Betrayal of EDSA

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

In 1986, twenty-three years ago, a new republic was born from the womb of EDSA, fathered by the spirit of People Power. A new generation of Filipinos sprang that she hoped would lead the nation out of the morass of corruption and poverty bred during the dictatorial reign of Ferdinand Marcos. Finally, the people were free once again.

EDSA became the symbol of a nation that aspired to be great. A shrine was built for her to remind the people that freedom lost could take a lifetime to regain. Year after year, the people would gather in front of her shrine to renew their pledge to protect her and her ideals. They promised to fight for the freedom that they regained. They vowed that never again would a dictator emerge.

For the 12 years following the People Power revolution, corruption slowed down under the administrations of Presidents Cory Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos. The country began to recover from the rubbles of the Marcos dictatorship.

In 1998, Joseph Estrada came to power in a landslide election and corruption made a comeback. The grafters, fixers, and influence peddlers were singing, “Happy days are here again!”

In 2001, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo came to power by way of a sham People Power revolution that deposed Estrada. EDSA unwillingly relented hoping that Gloria would turn the country around. But within a few days after she took over the presidency, a major corruption scandal occurred involving Gloria’s Secretary of Justice. Evidently, corruption was seeded into her administration the day she took over the presidency. EDSA was betrayed. They used her to gain power for themselves.

Year after year, corruption scandals were exposed involving the First Family and high government officials. Corruption became the rule rather than the exception. Indeed, corruption is so good that those in administration want to stay longer in their positions of power. As Lord Acton once said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

With one year left in her term of office, many people are convinced that Gloria would do whatever it takes to remain in power beyond 2010. Two years ago she almost succeeded in getting a Charter change approved through a people’s initiative. However, the Supreme Court rejected the legality of the people’s initiative.

Last May 28, Gloria merged the Lakas-CMD and Kampi parties into one under her leadership. Right after the ceremonies merging the two largest political parties, the word was that Gloria talked to the congressmen behind closed doors. According to leaks from insiders, her marching orders to them were to pass House Resolution 1109 as soon as possible. HR 1109 would convene the House as a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) for the purpose of amending the 1987 constitution… without the Senate. According to news reports, Gloria supposedly promised each congressman P20 million for his or her “yes” vote on HR 1109.

On June 2, the House of Representatives passed — nay, railroaded — HR 1109 by voice vote. The debate was cut short denying the few oppositionists an opportunity to speak out against HR 1109. But what could the handful of oppositionists have done? Tyranny of the majority prevailed. Once again, EDSA was betrayed.

In my opinion, by passing a resolution to amend the 1987 constitution without the participation of the Senate is a blatant disregard for the rule of law. Any way you look at it, the Senate is an integral part of Congress. No law can pass Congress without the approval of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, voting separately. It has always been that way and HR 1109 shouldn’t be an exception.

It is common knowledge that once Gloria steps down plunder charges would be filed against her just like what happened to Estrada. And it is also common knowledge that Gloria was the prime mover in the prosecution and conviction of Estrada for plunder. And if the opposition wins in the presidential elections in 2010, Gloria could be brought to justice. As the saying goes, “What goes around comes around.”

The day after the House passed HR 1109, the Senate reaffirmed its stand against the Senate and the House voting jointly in a Constituent Assembly. Many people believe that the ulterior motive behind HR 1109 was to create a constitutional issue; hence, the need for the Supreme Court to interpret the constitution vis-à-vis HR 1109. With 12 of the 15 Supreme Court justices appointed by Gloria, I would not be surprised if the High Court would overwhelmingly rule in favor HR 1109. But who knows? There are a few good men and women in the High Court who might be able to prevail upon their colleagues to look at the issue judiciously and conscientiously.

If the Supreme Court agrees with HR 1109, it will pave the way for Charter change. If the Supreme Court rejects HR 1109, Con-Ass will die and Gloria would have to step down from the presidency in June 2010, a prospect many people believe would horrify Gloria.

But there was one good thing that came out of the passage of HR 1109. It was another wake-up call for mass action. Indeed, protests and demonstrations in various cities in the country were held yesterday, June 10, and more would be coming. They were organized by the religious sector and civil society. The people are now beginning to see what those in power are trying to do, which is to perpetuate themselves in power. And when power comes into play, the only way to stop it is counter-power. Sir Isaac Newton’s third law — “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” — has been proven time and time again without exception. This law applies to science as well as with people. History tells us that. And history always has a way of repeating itself. Recent developments seem to manifest that history might just be repeating itself as a result of the passage HR 1109.

