EDSA People Power Revolution

[Newspoint] Falsifying EDSA

Vergel O. Santos

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[Newspoint] Falsifying EDSA
If EDSA and the 14 dark years that had preceded it were allowed to be supplanted by falsehoods, we'd be left with nothing in living memory to draw on for inspiration for self-liberation

It would have been unimaginable if Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had let EDSA Day pass in its first commemoration during his presidency without him concocting falsehoods about it. The day, after all, marks his father, himself, and the rest of the family as the supreme villains of Philippine postwar history.

Thirty-seven years ago on that day, February 25, his father – close kin and cronies in tow – fled to foreign exile, leaving a trail of murder and plunder over 14 years of dictatorship. At his heels were a million or so citizens massed for four days on a stretch of metropolitan Manila highway that was EDSA. 

Ferdinand Jr. wants all those 14 years, as well as those four days, if not forgotten, remembered in the version he now peddles. With all the falsehood-mongering devices he’s known to work with, he tries to divert the nation’s commemorative attention to the 24th, the day before their flight. He laid the ground for this particular tampering with history by declaring that day a holiday to propagate the fiction that, by his father’s grace and mercy, by holding back his troops on the 24th, the revolting masses were spared being massacred. 

The fiction is backed with footage, cherry-picked out of context, showing Ferdinand Sr. ordering his trigger-happy armed forces chief, General Fabian Ver, to hold off. Who can forget that television dramatics – Ver thirsting for blood, Marcos frustrating him?

The truth is that, on that very day, the cornered dictator was buying time for his escape. The next day, he was off, with loot valued at $10 billion, assured asylum in Hawaii by US President Ronald Reagan. He was too ill, however, to enjoy his plunder. He died three and a half years later, but a couple of years after that, his family was back in the country, back in the embrace of high society, and soon enough, back in power.

Their comeback was mounted on a PR offensive to falsify history whose crowing successes were Ferdinand Sr.’s burial among the nation’s heroes (on the sponsorship of President Rodrigo Duterte and by order of his Supreme Court, in 2016) and Junior’s election last May, as president. Lately, the campaign has been trained on the EDSA rising for the obvious purpose of rewriting the historical truth that decidedly reveals the Marcoses for what they are.

Another piece of EDSA fiction features Ferdinand Sr.’s right-hand man and later betrayer, Juan Ponce Enrile. The quintessential all-weather politician that he is, Enrile has been able to re-ingratiate himself with the Marcoses – he is now Junior’s chief legal counsel. At 99, he must be the oldest living false witness to our times. He especially likes to portray himself and his Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) as the nation’s deliverer by plotting against Marcos and, upon being found out, triggering the EDSA rising.

Actually, all that Enrile and his RAM boys – a mere 300 or so of them – provided was an occasion, a fateful incident admittedly, but one that would have resulted in their defeat if the people had not protected them; the people only rightfully seized the occasion for themselves, on the urging of the archbishop of Manila, Jaime Cardinal Sin, the true leader of the EDSA revolt, who had turned it into a moral and bloodless one. 

If Enrile’s plot had succeeded, he and his plotters would have seized power not for the people but for themselves as they had quite obviously intended. In fact, betraying such treasonous predisposition soon and often enough, they also plotted against Cory Aquino, the dictator’s democratic successor.

A not only self-serving but mindless tendency to adventurism may be gleaned, indeed, from a television interview with a RAM leader on one of those EDSA anniversaries. Asked what made the plotters give up plotting in the end, he replied that they realized they “wouldn’t know what to do with Cory” if they managed to depose and capture her.

Didn’t know what to do with Cory after having actually mounted seven of nine plots against her!

If EDSA and the 14 dark years that had preceded it were allowed to be supplanted by such falsehoods as propagated by the likes of Marcos and Enrile, we’d be left with nothing in living memory to draw on for inspiration for self-liberation. – Rappler.com

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