Since Edsa 1986: 25 years of walking the walk of shame with a bad hangover


I went to “Edsa” in 1986 to kibitz, make tusok-tusok da fishball and watch girls. Ok, so I also wanted to “contribute” to removing then President Ferdinand E. Marcos from Malacanang who, after all inconvenienced me no end with his banning of Voltes 5 and other Japanese robot cartoons back in the 70’s. He also banned video arcade games (Pacman, Space Invaders, and Missle Command and all which I used to play at Shakey’s and Ali Mall), and made sudden interruptions of afternoon Superman and Sesame Street shows with his habitual all-channel simulcast speeches and propaganda videos. Marcos also made importing American and Swiss chocolates, Playboy magazines, and apples and grapes a pain-in-the-ass. These and other imported goods were all prohibitively expensive and available only in “PX-Goods” shops, notably in Pampanga and Zambales where Uncle Sam’s presence was most palpable. That pretty much summarises my personal stake in Marcos’s removal from power.

But according to the Editor, the 1986 “People Power” EDSA “revolution” is an “unfinished revolution” because “it has not achieved its long-term aims, which were principally to bring about good governance and stamp out corruption”.

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The year 1986 was a long time ago — 25 years ago last February 25 to be exact. But I do remember only one single defining slogan back then: Tama na. Sobra na. Palitan na. That’s right. The only thinking (if you can even call it that) back in 1986 revolved around just one objective: removing then President Ferdinand E. Marcos from power and replacing him with someone. What I don’t remember is hearing or reading anything whatsoever even remotely related to “long-term aims”.

Long term aims? C’mon. That’s giving too much credit to a bunch of pimpled adolescents led by their 20-something handlers waving placards and pumping fists (and “L”-shaped fingers) in the process of the making of this “seminal” event we call “Edsa” today. Even today, in glossy, glitzy, and technologically-savvy 21st Century Manila, the political “debate” failed to come up with a realistic vision for the Philippines and, consequently, no long-term plan had been drawn up to get us there (because there was no there defined to begin with). Back in 1986, we had an excuse. We were all kiddie-activists. What’s the excuse of our middle-aged “statesmen” today?

Perhaps there was a lot of backroom wheeling and dealing among oligarchs, politicians and generals back in 1986. I wouldn’t be surprised if the political cake had already been baked way before the cooks were invited into the kitchen. Indeed, the strategy work amongst the big boys of the time was never part of the public domain, and therefore certainly not a part of the people who supposedly exhibited the power back in 1986. We cannot by any stretch of the atrophied imagination of the Filipino attribute any sort of strategic thinking to “Edsa”. As such, there were no “long term aims” in mind back in 1986, and therefore all this talk of “Edsa” being an “unfinished revolution” lacks a ground to stand on.

The 1986 “People Power” EDSA “revolution” is finished.

Marcos removed. Game over.

Jim Paredes himself used this very argument against his Twitter archrival Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, saying that “The people went with good intentions. But the coup plotters had other intentions different from ours”. So the “people” (presumably those who did “People Power”) had good intentions, while the “coup plotters” had other intentions — agendas, if you like. What were those “good intentions” supposedly harboured by that subset of the cast of characters that were involved in this “revolution” who are favoured by today’s history writers? It’s all in the narrative told by those who emerged “Victorious” from this “revolution” and who went on to legitimise themselves as the new civilian government of the Republic and whose “heroism” is now trumpeted continuously by the Big Media owners of that cultural artifact now known as “Edsa”.

The emotionally-charged song, dazzling dance, and nebulous symbolism that is continuously delivered into every Filipino’s living room everyday by Big Media — Paredes’s Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo, Tito Sotto’s Panahon Na, the Yellow merchandise that emerge from the commercial woodwork on every Aquinoist occasion — these all symbolise those so-called “good intentions” that define “Edsa”.

But beyond the paraphernalia that represent these “good intentions” where exactly are the specific artifacts that “symbolise” those “long-term aims” that the Editor laments remain unfulfilled today? The second Aquino president himself, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, is increasingly under critical scrutiny owing to a lack — even after eight months in office — of any evidence of a plan of some sort that leads to fulfilling a vision of some equal sort.

See, that’s the trouble with initiatives carried out on a high fuelled by symbolism and emotionalism alone. When these opiates wear out, all you wake up with is a headache, and an upset stomach. Party animals call it a hangover. Those who are unfortunate enough to greet the morning with a naked stranger beside him or her face the infamous walk of shame — catching a cab still clad in the previous night’s party outfit. Perhaps Edsa as we remember it raises that spectre before us — a combination of having to undertake that walk of shame while laden with a bad hangover. There is no “unfinished business” because there were no “long-term aims” to begin with. Quite simply, “Edsa” is finished.

17 Replies to “Since Edsa 1986: 25 years of walking the walk of shame with a bad hangover”

  1. I was “Marcos Pa Rin” in 1986 because my father who has better judgement than my emotionally-charged mother, is more credible. In spite the realizations I learned about the Marcoses, I have never fallen in love with the Aquinos and their yellow campaign. The People Power failed my family. When the MNCs were removed, our dreams of creating a better life was lost. My father lost a lot of benefits and opportunities because of that yellow racket. Instead of moving forward, we either stagnated or plummeted.  People Power is one big bad joke for us…

    1. To blame the injustice and cruelty perpetrated by the military during martial law on Marcos is like directly blaming GMA for the Ampatuan Massacre or directly blaming Pnoy for the Manila Hostage Crisis. They were all perpetrated by the lower level chain of command. And none of them has proof of direct involvement by the Commander-in-Chief though their administration exhibited an environment that encourages these ‘mistakes’.

