The silly semantic debate of whether EDSA I was a ‘success’ or a ‘failure’

(Photo by: Joseph Vidal/ Malacañang Photo Bureau).

The seemingly inescapable reality that confronts the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution is that interest in it – and not really surprisingly, attendance in the annual commemorations – have been declining for the past years. This year, the Duterte administration had proposed that the rites be simple and quiet, a statement that was met with apprehension by a quite a few groups and personalities from the opposition.

With the waning interest and attendance, Filipinos have been starting to re-evaluate their regard for EDSA I. While for the longest time, EDSA was touted as a success of the Filipino people, a growing number of citizens seem increasingly convinced that EDSA was an abject and utter failure.

Needless to say, this does not sit well with people who still believe in the things that People Power “gave back” to the Filipino people. Journalist Ed Lingao was quoted by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR):

EDSA was not a failure. EDSA was a success. EDSA was about fresh starts, new beginnings. Booting out the old and starting afresh. The long decisions made after EDSA had nothing to do with EDSA. EDSA was a second chance. Whether we screwed up that chance or not, iba ‘yun. Katangahan na natin ‘yun. (Whether we screwed up that chance or not, that’s different. That was our foolishness.)

At first, it’s not hard to agree with Lingao, but he leaves out what I think is an important qualifier:

“Edsa was a success, but only for its time.

Without that qualifier, an important aspect of defining “success” is not taken into account:

As time changes, the standards by which success is measured change too.

EDSA is a qualified success, because it accomplished what it was meant to do back then: get rid of someone who was deemed no longer fit to govern. In today’s context, however, there is no longer any unfit ruler to get rid of, there is no longer any revolution to be fought, and the democratic institutions that it sought to bring back are already in place. It is no longer relevant today, whether EDSA was technically a “success” or a “failure”; what is relevant now is what it resulted in.

It has resulted in Filipinos being the unfortunate victims of a power grab between influential families, with both of them just really putting self-interest above the Filipino people. Out of the frying pan, into the fire, so the expression in English goes.

If you wish to argue, on the other hand, that labeling EDSA a failure gives credence to the notion that, “the Marcos years were glory days”, there’s really only one way, for me, to answer that:

Perhaps they were, but so what?

The only real discussion that should be had regarding EDSA, moving forward, is that the conditions that fostered that revolt should no longer become reality ever again. The past should stay in the past; only the lessons from it should be carried into the future.

At the risk of repeating myself one too many times, EDSA is dead; it is best that we keep it that way.


About FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

Post Author: FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

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8 Comments on "The silly semantic debate of whether EDSA I was a ‘success’ or a ‘failure’"

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salagintong bukid

forget about edsa1 revolution. it’s clear now that pilipinos were brainwashed by the yellows. to fulfill a better change hacienda luisita must be distributed right away to legitimate beneficiaries, and, find who’s pablo escobar of the philippines.

In the first place; EDSA was Fake News; then, it became a Fake History. It was spread by the Aquino Cojuangco political axis, as “pag babago”…nothing is further from the truth ! What changes we have , after the so called “EDSA”. Nothing ! The Feudalists were there. The Oligarchy continued to be in power. The Kleptocrats became truncoats, to steal more. The Traditional Politicians changed their loyalties, for political opportunism. There were massacres. More corruptions and grafts. There were: DAP, PDAF, Pork Barrel Bribery, etc… The Typhoon Yolanda Fund , disappeared, from the face of this Planet Earth. There… Read more »

Excellent article as usual FallenAngel. It’s so utterly dispiriting to see Filipinos argue endlessly about things they can’t change, ie., the past, while neglecting things they can change very easily, ie., the own behavior, today.


That’s why I am trying to told everyone that what matters after any event that happened is the aftermath. Alright, some people can tell me that EDSA I is a ‘success’ then I ask them: “What’s next?”

I can give them the song “Kumusta Na?” by Yano as my answer.


correct. edsa was a success – during its time. everyone following it, especially the aquino’s, who have been intimating that they own it, were all for themselves and their personal interests, so they merely blocked everything edsa should have stood for. talk about principles and service to country!


Creativity is easy. Originality is difficult. Relevance is a bitch.

The same tongue that tastes a cube of sugar when it is placed in a small cup of water and appreciates it is the same tongue that tells the same cube of sugar how tasteless it is when it is placed in a large volume of water.

The measure of a country’s prosperity should not be how many poor people drive cars, but how many affluent people use public transportation.

in reality EDSA 1 was engineered by the CIA cuz Marcos had outlived his usefulness. In CIA parlance it was time for a regime change in pinas. Thanks to the lamestream media the Filipinos keep deluding themselves that it was their people power that ousted Marcos. Another delusion was that Aquino was a change for the better. She actually made the country’s already dismal situation worse. She was installed by the U.S. In the proviso that she pay all of the country’s debt to banking institutions like the IMF at the expense of the well-being of its people and the… Read more »
Eterio Herrera
Edsa was a Success of Marcial Bonifacio aka Ninoy Aquino of lantarang Pangugurakot of Late Corykot Mahjong of Daylight Corrruption, they took the assetts of PNOC,PAL,PLDT and the bataan nuclear power plant to hinder the Great Progressive state of Apo lakay Marcos Masagana99 Great nation conversion of a quarter of a million pilipino peasants into land owner farmers, the main true legacy of Apo lakay true hold of his twenty two years legacy, the opposite of Madpnoy kulangkulang99 Creator of a million pilipino addicts, (approximately 4 millions), currently there are a million pilipinos who surrender to ERAD=eradication rehabilitation against drugs… Read more »