EDSA discourse 2009

22 February 2009

hay naku, looks like the discourse on EDSA is back to square one.   pinagtatalunan na naman kung kailan ba natin dapat ipagdiwang the famous February revolt that the government has always celebrated on the 25th because that’s the day cory was sworn in as president on the sheer force of people power, but which this year we’re celebrating on the 23rd  holiday economics daw even if  school holiday lang, which date as it happens is fine by me, february 23 1986 being the day the crowds converged on that strip of EDSA prepared to die for Cory, and stood in the path of, and stopped, the mighty tanks of marcos and ver.   that, in my book, was the climax and turning point in favor of cory and the people.

but efren danao of the manila times prefers the 22nd, the day that then defense minister juan ponce enrile and his chief security aide gregorio honasan and their men broke away from the marcos military.

World history has always given greater importance to the initial act of defiance that had rallied a nation than to the subsequent installation of a new government. The United States considers July 4, 1776, as its first Independence Day and yet it was not until 1789 that the Americans finally defeated the British soldiers. France celebrates Bastille Day as its Independence Day, to commemorate the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. This despite the fact that the First French Republic was not established until 1792. Here in the Philippines, we celebrate June 12, 1898, as the day of our independence. It was the day when the Katipuneros led by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo established the first Philippine government. However, it was only on Ju1y 4, 1946 that we became a trulysovereign nation.

“On February 25, 1986, victory was already at hand. There was virtually no risk involved then. The country was already reaping the fruits of the bravery of those who, three days earlier, dared to go against a dictatorship. I can completely understand why Juan Ponce Enrile, Sen. Gringo Honasan and other key players of EDSA 1 had never participated in any February 25 commemoration of that historic event.”

say naman ni volt contreras sa inquirer today [broadsheet only, i wonder why], “Cory speech was turning point of Edsa,” which speech happened monday afternoon, february 24.   that morning, jejomar binay says, he and joker arroyo were in camp crame where joker met with enrile and ramos.

“When Joker finally came out, he told me: ‘Mukhang malayo na tayo rito. Mukhang malayo na rin si Cory. [We seem to be out of the loop already. So is Cory.]’

Ang nagmamando na sina Ramos, kasi wala si Cory dito physically. [It’s Fidel Ramos and company calling the shots because Cory is not here physically. They were calling the (foreign) embassies , the press; they were calling the shots,” Binay recalled Joker telling him.

… Aquino was personally briefed by Joker about his earlier meeting in Camp Crame and about his sense of alarm over who’s “calling the shots,” Binay said.
“The long and short of it is that Cory told us: “Lalabas tayo [We’re coming out],” Binay told the Inquirer.

But someone butted in: “Cory, panalo na tayo. Baka madisgrasya ka pa [We’ve already won. You might only put yourself in danger].”

Aquino then replied, as Binay put it: “Akala ko ba usapan natin dito ay kung kailangan mabuwis ng buhay, magbuwis ng buhay? Bakit naman nag-iiba na tayo [I thought it was agreed that we would sacrifice our lives if we need to? Why the change?]”

The duly elected President of the February 1986 elections had given her stand, and “nobody dared to disagree with her [wala nang kumontra],” Binay said.

Aquino then asked his younger brother Jose “Peping” Cojuangco … to look for a spot on Edsa where she could address the crowd.

Why was the POEA building chosen? For one, its lobby allowed a wide view of the spectators but still provided ample overhead coverage against “snipers”, Binay explained.

Asked how Edsa I would have turned out had Aquino not “come out” that day, Binay said the initial sense of his group was that a “troika” or a “collective leadership” – rather than the Aquino presidency as Filipinos now know it-could have risen to power.

hmmmmm…. but only the people around POEA at the time knew that cory had come out to make a speech and claim EDSA as her victory.

“We have recovered our freedoms, our rights, and our dignity with much courage and, we thank God, with little blood. I enjoin the people to keep the spirit of peace as we remove the last vestiges of tyranny, to be firm and compassionate. Let us not, now that we have won, descend to the level of the evil forces we have defeated.

“I have always said I can be magnanimous in victory, no more hate, no more fighting. I appeal to all Filipinos of both sides of the struggle. This is now the time for peace, the time for healing.” [Bulletin 25 Feb 86]

enrile had no idea she made an appearance, even disputes that she was ever in EDSA at all.   cory coming out made no difference to the way things turned out;  it was not why enrile and ramos, over-ruling rebel generals, decided to attend the cory inauguration in club filipino the next morning and submit to her authority.

anyway it should be interesting what enrile will have to say in tomorrow’s event hosted by radio veritas that efren danao says the senate president will be attending as one of the heroes of EDSA.

will enrile toe the line of gloria arroyo who in a wreath-laying ceremony today, according to an inquirer report [website only, i wonder why] actually asked the public not to bother reliving the four days?

Arroyo reiterated that another “revolt” would spark “condemnation” from the rest of the world.

“The world embraced EDSA 1 in 1986. The world tolerated EDSA 2 in 2001. The world will not forgive an EDSA 3, but it will instead condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable,” she said in a speech at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) in Taguig Sunday morning.

Arroyo asked the public “not to relive” the four days of the first revolt but instead learn from them and “refresh our spirit against the new challenges oftoday.”

She said one such lesson was “boldness,” a quality the country should show in the face of the global financial crisis.

yeah, right. how does one learn “boldness” from an experience that one knows of only in a distant sense.   i’m sure gloria herself and her mike of course took the trouble to re-live the run-up to, and the, four days of EDSA when they plotted in 2000 to oust erap a la marcos.    it’s time we learned from their example.

Posted in edsa, history

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