The REAL story of the last 25 years since the EDSA People Power Revolution

Twenty five years ago in 1986, former President Ferdinand Marcos was the most reviled Filipino on the planet. He was the bad guy in a world-renowned story that billed a bunch of people dressed in yellow waving “L”-shaped hand gestures as its main protagonists. Fast forward to today, and a “debate” on whether or not Marcos should be buried as a hero in Fort McKinley rages. The push to make this happen is led by the former President’s son Fedinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr — who is now a Philippine Senator. From being absolutely non-negotiable the prospect of regarding Marcos as a “hero” is now being considered.

Twenty five years ago in 1986 also saw another celebrity, the venerable Jim Paredes, tear up (metaphorically) a document that is famously worth more than its weight in gold — a writ of entitlement to live and work in the richest nation on the planet: a United States Green Card. Paredes was — through his song writing prowess — instrumental in turning a gathering of kibitzers in a main Manila thoroughfare into a “magical” focal point of “Filipino pride” as well as secure the general association of this event to two of the wealthiest feudal clans in the Philippines — the Aquino/Cojuangco extended family. Perhaps caught in the euphoria of what was then a successfully concluded “revolution”, Paredes thought that he no longer saw a Green Card as the valuable ticket to security that it still is. At least that is my armchair psychoanalysis that helps me make sense of such an otherwise insane move. Today, Paredes’s main base of residence is in a comfy home situated smack in the middle of the vast urban sprawl of shopping malls and McMansions that is the Western Suburbs of metropolitan Sydney in Australia.

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The last 25 years that Filipinos will be celebrating on the 25th of February is therefore a story with two plots: (1) the steady creeping in of the Filipinos’ renowned collective amnesia, and (2) our a-la Holden Caulfield epiphany that was a quarter of a century in the making.

President Marcos’s transformation from bad-ass dictator into an icon qualified for a hero’s burial summarises the first plot. Jim Paredes takes care of the second plot having come from being someone utterly unable to come to terms with the Truth about Filipinos to one with a remarkably lucid understanding of the fundamental character traits of Filipinos that account for our chronic inability to prosper.

As this piece goes to press, preparations are already being made for the Silver Anniversary celebration of the 1986 EDSA “People Power” “revolution”. The obvious point of this exercise is for people to re-live the experience and re-visit the lofty hopes and aspirations of the Filipino that it had come to represent. Indeed, the sort thinking at work in the lead up to this political fiesta is quite consistent to what Mr Jim Paredes described as what might be the “Filipino archetype”…

The child in us [Pinoys] lives in a mythic, magical world where we expect a handsome prince to save us at the last minute, or that things will get better with the wave of a magic wand, without any need for us to change.

Unfortunately, Filipinos are renowned for our ability to pervert otherwise noble ideas. And like most other things, we managed to turn this one — this “revolution” — into a sad joke. Like Filipinos who, themselves, had increased their numbers into the enormous value-crushing scales we see today, Edsa street “revolutions” had been carbon-copied many times over the last 25 years for specific political ends — each one a copy of the previous copy. And as anyone who’s tried photocopying photocopies could attest to, the copies get progressively paler in comparison to the original.

As if that irreversible degeneration with each iteration of copying weren’t enough, the last major Philippine street revolution was buried by the very woman who started it all — no other than former President and 1986 EDSA “revolution” “hero” Corazon “Cory” Aquino…

In a country peppered by souls still heady and giddy about Fiesta Revolutions of past, the rallying cry in response to an impeachment bid against President Gloria Arroyo that catastrophically failed to pass Congress on 06 Sep 2005 was once again — you guessed it — FIESTA REVOLUTION! Led by no less than Madame Ex-President, former Time Woman of the Year, and Ms 1986 “Revolution” herself — Ms Corazon Aquino, what may now be billed Edsa IV (or Commonwealth Avenue I, as the case may be), promised to be another spectacle of sorts. This time there was no particular heir-to-the-throne around which the fete was organised. If it succeeded in its bid to amass enough warm bodies in the streets to make a statement, it would have marked a new low in the practice of a concept that Filipinos fancy themselves to have invented back in 1986. If it had failed, it will have further served to highlight the utter ridiculousness of how Filipinos conduct their affairs.

