Prints & Traces
Ang Diwa ng EDSA People Power
So many views have been advanced as attempts to interpret the significance of the People Power 1 revolt at EDSA twenty eight years ago. In the little eatery — the usual hangout corner of the local residents in my village – I overheard this interesting discussion-
LITO: Bay Pedio, motuo ba ka nga naay kabag-ohan sukad gilunsad tong Edsa rebolusyon? [Bay Pedio, would you believe there has been change since the Edsa revolution?]
PEDIO: Ayaw kog pangutan-a ana, Bay! Kana si Pare Bobong maoy sukta kay hilig kaayo na maghuluhisgot og mga kalihokang lungsodnon. [Don’t throw that question to me, my friend… Why don’t you ask Pare Bobong, he is fond of discussing and digging into social issues.]
LITO: Oh, Pare Bobong! Unsay imong ikasulti ? [Oh, Pare Bobong! What can you say?]
BOBONG: Kabag-ohan? Siyempre naa. Bag-o na gud atong Presidente. Bag-o nang mga senador ug mga kongresista! Mga kabag-ohan man na, di ba? [Change? Of course, there is. Look, we have a new President. . .new senators and congressmen! That’s “change”, isn’t it?]
LITO: Dili. . .gawas anang pagpuli-puli’g mga tawo dinha sa gobyerno , . .ang kuan ba — ang kalidad sa atong kinabuhi isip mga lungsoranon! [No. . .aside from changing people in the various posts in government. . .what I mean is the quality of life among the citizens!]
PEDIO: Aw, mao diay nay imong buot ipasabot? Aw, makasulti ko ana! Kun kalidad sa kinabuhi ang atong sutaon. . .wala! Walay kabag-ohan! Sa baynte otso ka tuig gikan kaniadto? Misamot man hinoon ta’g ka musimos! Mao nay labing tinuod! [Ah, is that what you mean? Aw, I can say something about that! If we look into the quality of life of the people . . .none! There’s been no change! Across the twenty eight years? We have even become more miserable! That’s the real reality!]
LITO: Di ka motuong naay kabag-ohan! Entonces, di ka motuo nga buhi pa ang “diwa” sa adtong gitawag og EDSA rebolusyon? [You don’t believe there has been a change! Therefore, you don’t believe in the so called “diwa” of the EDSA revolution?]
BOBONG: Kanang “diwa” nga gipunayan nilag bandera, Pare Lito.. .unsay espeling ana? Mao ni? — D-I-G-W-A. . .[That “diwa” thery are so fond of brandishing about, Pare Lito. . .what’s the spelling of that? This? – D-I-G-W-A. . .]
PEDIO: Hahahahaha! Unsa gud nang DIGWA na man nang imong espeling? Aaa, makasab-an ka ni Maam ana, kay di lang gihapon ka kahibalo mo-espel og simpol kaayo nga word? [Hahahahaha! What’s that…you have spelled out DIGWA which means “nauseous”” My gosh, you’ll be scolded by our schoolmarm, until now you still cannot spell correctly simple words?]
BOBONG: Hehe. . .Nagdigwa-digwa na man gud ta sa kalisod aning kinabuhi nato ron, Bay! Busa,kanang giingon nilang Diwa sa Edsa. . .ang tinuod ana, DIGWA . . .? [Hehe. . .Isn’t it that we constantly feel wanting to throw up because of utter hardship in life? My friend, what they constantly brandish about as ‘Diwa sa Edsa’ is truly nauseous to our sensibilities!]
LITO: Hahaha! Maayo sad nimong pagka espeling Pare, da! Sa ato pa diay, Pare Bobong, giluod ang katawhan? Giluod. . .kay ang gipasiatab nga kabag-ohan, kaut-otan diay hinoon. . .Hahahaha! [Hahaha! You have spelled it well, Pare! So, Pare Bobong, the people take it as nauseous? Nauseous…because what they are touting about as change is really sinking impoverishment. . . Hahahaha!]
BOBONG: Mao nay kahimtang sa atong katawhan. Mao nay kalidad sa atong kinabuhi. [That’s the reality. . .the real quality of life among our people.]