      If that is so, then we really should hold Pnoy directly accountable for the deaths of the 8 HK tourists since we have already written in our textbooks that Marcos tortured and killed meager amount of activists/NPAs during martial law.

      Back in the 80s, I hear people say “Marcos parin” so many times, but the television said otherwise. During recess time when i was on 3rd gradel, around late 80s, kids would chant “cory-kurakot, cory-kurakot” while marching around…and it was a private school…can you imagine the scope of her govt’s corruption. That is something kids today will never find out.

  2. The more we remove this EDSA episodes in our Mindsets; the better, for us all…The Aquinos have no shame in using this political contrivance; to protect their Hacienda Luisita ownership; and to allow the Hacienda Luisita Mafia, to control the Philippine economy…Indeed, we have all a bad Hangover.
    The only one who profited from this EDSA are the: Aquinos; the Cojuangcos; the Lopezes; the Ayalas; etc…a few really got exceedingly rich, while most of the Filipinos remain poor.
    Most of the Filipino people are left holding an empty bag…some went on as OFW slaves, to float the nations’ economy. Some left behind are eating “Pag Pag Food” to survive. Is this the EDSA Democracy, they are talking about? Watch out, for those subliminal messages; deversion tactics and blame games; they play on you….to take away your attention for the true issues of our country…

    1. True…The lopezes are really raking it in. And its no coincidence that they are the only Filipinos who are demonizing marcos on absurd heights.

      The news says itll take 2 billion pesos to shield our country from the rising prices of fuel for a month if they were to implement a price cap scheme. Well, cant they take that out of Pnoy’s 68 Billion peso pork barrel? But they wouldnt, instead, let the entire populace bear the costs.

  3. The US/CIA was in the background pulling the Puppet Strings…there are many US/CIA Puppets in the Philippines…all they wave infront of their noses is the; US GREEN CARD, for the Filipinos to work for them….Remember that Girl who was Raped by a US Marine? All the US has to do was to wave a US Green Card Visa, infront of her nose. She easily retracted her testimonies…They can also wave a US Green Card,infront of your nose; and you will begin blogging for their interests…

  4. I get more irritated when twenty-something Filipinos today glorify Edsa as if they were there and knew what really happened. Idiots. When the Egypt thing was over, a lot of them said, “we did it first.” I don’t know what it is with some Filipinos and their constant need to make themselves the best. Shut up.

    Jim Paredes, like many of the opinionated Twitter lamers, are really just full of irrelevant things to say about Edsa. What were you, anyway? I know for sure you never made it to the history books I read. For some reason, people like him just couldn’t let it go. Move on, people. Edsa is long gone, don’t dwell on it. Don’t dwell on its memory. It clouds your judgment. The current president was elected because of this precious idea many of you are holding on to.

  5. I believe we should just consider the EDSA People Power event as a close book. A part of the history that we can no longer undo. But sadly it seems that all members of the political arena keep on harping on the supposed legacy of People Power.

    In cannot be denied that there are indeed lessons to be learned from the said event. However, Filipinos should ask themselves have we really learned those lessons or rather have we even try to dissect and understand those lessons?

    Supposed legacies, lessons or whatever you may call it should have by now produce an effect of changing our society. In the case of the Philippines, we always end up repeating the cycle, electing either corrupt or stupid leaders and end up blaming the government.

    Good intentions no matter how noble they may be remains to be useless if not coupled with a direct, feasible and efficient plan of action. This is what the current administration lacks. They have no plan of action for the country. They keep on telling everyone of what they will do but always fail to answer the question of how they’re going to achieve said declarations.

    1. They keep on telling everyone of what they will do but always fail to answer the question of how they’re going to achieve said declarations.

      More so this admin than the past, similar to that of his mother. The other least popular and intelligent Presidents got things done however they too are burdened with the current system that promotes corruption. The pattern is too obvious and terms are too long to promote any sort of continuity for the sake of building a future for the Philippines. But its all true of a telling tale that you mention of our society and how it looks at politics and its other aspect like eduation, public welfare, diplomacy, secularism and what not.

      1. Urong-sulong ang economy natin…Marcos=Sulong. Cory=Urong. FVR=Sulong, Erap=Urong, GMA=Sulong….PNoy…well…we’ll see….

  6. I think that EDSA only served as a “symbol” or “monument” of far-fetched idealism.Yes, positive motives were probably what the people wanted but, those were too, as I said earlier, far-fetched. When one thinks about it, nothing really changed. So we got the big bad dictator out of his seat – now what? After EDSA, people probably woke up the next day without feeling any change. Same with the 2011 Commemoration – after the festivities and cheers, what now? yep. We’re still stuck in this economically god-forsaken country.

  7. ah sige siguro kung kayo ang napasama sa mga desaparecido nung panahon ni makoy. ewan ko n lang kung magsisi pa kau ngaun. marami din sa kanila na hindi naman lumaban sa kanya e napasama sa mga dinampot. kayo kasi gusto nyo e kaunlaran. hindi uunlad ang bansa sa mga tulad ninyo. go to other countries, you all anti pinoy. kahit d ko gusto c noynoy e makipagparticipate naman kayo.

  8. Although I am not a Marcos loyalist, I believe that Cory’s de-Marcosification campaign did more harm than good. The Filipino youth have yet to be taught an objective view of the Marcos era.

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