The other day, Monday, February 25, the supposed history changing People Power Revolution at EDSA 33 years ago was commemorated. But unlike the commemorations of old, last Monday’s celebration at the EDSA People Power Shrine was lean and hardly reminiscent of the solemnity – and pomp, if we may call it that way – of the ones held much earlier.
The people, they who are the real elements who made the EDSA revolution succeed, were clearly deteriorating in number. The key personalities in that supposed uprising of the people who are still both living, were conspicuously absent. The usual drama of the joining of forces of then vice chief of staff Fidel V. Ramos and somersaulting then defense minister of the late President Ferdinand Marcos Juan Ponce Enrile was nowhere near its yearly reenactment.
Most of all, officials of the government, from the President down to the last of members of his official family, were not there. Instead, they were represented by their designated executives. Even the heads of the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police whose withdrawal of support to the reigning dictator when the EDSA revolution happened tilted the balance in favor of the “uprisers,” were nowhere to be found at the commemoration rites.
In all the footages shown on television coverage of the event last Monday at EDSA, it was apparent that those who were prominently present were people and politicians who were immediate beneficiaries of the revolt and those who believe the revolution could not have happened had they not bravely stood up against the dictator.
Of course there was presence of some sectors of the youth who believe that their idealism can be more overt if they’d place it on the other side of whichever administration is in place; they who think that the only good they can do to government is by picking on what they perceive or made to perceive are ills of administrations instead of helping the latter find and administer the cure.
What happened? This question had been asked commencing at the very time when the number of participants to the EDSA People’s Uprising commemoration started to dwindle in previous administrations. Even during the years of the second Aquino regime whose leader was first generation of the revolt’s most immediate beneficiary – the late President Corazon Aquino – the thinning enthusiasm was already eminent.
Again, what happened? If we may call last Monday’s commemoration as the lowest of all the lows in the history of reliving the memories of EDSA we can only think of this possibility – every past commemoration of the EDSA revolution was always made an occasion of making the divide of the Filipino people even bigger.
Every celebration was always turned by EDSA-revolt-known immediate beneficiary speakers into a venue of assailing the evils of the Marcos regime. They were unrelenting in lambasting the Marcos family and their cohorts who, they continuously claimed to have lined their pockets helping each other empty the government coffers.
But even as these EDSA uprising “hero players” were condemning the Marcos regime they failed to admit that most of them were, at one time or another, supporting players of the dictatorial reign. Using their rhetoric they succeeded in perpetuating their supposed role in the revolt by extoling the virtues of those who joined the people’s uprising and those who continue to abide by its tenets.
And look again, what happened to the immediate administrations after EDSA? Who were those who walked in the corridors of power in the newly installed government, were not most of them turncoats? Were they not the same people who had also walked with the dictator, rubbed elbows with him and benefitted from his largesse until they fell out of the strongman’s grace?
Then there were the relatives, friends and influencers of the dictator’s installed successor who did not take long to learn the trade of siphoning government resources to their own pockets as well. Military and police officers who earned their ranks after changing loyalty also came out with vengeance like they were into a gold rush site. And feeling their new influence they resort to threats of coup d’etat when their organizational and personal interests were threatened.
Yes, there were a few good men who were brought in to serve, among them the late senate president Jovito Salonga, the late executive secretary and later senator Joker Arroyo, the former senate president Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr. and former senator Rene Saguisag. But their integrity combined was no match to the avalanche of evil brought to the new government by second and third generation traditional politicians who are scions of their unworthy elders, or are themselves in-born political Frankensteins. Last Monday’s commemoration was again no different from the previous ones. Other than the thinning attendees and the overt lack of interest in government’s participation, the speeches of people mostly identified as strongly anti-Marcos now spiced up their talks with issues like the present administration reverting to the dictatorial tendencies – the very issues they said the EDSA revolution was fighting against.
It was another venue of pushing harder each side of the Filipinos’ divide to make the gap even bigger when the still staunchly anti-dictator participant speakers showed their hatred against the man by swiping at the current Malacanang tenant as one evolving dictator like the late strongman.
So impassioned were the anti-dictatorship speeches that these were able to drown the decibel of the talks of other speakers who called for an EDSA people power revolt commemoration as a unifying forum instead of a divisive one.
This continuing regressing scenario of the EDSA uprising commemoration reminds us of this all too relevant saying we came across in one article we read lately:
“The loudest cry in a wake is about words left unsaid and things left undone.”
Yes, as observed in last Monday’s People Power 33rd commemoration, many words were said over and over again, but there were those that the speakers know they’d rather not say. Moreover, there were things that the EDSA revolt gave those who were installed to the position of leadership immediately after it happened the opportunity to do. Unfortunately, they did other things beneficial to their own selfish motives instead, not the ones called for by the spirit of the people’s revolution.
So, who is to blame of the deteriorating relevance of the EDSA People Power uprising 33 years ago? Who will make the loudest cry when the relevance of the EDSA revolt will have its wake?
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