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.
We’ve all heard the saying “justice delayed is justice denied.” That maxim has been around since time immemorial. In fact the Pirkei Avot (Hebrew for “Ethics of the Fathers”) which dates back to the 1st century B.C. mentions an old rabbi saying that goes: “the sword comes into the world, because of justice delayed and justice denied." In 1215 A.D. a clause from the Magna Carta similarly declares that “to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice."
Okay so she's George Clooney's wife, she's got great looks, a law degree and ambitious enough to make a name for herself apart from that of her superstar husband. Fair enough. So Amal Alamuddin Clooney decides to take on high profile cases of injustice around the world. Even better. But filing a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? What's up with that? Better do your homework Mrs. Clooney. It won't take long for you to realize that Arroyo is getting exactly what she deserves.
Manny Pacquiao Should Not Be Given a Tax Exemption
Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has proposed a bill to grant Manny Pacquiao a special tax exemption for the income he will earn from his May 2nd boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pimentel justifies his bill as a "fitting tribute" to the Filipino eight-division world champion adding that "Manny is now part of our history and of world sports history. Let’s give him this tax incentive in recognition to his invaluable efforts to promote boxing and the country around the world."
With Negotiators Like These on Our Team, Who Needs an Opposing Side?
What on earth happened to these two women—supposedly handpicked by the president himself to argue on behalf of the Philippine government in peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—who now seem to be mouthpieces for the Moros? Have Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the negotiating panel become mesmerized by the tough "macho" image the rebels project?
Why is the NBI Going After Those Who Uploaded the Sagonoy Video?
According to NBI Director Virgilio Mendez, they have identified the individuals who uploaded the video showing the coldblooded killing of PO2 Joseph Sagonoy. The cellphone video was purportedly taken by Muslim rebels during the Jan. 25, 2014 encounter between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group. The video shows a wounded Sagonoy who is shot twice in the head at close range.
Twice the Heroes—the SAF 44 Who Lost Lives in Mamasapano
The 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) who were brutally killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015 are heroes twice over: first, they paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country; second, they exposed for all to see, the dangers the country will face if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed.
No More Bangsamoro, Period!
With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the idea of a Bangsamoro is a bad idea. Just as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) spearheaded by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a bad idea (and declared unconstitutional in 2008 by the Supreme Court). Just as the failed Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during the 1990s was a bad idea.
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped
What happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 is a "game changer"—make no mistake about it. Reality as we saw it before this event is not the reality we see now...everything is different; everything has "changed. When the Philippine National Police's (PNP) elite team known as the Special Action Force or SAF set out to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, it had actionable intelligence that the Malaysian fugitive was hiding in the town of Mamasapano. Marwan, an expert bomb maker, is a core member of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
President Aquino Should Fly to Saudi Arabia and Pay His Last Respects to King Abdullah
Presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens; from Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Francois Hollande of France, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and many other heads of state from all corners of the globe have gone or are headed to Riyadh to pay their respects to the late King Abdullah. Even U.S. President Barack Obama cut short his state visit to India to fly to Saudi Arabia.
After the Pope's Visit: What We Filipinos Now Must Do
We put on a good show for Pope Francis. He loved it; we loved it; the world loved it. Now the long and painful task of bringing about the changes the pope asked for begins. Start with the Philippine Catholic Church. It should refocus its efforts towards the poor. As we wrote in previous editorials, many priests and bishops see themselves as members of the rich and privileged class. They feel more at home in country clubs and dining in expensive restaurants, than they do helping the poor who live in the squatter communities that dot most cities in the Philippines.