Hall of shame:
Philippine street "revolutions"

The scorecard so far

04 March 2008


Street "revolutions" have become a perverse sort of democratic institution in Philippine society. Philippine-style "people power" is a product of a misguided interpretation of the concept of the people's mandate, so simplified as to (a) readily appeal to the vacuous mind, and (b) be wielded by disenfranchised politicians as a low-cost tool for furthering their personal agendas.

Edsa "revolution" Feb 1986

Number of people involved: Millions
Outcome: Ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Legacy: Philippine Constitution of 1986
Rallying cry: "Tama na. Sobra na. Palitan na."

Edsa "revolution" Jan 2001

Number of people involved: 1 to 1.2 million
Outcome: Ouster of drunken, philandering, and (now) convicted plunderer Joseph 'Erap' Estrada. [details]
Legacy: Set a precedent for shortcut administration change after failed impeachment attempts.
Rallying cry: "Erap resign."

Commonwealth Avenue "revolution" Sep 2005

Number of people involved: 5,000 to 10,000
Outcome: No outcome. Fizzled out spectacularly. [details]
Legacy: Severely eroded profile of 'people power'. Relegated Cory Aquino to 'traditional politician' status
Moronic catch-phrase: "Patalsikin na. Now na."

Ayala Avenue "Interfaith Rally" 2008

Number of people involved: 10,000 to 20,000
Outcome: No outcome. Subsequently muted reaction.
Legacy: Image of Cory Aquino sitting side-by-side with convicted plunderer Joseph Estrada
Moronic catch-phrase: "Unity walk"

Street "revolutions" are a pathetically poor substitute to due process. They leave no document trail, derive legitimacy from no more than appeal to emotion, and have no clear resolution. Their outcomes will always be debatable and negotiable.

This activity has become an addiction and the cycle of its invocation has shortened steadily -- 15 years from 1986 to 2001, four years from 2001 to 2005, and three years from 2005 to 2008.

Check out our relevant video:
A message to Cory Aquino

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