Exactly 21 years ago, a convergence of various political groups unseated the dictator Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos, who had ruled the country for some 21 years as if it were a dynasty.
Known worldwide as People Power Revolution or EDSA I, the conditions that time manifested grave economic crisis and massive political repression. Human rights violations recorded was done with impunity by the Marcos military and police that actually contributed to the growth of revolutionary organizations. While the people lived in extreme poverty, the Marcos family, cronies and friends lived luxuriously.
After 21 years, the same conditions is still experienced by the Filipino people under the present administration of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is herself a beneficiary of the EDSA II that ousted Joseph Estrada. The economic crisis remains. In fact, it has worsened as manifested by the steady rising cost of basic commodities and basic social services, ballooning public debt among others. The political crisis remains the same as policies are pushed to repress democratic rights. GMA’s Presidential Proclamation 1017 issued last year institutionalized political repression was set aside by the Supreme Court but exposed her dictatorial tendencies. It was revived in the present Anti-Terrorism Bill now approved by the Bicameral Committee and expected to be signed by the Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before Congress end its session before election.
GMA’s record of more than 800 extra-judicially killed and nearly 200 forced disappearances definitely surpassed the Marcos’ 20-year rule in her yet brief period in power since 2001. This is a concrete manifestation of GMAs lack of respect for that basic right to life. The Melo Commission and the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial killings pointed out that the reported killings were perpetuated for the military.
It must be pointed out that these violations – particularly against the right to life – were among the main issues that led to the convergence of various political forces that eventually caused the downfall of the Marcos political rule in 1986.
All these conditions are again present for a convergence of another people power? Whether there will be another president ousted by a people power revolution lies in the hands of the Filipino people. As our constitution says: “Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.” #