Monday, August 26, 2013


In 1983, Ninoy Aquino was assassinated, believed by many to be by the cronies of the dictator Marcos. This event galvanized Filipinos, especially the middle class, into rallying behind the anti-Marcos movement, with the late Corazon C. Aquino as our figurehead. Between 1983 and Tita Cory's phenomenal ascendancy to the Presidency of the Republic of the Philippines in 1986, that movement gained ground. On the other hand, the acts of political repression fomented by Marcos and his henchmen, escalated to disturbing levels. Some political leaders and even followers were murdered, badly injured, and some went missing. Some Filipinos fled abroad to protect themselves. The Philippine economy was in a shambles. 

But the anti-Marcos movement prevailed.

Rallies were held around the Philippines, notably in Makati, where Fridays were confetti days. At around 3 in the afternoon, office windows would come open, with employees showering Ayala Avenue with confetti, mostly made from the yellow pages of the PLDT directory (an ironic twist, considering the PLDT monopoly was headed by the Cojuangcos, a Marcos crony family). Most of these rallies were festive, with things going serious when political leaders would take the stage to discuss the more serious issues of the so called People Power Revolution.

In December 1985, Tita Cory declared her candidacy for the Philippine presidency at Plaza Lawton. It was a heart-breaking assembly, with only a few hundred in attendance. I was honestly crestfallen, thinking that she would be roundly beaten by Marcos. Judging from that gathering, Tita Cory obviously did not have the numbers. Thankfully, her political machinery and supporters were made of sturdier stuff than the callow fellow that I was. In a short time (if I am not mistaken, among the people who pushed support for Tita Cory was the late Chino Roces, who famously went around in a shopping cart, collecting whatever money could be spared for the Piso Para Kay Cory fund-raising campaign), her campaign took a 180 degree turn, getting mass support like it was nobody's business. No amount of mudslinging or condescension from the Marcos camp fazed Tita Cory. One of my favorites is Marcos' dismissal of Tita Cory as being "a simple housewife." Tita Cory's response? "Opo. Ako ay isang maybahay lamang. At hindi po ako magnanakaw o diktador," or words to that effect.

EDSA People Power 1 will remain in my heart and mind as one of the most memorable times in my life. EDSA People Power 2, which put into office that teapot despot GMA, will remain in my mind and heart as one of the most regrettable things I've ever participated in.

Yesterday's rally, I think, will become like EDSA People Power 1. Sure we did not reach the million mark, but the estimated 100,000 people who turned out in Luneta is a good start. Tita Cory's first official public rally was even worse, in terms of numbers. I just hope that since it is a leaderless movement, it will not fizzle out. We need to sustain our outrage, and transform this into results. I believe that with social networks being great and speedy instruments of information dissemination, this movement will go somewhere. (In the days of EDSA, Marcos' censors were no match for xerox journalism. I remember reading articles about Imelda's lifestyle and the Manotoc kidnapping from photocopies of photocopies of photocopies. It's amazing how information about rallies got relayed so efficiently and quickly, considering all we had were pen, paper and telephones. And of course, Radio Veritas in later days).

Here are some pictures I took yesterday. I hope things will go the right way. And someone has to do something about the chanting. "MAKIBAKA, HUWAG MAGBABOY" doesn't make sense. At all. Perhaps, "MAKIBAKA, HUWAG MAGPABABOY," but the meter is all wrong. Or maybe, "MAKIBAKA, NO TO BABOY," but it kinda sounds colegiala-ish. 

(For more photos, please go to this link.)

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