This is the homily of Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, former private secretary of Jaime Cardinal Sin, during the 36th anniversary of the People Power Revolution on Friday, February 25. Villegas delivered this homily at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in Dagupan City.
Thank God for the gift of memory. We celebrate the memory of EDSA 1986 by celebrating the memory of the supper of the Lord the night before He died for us. The bloodless EDSA People Power Revolution was hailed by the world in those years as the Filipino’s gift to the world seeking peace. It was a revolution of the rosary. It was a revolution in a picnic. It was a singing revolution. It was a dangerous yet smiling revolution. It was also called the yellow revolution.
How did yellow become the color of protest in those years? It started with a song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” which was about a soldier coming home unsure if he was still welcome to the family. It was the song that was supposed to welcome Ninoy Aquino coming home from exile. He was not able to hear the happy song anymore. He was killed as he came down from the plane while soldiers were on his left and right.
In those years of gloom and discouragement, downheartedness and dejection, depression and despondency, we needed the glow of sunshine and the hope of a new day. After the killing of Ninoy Aquino, dark clouds of fear, betrayal, and blatant corruption seemed to hover over our land. Yellow became our color of hope and fresh optimism against the odds. Yellow was the color of protest against our own pessimism. We wanted to reject our own discouragement.
After the happy yellow revolution of 1986 that celebrated our joy as a Christian nation, our colors became our reasons for division and derision. Dilawan became a term of mockery. Pulahan became a fearsome term for the NPA or the color of the Marcos loyalists. Orange and green became the color of Erap para sa mahirap. Others changed colors every election depending on who was likely to win. Hay buhay!
What kind of colors do we need? Is leadership simply a battle and change of colors? What does the country really need today? Was it really yellow that gave us hope 36 years ago at EDSA? Is it likely that we became so engrossed with colors to identify with that we failed to see what really matters?
Does God have colors? Do not all colors belong to God? How can we allow colors to divide us?
Any color can give hope; any color can bring joy; any color can excite; any color can rouse positivity – if that color is backed by clarity and transparency. While the eyes of our history remember yellow when we remember EDSA 1986, it was really the transparency of life and the clarity of vision and purpose that really gave us hope then. Transparency gives hope. Clarity lights many fires for honesty.
Crony capitalism is not transparent. Graft in plunder proportions is not transparent. Repression and murder of political opponents is not transparent. Vulgarity of words and the medley of falsehood are not transparent. Treason and treachery are not transparent. Ambiguity of vision is confusing and not transparent. These are all forces of darkness and their color is sin. They have no shade of godliness.
The transparency of honesty is refreshing. The transparency of sincerity ignites the soul. The transparency of humility rouses a despondent heart. The transparency of visionary leadership boosts our common morale.
Transparency allows light to shine through. Transparency is simplicity. To be transparent is to be great in the kingdom of God.
EDSA 1986 may be a yellow revolution as history writers saw the yellow banners, ribbons, and confetti; but it was more a revolution of transparency, a casting down of the arrogant dictator so that the pure and humble may reign. It was a victory for transparency of leadership. It was not about Marcos or Aquino. It was about clarity or ambiguity. It was about transparency or trickery.
Transparency and clarity are virtues so much lacking in our time that is why we revolt against indistinct speeches and vague promises. The rally for unity without respect for the clarity of truth is a team of criminal syndicates. It enslaves not uplifts.
God has become transparent in Jesus Christ. The invisible hand of God has removed the barrier Himself and now we can see God. Conscience must be clear and transparent always. That clear voice of conscience must be heard and obeyed, lest we ruin ourselves.
Let us celebrate the glorious days of EDSA 1986 by restoring transparency in our lives and clarity in each word we say. Reject the dishonest and choose the clear. Reject the liars who hide in ambiguous words and choose the wise and precise. Reject the dark example of those who disregard the law and choose those whose lives allow the light of God to shine through.
EDSA was a revolution of hope and joy and sunshine not because it was yellow but because it was a revolution of transparent clarity. There is no joy in lying. There is no life in dishonesty. If happiness and new life is what we seek, transparency is the only way and clarity is the only path.
We need another revolution and it is a revolution for clarity of truth and transparent honesty. It is revolution against lies that blur our vision. It is a revolution for leadership that is inspiring, a politics of principles not personalities.
Mabuhay ang totoo at matapat! Manindigan tayo para sa totoo at matapat! Sundin ang malinaw at maliwanag! Hanapin ang malinis at huwag pabola sa walang ibubuga. – Rappler.com
Socrates B. Villegas is archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan. He is also former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.