EDSA People Power Revolution

[OPINION] Cory, Marcos, and the struggle to find the truth

Gericho G. Villamin
[OPINION] Cory, Marcos, and the struggle to find the truth

Graphic by Alyssa Arizabal

'To some, People Power is a gift, while others call it a curse. Who is right? Who is wrong?'

On February 25, the entire nation will once again commemorate the event that placed it in international headlines 35 years ago: the first EDSA People Power Revolution. Ironically, the annual celebration of that peaceful moment of freedom is often marked with the violent exchange of words online. To some, People Power is a gift, while others call it a curse. Who is right? Who is wrong? These are the mixed voices that make it a struggle to find the truth.

I was in 5th grade when Corazon Aquino passed away. As a young lad, I was amazed and overwhelmed to see how the death of one person could move the entire nation to mourn. Flags were at half-mast; yellow ribbons were tied everywhere; documentaries about her life were aired on different TV stations; and thousands of people from all walks of life united to attend her funeral procession. All of these led me to the conclusion that this woman deserved to be revered and honored.  

I met the name Cory once again when I was in my first year of high school. Philippine History was still a part of the secondary curriculum then. There I learned the connection between Cory and the first EDSA People Power Revolution, that commenced on February 22, 1986 when then-Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin called for the people’s unity, and culminated on February 25, 1986 when she, Cory, was sworn in as the first female president of the Republic of the Philippines, ousting dictator Ferdinand Marcos. I realized then that she was a person worthy to be emulated.

But this sentiment did not last long.

I began to use the internet when I was in my second year of high school. I can still remember how I’d spend my time and money in computer shops watching videos on Youtube. It was there that I came across videos about the “real” story of EDSA, and how some people “twisted” the events of history to favor Cory. I was shocked and began to ask myself: had I been brainwashed by my teachers using “fabricated” history books? I began to doubt the “truth” I used to believe.

As a student whose favorite subject is Araling Panlipunan, I resolved to find out the truth behind the event that happened years before my birth.

First, I considered my environment. I was from the province of Tarlac, the home province of Cory. Therefore, it was no wonder that my teachers taught me lessons that honored the daughter of our province.

Second, I used the internet to find more documentary videos, and found ones also favoring the late dictator Marcos. The videos even claimed that Marcos was the real hero, and that Cory was a traitor against the nation.

Little by little, I started to believe that I had been fed with lies as a child. How can we treat Ferdinand Marcos as the enemy if his administration led the Philippines to its golden era, like what videos and articles posit, and brought people comfort by building infrastructure still used to this day?

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But eventually, I felt confused. If there is only one truth, why is it that there are two versions of it? As I tried to be fair by reading articles and watching videos from both sides, Marcos and Aquino, I felt that I was getting lost in the path.

One of the most valuable life lessons I’ve learned comes from the story of a father and son who joined the traditional Filipino game basag-banga. The son told his father that he wanted to join the game. The father agreed and gave his son the secret in order to win. The father said that the moment he was blindfolded, there would be a whole mix of voices trying to give him directions. These voices did not necessarily carry the truth. To win the game, he didn’t need to listen to each voice; he just needed to find his father’s voice, which would give him the right directions. The son did what his father said, and they won the game.

This story was a game-changer for me. I realized I was lost in the path towards truth by trying to be fair. I should have listened solely to the voice of trusted persons and institutions. You don’t need to immerse yourself in thousands of sources from both sides in order to derive a sound conclusion. You just need to determine the credibility of the source before reading. Remember: in the story, majority of the voices were noise. Only one voice, the only voice that was known to the son as trustworthy, carried the truth.

Finding the truth about history is the same as crafting the Review of Related Literature and Studies for a thesis or dissertation. You need to cite credible sources, not unverified or unreliable articles. So, after gathering and analyzing the relevant data from credible sources, I have now come to my final conclusion: EDSA People Power 1 was not a mistake, like what other people claim. It was, rather, a gift from the past that gave us our freedom today.

Noise is different from truth, so learn the difference. – Rappler.com

Gericho G. Villamin, 22,  is former editor-in-chief of the official student publication of Camiling Colleges, Inc, where he earned his Bachelor’s in Secondary Education, major in English. At present, he is enrolled in Tarlac State University, taking his Masters in Arts in Education, major in English.