And failed miserably it did. Bursts of little street protests sporadically erupted in Manila’s streets in the days following the House dismisal of the impeachment bid, but none even remotely approached the kind of numbers these would-be anarchists crowed in the days leading to Tueday. Each were in fact smaller in number than the equally ridiculous street gathering in Makati on 25 July.

That “ridiculous street gathering in Makati” on the 25th of July in 2005 should already have served as a warning to Cory of how big a joke Philippine street rallies had become. had an interesting report on that Ayala Avenue street “rally”…

It looked like a huge street party with an interesting mix of characters… Street vendors were out in full force, peddling corn on the cob, boiled bananas, fish balls, deep-fried chicken gizzards on a stick and scoops of ice cream on hamburger buns…. Music and entertainment were another crucial component, keeping the crowds from drifting away. Pop stars crooned on a huge stage and the “Sex Bomb” dancers–a group of young women in tight white tops and blue capri pants–did the classic bump and grind.

The recently-published Schedule of Events that will make up the 25th Anniversary of the 1986 EDSA “People Power” “Revolution” promises a whole circus of activities and exhibits that will surely make it look like a kind of a Great Leap Forward. But in the same way the Chinese people, at some point reflected and regarded the Truth that said “Leap” never happened in their own recent history, we will eventually have to face the Truth ourselves and take stock of options around how best to move forward once the same realisation sinks in.

24 Replies to “The REAL story of the last 25 years since the EDSA People Power Revolution”

  1. If I recall, Australia requires a very hefty initial deposit for immigrants (something in the millions of pesos?) that they will hold for about a year to ensure that they don’t just get the card, do a few things and leave. Now that’s something worth more than its weight in palladium.

  2. … was just thinking, would it be possible that the people power revolution was the result of the pilipino’s misplaced curiosity? i know that there was a broadcast by the catholic radio station calling for the masses to go to camp crame and camp aguinaldo at the time to prevent the tanks and soldiers loyal to the then president from storming the camps, and the first ones to respond were catholic nuns and followers. i have spoken to a few people who’ve actually been there 25 years ago and i asked them what compelled them to stand in front of the tanks and barricade the gates of the 2 camps, is it really for the love of the country? is it really to call for a change in our country? were they really willing to die for the country? a few have said yes, but many of the more honest answers that i’ve heard said that they merely want to see what’s going on, so they went there (in short, gusto lang mag usyoso)… to celebrate such a momentous event in the philippine history, i honestly believe that it would be more fitting to learn what the real story behind it and what the pilipino people are willing to do in order for the supposed ideals of EDSA people power revolution be upheld, otherwise, it would be just another circus in EDSA … btw thanks for the post mr. benign0

    1. From my current standpoint, anything that might take place in the streets of Manila where theres horde of people is worthy of my curiosity. Im sure its the same as it was when I was in grade school when EDSA1 took place. Imagine high ranking military officers like Enrile and Ramos defying Marcos. Then add some hakot crowd, like the nuns, priests and maka-Corys. It only takes a 1 hour trip from anywhere in Manila if youre going to Camp Crame. So being the ever usiseros Filipinos are, walang duda na usisaan lang yan, Pag dating dun shempre konting tanong..”anu daw…”..”anung nangyayari…”…then the rest is well, history.

      But it is said that “History is written by the victors.” Throughout the years, this EDSA myth have been glorified to absurd heights. And now that an Aquino is leading this country, I guess well be exposed to more of these, glorificiations..oh that sounded wrong…more like Aquinofications and Conjuancofications.

      OT: Philippine Military Academy Alumnus wanted their homecoming to be festive and that they agreed to not mention anything about politics for that certain event. Well, leave it to our commander-in-chief to politicize the event with his awesome “FINGER-POINTING” skills as exhibited in his speech.

  3. Twenty-five years later, we still have an Aquino in office, and the Marcoses are still part of the political landscape. Isn’t this enough proof that we are doomed to repeat the past? So what’s there to celebrate after 25 years of EDSA1? Haha, what a funny question.

    1. Only The Lopez’s have the right to celebrate. With Marcos in office, they couldn’t do their thing. Now they get to propagate how fortunate they are because they were able to grow in Cory’s term and beyond.

      1. Yup….and their networks love to remind us of how “they were wronged” during the years of dictatorship. It’s only lately that some people are realizing Marcos knew what this family was all about, and what they were capable of back then. Today, both families are still part of our culture.

