such twists of fate.

“Millions of us were proud to be ‘Yellows’ then. The metamorphosis of the Yellow symbolism was a slow burn towards its demise caused by conflicted interpretations of EDSA during the Cory-FVR-GMA regimes. The killing of EDSA was a process. The final perversion came about when Cory’s son vied for the presidency, exploiting her memory and destroying her legacy. Like Caesar, many stabbed him. And like Brutus, PNoy delivered the fatal blow.”

But I am getting ahead of my narrative.

Next week: EDSA then and now
Published in LML Polettiques