Truly, the expected social transformation has never come about. What the Edsa revolt really did
— oh,so splendidly did! – was to revert society to the pre-martial era. It was not a revolution in
the true sense of the word. It in fact reverse the turning of the wheels of history. Instead of
moving forward, Philippine society was made to move backward to the halcyon days of the
privileged elite classes: the American monopoly-capitalists together with the big landlords and
A real Revolution should have been a premeditated political act of the people. Meaning – from
the very start, it has already defined and visualized its economic, political and cultural goals and
objectives. It has already sculpted in clear lines and texture its vision of an alternative society.
What the EDSA revolt did was a spontaneous adventurism initiated by a few disgruntled
elements of the Marcos military machine who had seen and foreseen the ultimate downfall of
the dictatorship. And so they wanted to save the republic [sic!] which they soon turned over to
the same elite class in Philippine society. It was not inspired nor guided by any vision of an
alternative society. It merely mouthed vague slogans of Freedom very conveniently popular at a
time when the people were starved of it for so long by the Marcos dictatorship. In other words,
the Edsa revolt was bereft of an ideology that should have embraced the people’s ideals of a just,
humane and prosperous society, an ideology that should have emancipated them from the
longstanding scourges of poverty and misery.
Before the imposition of martial law the prevailing situation was the domination of our economic
life by the above-mentioned elite classes. The strategic industries were owned and controlled
by these classes led by the American imperialists. Because of this economic domination, our
society was characterized as a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, where all the means of
production were in the hands of the elite classes and their fruits appropriated for their own needs
and luxurious wants. The great masses of the people had to scramble for the crumbs and dregs.
And in order to maintain their economic interests, the political structure was such that all the
machinery and apparatuses of the State were under the command of the said elite. The
executive, legislative and judiciary branches of government were represented by personalities
from the landlord class and the big comprador capitalists. But they were all obeisant to the
American imperialists whose parallel interests were assured by their extraordinary global power.
making the local elite their veritable running dogs. State power was wielded with gross
indifference and grave injustice to the majority of the citizenry. Corruption was, of course, the
perpetual sustenance of the political power of the elite.
Because of this political dominion of the ruling elite, the broad masses of the Filipino people
were subjugated and held in dire poverty, utter deprivation and unbearable oppression. The so
called political democracy was a misrepresentation. Only the members and or representatives of
the ruling classes are privileged to occupy major positions in all three branches of government.
Freedom of choice in elections was a hilarious joke. It was a nauseating absurdity! The country’s
electoral system was a perpetual masquerade — a cyclical exercise of deception and cajolery.
“Patronage politics” was the magical cloak of politicians .
The cultural superstructure was one that made a mockery of our socio-racial character as a
people. The usual channels of culture – the educational system and all other institutions of
cultural formation – were designed for the people to imbibe American lifeways and modes of
social conduct, effectively supplanting our traditional customs and traditions, thereby making of
us “poor copycats” of the Americans. Our biological make-up has been infused with the
“American spirit”—with all its decadent bourgeois trappings and subculture.
QUESTION: What has the much touted Edsa Revolution done to all the above pre-martial
law social state of affairs?
ANSWER: It has NOT changed this, at all! The economic, political and cultural
conditions have remained. And, as a matter of fact, they have worsened!
to scandalous proportions!
Now, under the administration of President BS Aquino III, the hypocritical mask of moral integrity is peeled off little by little so soon, we are appalled by the hollowness of all its self-serving sloganeering! Matuwid na daan is, after all, a straight road to social disaster. As this government travels on with its utter puppetry to US Imperialism, its official imposition of its own brand of martial rule is just “around the corner”.
The Filipino people should stop pinning their hopes on President BS Aquino’s “eloquent”
braggadocio and “righteous posturing”. He is no different from all previous puppet Presidents
in the history of this hapless Republic. Ang Diwa ng Edsa is a grand delusion of the ruling
classes of Philippine society. There was no such thing from the very beginning! If at all, it
took its hollow premise from the Magsaysay Cult that never was! It might have been CIA-
inspired, much to its own chagrin!
Don Pagusara is a a multi-awarded author and a Palanca-awardee.