The Truth about the 1986 People Power Revolution

Feb 25, 2011
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A Filipino blogger sets the record straight – meet the true martyrs and demons of the EDSA revolution.

It’s that time of the year again. February is always a big month for Filipinos. Two weeks after celebrating Valentine’s Day, Filipinos hold another annual celebration that is uniquely their own. On the 25th of February each year, die-hard Aquino supporters have their annual song and dance routine usually complete with a live musical variety show near the EDSA shrine to commemorate the anniversary of the so-called ‘People Power’ EDSA revolution.

You can be sure that Aquino supporters will have their grins up to their third molars on the day because the so-called ‘Aquino legacy’ has finally come full circle. After 25 years, who would have thought that President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy), the son of People Power icon former President Cory Aquino, would follow in his mother’s footsteps, literally?


452 The People Power Monument along EDSA blvd (Photo by Mike Gonzalez)


An Aquino oligarchy yet again?

From his mother’s reluctance to run for the Presidency down to his mother’s incompetence to deliver on her campaign promises, PNoy got his mother’s unique style of ‘barely there’ leadership to a tee.

But what a joy it must be for the rest of the melodramatic Aquino fans who love living in the past at the expense of the poor. Likewise, the oligarchs that benefit from a family member’s stay in Malacañang are basking in the glory coming from a guaranteed grip on the people’s minds for years and years to come.

The victors of the so-called ‘revolution’ have been reduced to resorting to propaganda in recent years.

The Filipinos have, indeed, given ‘people power’ a new meaning after 25 years. The political opposition should never have underestimated the power of illogical people moving in large groups. It has been said that the victors get to write history. It has also been said that propagandists get to use history to their advantage. Thanks to the lack of progress in the country, the victors of the so-called ‘revolution’ have been reduced to resorting to propaganda in recent years. Since none of the perpetrators during the Marcos’ years have been put on trial or convicted anyway, the Aquino family and their cronies continue to use media outlets owned and operated by their own family and friends to continue demonizing the Marcos regime.

By doing so, the Aquino family likewise continue to come across as martyrs. The victors – the Aquinos – are quite successful applying this approach towards keeping the majority of the population beholden to them even when democracy in the country is alive only in theory.

It is quite a mind-boggling exercise to ponder the question of why most Filipinos have such a screwed up memory of the events that unfolded after EDSA I. Four years after Marcos was ousted, Cory’s administration was highly criticized for its failure to deliver on the much-needed economic reforms and was plagued by allegations of corruption involving Cory’s wealthy and influential relatives – the same allegations they used to topple Marcos in the first place. In an article published on TIME magazine in 1990, Cory’s incompetence and the allegations of corruption against her brother Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco were documented:

457 TIME magazine named her Woman of the Year at the end of 1986, the first female to hold the distinction since Queen Elizabeth in 1952. (Photo by Dennis Raymond)

[...] But in the tumultuous four years since Aquino became President, charges of incompetence and graft have increasingly tainted her own government. When rebellious soldiers launched the seventh abortive coup against Aquino on Dec. 1, their most pointed complaints focused on the administration’s failure to deliver basic services and on allegations of corruption among the President’s wealthy and influential relatives.

The charges, magnified by the Manila rumour mill, have inflicted serious political damage. While the President herself is considered incorruptible, critics accuse her of turning a blind eye to family and friends who are said to be enriching themselves at the public’s expense.

[...] A frequent target of reports is Aquino’s brother Jose (‘Peping’) Cojuangco Jr., a wealthy and powerful congressman. Shortly after Aquino took office, newspaper stories charged that Cojuangco had helped some of his cronies gain control of a lucrative cargo-handling business; he is also suspected of using family ties to get jobs for friends in Manila casinos. Cojuangco has denied any wrongdoing, and neither he nor any other member of the Aquino clan has been charged with a crime.

Yet lack of prosecution means little in a country where the rich and powerful are perceived to be above the law. ‘It would take a first-class fool to testify against someone like Peping Cojuangco,’ explains Blas Ople, executive vice president of the opposition Nacionalista Party and a former Minister of Labor under Marcos.

In one of the few corruption cases the authorities have pursued, Cojuangco’s wife Margarita was suspected of having taken a $1 million bribe from an Australian businessman last year to help him obtain a gambling-casino license.

PNoy’s term is even beginning to look more and more like a carbon copy of his own mother’s term with allegations of nepotism, favoritism, and incompetence plaguing his administration.


Lo and behold, the so-called ‘Aquino legacy’ is not as untainted as the Aquino minions would have everyone believe. PNoy’s term is even beginning to look more and more like a carbon copy of his own mother’s term with allegations of nepotism, favoritism, and incompetence plaguing his administration. And with images of PNoy, and of his celebrity sister Kris, splashed all over the country like propaganda paraphernalia, Marcos’s ‘personality cult’ drive to send subliminal messages just to keep his popularity high is alive and working for the Aquino family.


Better with Ferdinand Marcos?