In the end, the children of EDSA would come to her defense and avenge the humiliation she suffered from those who betrayed her. That would be poetic justice.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)


7 Responses.

  1. perry says:

    Hi Perry:

    Thanks for reminding us Filipinos of the miracle of Edsa 1986. How time passes by so quickly but the bloodless revolution at Edsa will always be
    in the depths of our being. Prior to the revolt, Filipinos everywhere were hopeless to change the Marcos regime. More so when during his dictatorship American administration and the American people were oblivious and condoning the martial law regime which inflicted so much suffering to the Filipino dissenters led by the late Senator Nonoy Aquino. Remember one inauguration day of the last re-election of Mr. Marcos, no less than ex Vice President George Walker Bush was dispatched and lauded Marcos for its adherence to democratic principles. Listening to him made me nausated and almost vomit. And now, I am feeling similar vives about Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo. Unless she categorically and simply declare that she will retire from politics and vacate the presidency in 2010, the Congressional Resolution No. 1109 is an ominous sign of perilous time coming. Hopefully, the Filipino people will rise again and stop GMA and her cohorts from changing the Constitution or the Supreme Court would intervene and do the same.

    Gumagalang,
    Martin Celemin

  2. perry says:

    Hi Martin,

    In this time of national anxiety, we need to remind ourselves to defend what we won in 1986 — our freedom. If another dictator emerges, it would take a longer time to regain our freedom because unlike Marcos, Gloria is far more dangerous and cunningly evil that Marcos. Remember that Marcos chose to flee rather than order his military to attack the people at Edsa. With Gloria, she’s not going to give up power without bloodshed.

    God help the Filipinos.

    Best,
    Perry

  3. perry says:

    Perry,

    Let all Filipinos pray that PGMA is stopped by whatever means. Preferably by constitutional and legal means without bloodshed, and may this also end CORRUPTION, by voting in people who are trusted to serve and not steal.

    Ben Oteyza

  4. perry says:

    Hi Ben,

    It looks like GMA wants to force the issue when she rooted for passage of HR 1109. She’s probably thinking that the Supreme Court would rule in favor of HR 1109 in which case the House — without the Senate — would convene as a Constituent Assembly.

    Best,
    Perry

  5. perry says:

    Perry, in the final analysis, rebellion does not and will not propagate lasting change.

    You know why? Because God commands us to be under the government He
    Instituted over us. What we are having now are the fruits of our blatant disobedience.

    There is always a Godly way to make a difference. Let us always follow the due course of the law.

    God Bless,

    Gary Estacio

  6. perry says:

    Hi Gary,

    I’m not proposing rebellion. However, the people need to tell the congressmen that what they did was wrong and not consistent with the law.

    Ultimately, sovereignty lies with the people.

    Best,
    Perry

  7. perry says:

    dear perry,

    “With 12 of the 15 Supreme Court justices appointed by Gloria, I would not be surprised if the High Court would overwhelmingly rule in favor HR 1109.”

    there are no ifs, perry.

    the constitution is clear. HR 1109 is defective in form, substance and process, thus null and void.

    in form because it is a mere resolution, not a bill. it did not pass through a normal hearing process. it did not pass through three readings. it did not pass through normal voting procedures.

    and finally, it has not been concurred by a parallel enactment of the senate.

    there are no ifs because even the congressmen did not allow any validating action. their motive was simple and it is to the tune of 20 million pork for each vote.

    naghanapbuhay lang ang mga congresista.

    to infer that 12 of 15 jurors have been appointed by gloria and they will therefore agree with a blatant violation of the constitution, therefore becomes an even more scandalous exacerbation of abuse of power that the supreme court is mandated by the constitution.

    i do not want to think that they can ever do that because the consequence is a violent revolution where the very first to fall will be the arroyos, the resolution 1109 congressmen and those in the supreme court who will vote with them.

    but having said that, i know of one supreme court magistrate who will always go with the arroyos because his vote has always been for sale – definitely not tony carpio but his classmate from ateneo who licks the ass of mike and does not care whether he uphold the law or not.

    he missed his calling – he should have been a congressman.

    Ado Paglinawan

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