Robredo’s liberation and millennials rising

As for the Supreme Court case, I would tread very carefully if I were in the Robredo camp. I would monitor closely what is actually happening and not react to rumors. From what I can gather so far, and based on precedent, the Marcos petition is years away from resolution, at least a year or two. The key thing to watch here are the appointments Duterte will make to the Court and whether they will shift the balance of votes in the Court. Of course, vigilance is good in cases like this.

Two weeks ago, when the Marcoses, with the connivance of government officials, surreptitiously and dishonorably buried their patriarch in the Libingan ng Bayani, I was ready to give up on this country. But then the millennials came out in full force to protest the burial of the dictator and plunderer.

The award-winning documentary film maker Ditsi Carolino filmed this remarkable coming out of the young, ending with a haunting version of Bayan Ko. That made me cry, remembering the hundreds of times I sang this in the last 40 years and the tens of thousands of times Filipinos in this and the last century who have sung this protest song.

United front

This is only the beginning of a democracy and human rights movement and we must learn the lessons from the past. Among the many, above all, it is important to have a united front. Let's pay attention to what could distract and divide us – for example, transforming this movement to become mainly anti-Duterte or worse to collaborate with military or other regime change adventurists. 

Already rumors of plots and subplots abound, including of a sick president who has no control of the police and military. As I have said before, an extra-legal ouster of a popularly elected president will only make matters worse as we have seen at EDSA 2, which ushered in 10 years of bad governance.  A military takeover will mean giving up many freedoms for an uncertain period of time as we are now seeing in Thailand. So let's not go there.

Many of us from the older generations come to this movement with our ideological biases, anti-communist or other prejudices for example, or pro- or anti Aquino sentiments. Most millennials I know, and I teach hundreds of them all over the country and in many schools, do not share these. Let's not pass our prejudices to them for the sake of unity.

We must increase our ranks so that democracy and human rights will be successfully defended. There will be tough times ahead, maybe even martial law. We must stand together when that happens.

The rising up of the millennials and the liberation of Leni Robredo is not coincidental. It’s a gift for Christmas. It gives us hope. –


The author is former dean of the Ateneo School of Government