        Happy 25th, idiots!!!

        1. 25 years after EDSA1, look at the Lopezes now, they have:

          Studio 23
          The Filipino Channel (TFC)
          Bayad Centers
          7 companies that generate power
          A stake in MERALCO and Panay Electric Company
          3 Real-estate development companies including Rockwell
          First Balifor, a leading construction company
          FPIC, sole operator of the largest oil pipeline..ung tumagas sa makati
          7 manufacturing companies mostly engaged in power and circuits

          Most of their companies are joint ventures. 60% lopez owned, 40% foreign.
          So kung aalisin ung 60-40 provision sa 1986 constitution, ang mga Lopezes ang unang magre-reklamo..”Not if they can help it”…

          Hmmm….60-40 provision….1986 Constitution…..Marcos out….Lopez in….hmmmm……

        2. I hear there’s a story about this. Some time in the 1960s Lopez (the patriarch I think) held a party at his residence for society’s who’s who at that time. When then president Diosdado Macapagal arrived, the host was notified, presumably so that the usual courtesies would be performed. Nah, I don’t give a damn, said Lopez like the haughty kingmaker that he thought he was, that Macapagal person is on his way out anyway. Now it happened that an up-and-coming politician named Ferdinand Marcos overheard this remark. He made a mental note not to suffer the humiliation by this Lopez sonofabitch like Macapagal got, and the rest was history.

      2. forever na tayo in the lopez’ evil clutches…what’s the use of elections?  let’s just wait for their anointed one. 

        they hate gloria so much because gsis almost got hold of meralco…hehehe…she’s probably the only president who tried to do that.

        1. here’s another story. in the late sixties there was a big party in the san juan residence of a big business family (oligarch family you can call them). the then head of government, being the partymate of the family attended despite not having an invitation. when dinner time came, the son of the oligarch announced that those with invitations will have dinner at the presidential table inside the house,while those who do not will have to eat at the outside tables. the then head of government left after this insult. the rift between him and this family has become irrepairable, and was one of the reasons for that september 1972 proclamation. of course, there are serious reasons for this rift, but the family have had their way now having control over electricity, water, tv, radio, and telephone companies.lucky ones.

  4. EDSA was nothing more than those AKO MISMO movements. Freedom, Democracy and Justice? Those were franchised by Cory and her cohorts. And her family continues to franchise it and sadly, make money out of those poor, deluded souls who didn’t know what it is to earn those words in full. Hell, even the CBCP managed to get on the gravy train and managed to put their own political will in the constitution.

  5. anong masama sa paglilibing ky marcos sa libingan ng mga bayani? ang taong naging pangulo ay may karapatang mahimlay doon,Ito ay isang pribelihiyo na ibinibigay sa mga naging pangulo ng bansa na walang bahid politika. Panahon na ibigay kay pang. marcos ang nararapat sa kanya.

  6. filipinos deserve what they get.
    no passion, intellect or courage means they will always be used and abused and the vast majority consigned to abject poverty.

    1. pinoys don’t give a crap as long as they get their daily dose of willy and telenovelas…and the powers-that-be know this all too well.

  7. EDSA was a Fake Revolution; lead by Political Opportunists, with Cory Aquino, as their Mascot. The CIA operatives were in the background, pulling the string. I have no sympathy for Marcos, or any of these politicians. Marcos-Enrile-Ramos – these notorious triads, corrupted the AFP. They politicalized the AFP. Like Adolf Hiltler did it to the German Wermacht Army. Hitler incorporated his SS Waffen Brigade, into the German Waffen Army. to have a full control of Germany, prosecute the Jews and German political opponents, and wage wars.
    Marcos, being a hero…I have no complain on this issue…He fought courageously in the Battle of Bataan. And, was recipients of Medals. My father, my uncles and most of my relatives; fought also in the Battle of Bataan and Corregidor…and at the ending of the war….in the Battle of Bessang Pass. The Aquinos were Japanese Collaborators. Benigno Aquino, Sr., was the Vice President of Jose Laurel, in the Japanese Puppet government…or Filipinos, who were Maka-Hapon. Those Filipinos who put a “bayong” with holes to see, over their heads. Point out to the Japanese Secret Police, who were Filipino Guerrillas. Many of my relatives, were executed, because of these traitors…
    Our question should be: What are the accomplishments of EDSAs? Who have gotten rich? Who have gotten so poor? Are we better off? Are we importing rice and sugar? Was Feudalism removed?
    The issue of who got to be burried in the “Libingan ng mga Bayani”, is not a political issue…it is a Truth Issue…who really fought and sacrificed, during those dreaded times…and who collaborated with the enemies. Give any Filipino Hero, their due!!! No matter what his political color is…

