n February 25, the
Philippines will celebrate the 28th anniversary of the People Power
revolution known as EDSA One. For four days in February, 1986,
Filipinos amassed on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), in front of Camps
Crame and Aguinaldo to shield Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile, General Fidel
Ramos, and their military supporters from possible assault by forces
controlled by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Between one and three
million Filipinos gathered at EDSA and successfully prevented the
Marcos-controlled tanks and armored personnel carriers from advancing
towards the two rebel-occupied camps. From Cubao in the north to Ortigas
Avenue in the south, EDSA had become a teeming mass of humanity. And in
addition to shielding the rebels, the millions who congregated on EDSA
showed the country and the world that Filipinos had had enough of Marcos and
wanted him out. This was the sign everyone was waiting for. It emboldened
the people and galvanized their opposition to his brutal and corrupt regime.
From then on it would just be a matter of days before Marcos and his cronies
would be sent packing out of the country.
The true heroes of the EDSA
People Power revolution were—the people. They were the men and women from
all walks of life who showed up at EDSA to become part of the human shield
that so effectively protected those who led the revolt.
was that selfless act of courage that brought down an illegitimate regime—a
regime that for over a decade had trampled on the human rights of the
Filipino people, while bleeding their country’s coffers dry.
The fact that it was a
bloodless revolution and no one was killed does not diminish the sacrifice
that those who showed up at EDSA were willing to make. All those who stood
courageously in front of tanks knew that at any second they could be
trampled under tons of steel. Those who stood in front of the guns and
cannons of the soldiers commanded by Gen. Fabian Ver knew that they
would be at the receiving end if Ver had given an order to fire. And although
the atmosphere was calm and at times even festive, at some level everyone
there was aware that if hostilities erupted, they might never make it home
By their collective action
during those four days in February, 1986, the Filipino people removed an
illegitimate dictator who had long overstayed his welcome and handed over to
their new president Corazon Aquino an entire country, plus all the
governmental power she needed to make things right. The fact that Aquino, in
so many ways, failed in that task has somewhat diminished the significance
of the EDSA revolution through the years. But let no one forget that the
people did their part. It was those they entrusted to make the needed
changes who unfortunately failed to deliver.
But this Tuesday, February 25,
2014, let us not dwell on the failures of our elected officials. Instead let
us remember the courage and resoluteness of the men and women who
participated in the EDSA People Power revolution. Although bloodless, it was
still a revolution that toppled a dictator and showed the world that there
were millions of Filipinos willing to sacrifice their own lives to restore
freedom and democracy in their country.
While searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 11, 2014, a Philippine Air Force plane flying over the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea sighted Chinese reclamation activity in the Mabini Reef of the Kalayaan Island Group within the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. His aerial photographs were transmitted to the Philippine government for analysis.
For those who have been following the Janet Lim-Napoles PDAF/NGO* scandal these past months, it is easy to get caught up in all the rhetoric—the words and phrases repeated day after day. Words like "ten billion" or "fifteen billion" have turned into something akin to "gray" background noise. Words devoid of any real meaning or significance. So let us try to put back some meaning into those trite and often-repeated phrases in order to better understand some of the far-reaching ramifications of Napoles' actions.
How could they not have known that the Napoles NGOs were fake?
With Senator Bong Revilla already in police custody in Camp Crame and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile set to join him any day now, people need to start asking tough questions going forward. The privilege speeches of the senators along with the histrionics that accompanied them are thankfully now over so we can all address this issue more objectively.
The Self-Perpetuating Elite of the Philippines
In an essay published in the July 1968 issue of the American magazine Foreign Affairs, a novice Philippine senator described his country as “a land in which a few are spectacularly rich while the masses remain abjectly poor. . . . a land consecrated to democracy but run by an entrenched plutocracy… a people whose ambitions run high, but whose fulfillment is low and mainly restricted to the self-perpetuating elite…a land of privilege and rank – a republic dedicated to equality but mired in an archaic system of caste.”
PHL Legislators Implicated in the Napoles PDAF Scam Face Definite Jail Time...Maybe
In the United States former four-star General and until recently Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki was forced to resign as head of the VA by the ongoing healthcare scandal that has enveloped that agency. While one can safely assume that Shinseki was not involved in the actually transgressions being investigated, the fact that he headed the agency meant he had command responsibility over its entire staff. And their wrongful acts, whether he knew about them or not, cost him his job. That is the way things work in properly functioning democracies. In the Philippines however, things tend to get a little unusual.
Why All the Fuss? We Knew They were Corrupt Anyway!
So finally the cat is out of the bag, so to speak. But we Pinoys should not be surprised at all. We all know how corrupt our country is. Even before former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was accused of electoral sabotage and the misuse of public funds in 2011; even before Joseph “Erap” Estrada—an earlier president was convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan in 2007; even before Ferdinand Marcos, a president-turned-dictator, was booted out of the country along with his family and cronies twenty-eight years ago; we Pinoys knew they were corrupt.
The Case of Denise Cornejo and Cedric Lee, a Litmus Test for Pnoy and Philippine Justice
Now that the star attraction in the alleged Vhong Navarro rape incident is in police custody, the upcoming trial will be a litmus test for the Aquino administration as well as the Courts. The almost universal perception is that Philippine justice is broken and does not work. Laws are applied inequitably with the wealthy and powerful living almost above the law, while the common "tao" finds himself at the losing end of cases that usually drag on for years.
Obama's Visit a Shot in the Arm for a Struggling Ally
After essentially showing the American Military the door in the early '90s, Filipinos have of late come to the realization that they need their "Uncle Sam" more than they thought they did. And back then the United States was also more than happy to oblige as their Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission had been closing down hundreds of military installations all across the USA.