Seven things about Edsa 1986

First, The event on February 24 that led to the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos has its immediate roots in the following: (i) The assassination of Ninoy Aquino ; (ii) The majority and minority report of the Agrava Commission constituted by Marcos to investigate the assassination; (iii) The rallies following the death of Aquino; (iv) The Ted Koppel interview of Ferdinand Marcos where he declared there would be a snap election; (v) The presidential campaign and snap election; (vi) The deteriorating health of Ferdinand Marcos; and the (iv) The ambitions and plots surrounding the successors of Marcos.

Second, Cardinal Jaime Sin proved to be most savvy politician in those times. The Roman Catholic Church despite its political divisions provided a bastion for those opposing Marcos. Sin and radio Veritas were the ones who called on the people to protect Enrile, Ramos and company at Aguinaldo and Crame. Emerging from Edsa as a powerful voice Sin and his clerics wielded tremendous influence over the post Edsa government influencing the making of the constitution and the laws . Sin success was also his undoing people began to resent the meddling and influence. Cracks also began to show in the House of Sin: Scandals, corruption and the collapse of Monte de Piedad — the bank of the Philippine Roman Catholic Church. As such it was no surprise after Cardinal Sin was gone Rome decided to partition the former archdiocese of Sin.

Third, The power struggle in the Marcos and opposition camps figured heavily in Edsa and Post-Edsa political with ascendancy and self-preservation being primary motivation. An ailing and weakening Marcos was a rich environment for plots and counter-plots. One of the reasons Enrile and Ramos bolted away from Marcos was the discovery a planned coup plot. Opposing them were the forces of Gen Ver. Even in the opposition there were divisions between the Laurel faction and the Aquino faction. Not for behind were rumours that the United States were also busy looking at possible exit strategies for Marcos and looking at viable replacement.

Fourth, It would be hard to say whether the post-snap election movement would have succeeded without the failed coup and stand-off at Edsa. What is clear though is the incident at Edsa provided the Armed Forces, the Philippine Roman Catholic Church and the opposition an event to oust Marcos with the help of the Americans — who were the ones who provided Marcos the means to go on exile to Hawaiim with Cory Aquino’s blessings.

Fifth, The unity of the opposition fell apart as soon as it came to power. The Cojuangcos and Aquinos got the most powerful post in government — the ear of the president. Laurel and Enrile were swept away after broken-agreements, disagreements, coup plots and putsches leaving Ramos as the defender of the Aquino government.

Sixth, Whatever Edsa was — a putsch or a revolution — its promises slowly but surely faded away. The old elite were replaced by a mixture of old and new elite. As the years passed by a diminishing number of people went to celebrate EDSA. A number of individual also began to romanticise EDSA even attempting to place a religious tone to it.

Seventh, I wonder what EDSA: Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, — a Filipino Renaissance Man who was among other things a poet, historian, librarian, artist and philosopher — would think of the avenue named after him? At present it is a road clogged with cars and trains caused by years of neglect and corruption. The shrines and the monuments along its road are a witness to the betrayal of the promises made in 1986. Epifanio delos Santos would most likely mourn for the betrayal by the elite. Edsa 1986 should not be celebrated perhaps it should be a time of mourning and remembrance.

To borrow and paraphrase from old English political nursery rhyme

Remember remember the 25th of February
Of prayers, people power and plots
I see no reason why betrayal against the Filipinos
Should ever be forgot

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