  8. AAAY NAKO, I GIVE UP. Nothing will change in the Philippines. The majority of the people will always be gullible and stupid. The minority with money will always have full control. So, instead of me trying to be a heroic, nation builder in a short life span of say 80 years, I’d rather look after me, my family and close friends. I will play the corruption game, get rich and survive.
    You know what? maybe we’re just complaining too much. The French Revolution resulted in years of struggle. So did the American Revolution. I mean, 25 years is not enough to say this revolution was a failure right? If we look around Manila, I’ve seen progress and improvements. My only gripe is those goddam yellow banners still planted along Roxas Boulevard. I wish somebody would burn ’em or spray paint ’em. WE GET IT, PUTANG INA, SANTO AT SANTA SI CORY AT NINOY. THEY ARE THE BEST. AQUINOS ARE THE VICTIMIZED ANGELS AND THE ONLY SOLUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES.

    PUWEEH! I will officially campaign for Bong Bong Marcos and I want the Marcoses back in Malacanang. I don’t care anymore.
    MABUHAY ANG KORUPSYON! Let’s face it guys, it’s the only way of life in the Philippines.

    1. The more things change…the more they stay the same…or even get worse…like our situation..”.pa-ikut-ikutin ang mga ulo natin, ang mga kumag na ito.”..

      1. I find Cecilio Arillo’s book “Greed and Betrayal” more reliable than Teodoro Benigno’s documentary “The Challenge of EDSA”, especially when it comes to the Aquino years.

  9. I’m sorry ordinary Filipinos are not to be blamed. I’m from India and we had Gandhi and the non-violence revolution that promised heaven and 60 years down the line…ask anyone in India..they would under the British were much much better than today…. 

    We are under loot..nations wealth is been coned off to swiss mafia banks, while the ordinary people suffer…. this is the same story everywhere we go… ordinary people suffer even in America..look at the number of prisoners in US..highest in the world…its insane what they do in America if we are on the right side of things…

    Please do not come out for a revolution…all revolutions are staged by the elite…the power structure that we do not see on TV is intact for 1000’s of years…if you love your family and don’t wanna get shot in the head for no good at least an hour of research before coming out of home for a change…

    There is no truth in the world…only conspiracy…search for freemasons in google

  10. After 25 years since EDSA People Power 1, we have Ninoy Aquino as hero, Cory Aquino as saint, Kris Aquino as a moral spokesperson and is on every billboard in Metro Manila endorsing products from electric fans to whitening pills, and Ninoy Aquino as the current president.

    Poverty is still rising.
    Crime rate still rising.
    Prices of basic commodities still rising
    toll rates and public transport rates still rising
    water and electric utilities still rising
    and Gas prices preemptively rises

    Who the heck wants to go to EDSA shrine this February 25 to celebrate? Not me, I have nothing to do with it. EDSA 25th Anniversary is for those people who GAINED alot when Makoy was ousted.

    And to those people who are actually going, Good Luck! I hope youll be happy. And do this “panata” every year till the day you die. And afterwards, while you go home to your barong-barong beside the river of garbage, these elites will be going to their mansions riding expensive million peso cars.

    What an effin life…

  11. More intellectual flatulence once again from the one side of the gaseuous pair. For soemone who has not engaged in any form of political struggle either in the mainstream or ifnormally but for a blog.

    Not a fan of jin paredes but for what it is worth he puts himself out there.

    1. I agree, Jim Paredes thought it would be the start of something new, something that would put our nation forward, but was it his fault if this country did not? At least he tried but it’s not one man’s battle, it’s ours and posts such as these only make apathy the norm… we are so hypercritical of the government and hide from blogs such as these, but do we have a solid solution? if we do, let’s put it out and have the lawmakers and powers that be listen to them… nah, we’re too comfy hiding behind our desks spewing words that only exposed the ugly truth and yet do nothing about them…

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