ARROYO AND PEOPLE POWER
Centerstage / UPI Asia
Alexander Martin Remollino
Manila, Philippines, February 26 — "The world embraced Edsa I in 1986. The world tolerated Edsa II in 2001. The world will not forgive an Edsa III, but it will instead condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable."
These were the words of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last Feb. 22 as she spoke at the opening of a four-day commemoration of the 1986 People Power revolt along Metro Manila's major thoroughfare Edsa, Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, which ousted the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The Edsa I revolt restored a semblance of democratic governance that had prevailed before Marcos declared martial law in 1972. The popular uprising of 2001 toppled then-President Joseph Estrada, whose family and friends were involved in several corruption scandals.
Arroyo was vice president when Estrada was booted out of office. She took over as the constitutional successor. Eight years after benefiting from a people-power uprising, Arroyo said another Edsa revolt would earn the Philippines "condemnation" from the rest of the world "as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable."
She would do well to check out the results of the latest survey by the socio-economic think-tank IBON Foundation, which shows that the Philippine political scene is already very unstable, even without the country going through yet another Edsa uprising. IBON's survey shows that 66.7 percent of the respondents believe Arroyo should be removed from office.
According to IBON, its survey "was conducted on January 7-16 among 1,500 respondents across various regions and sectors nationwide, and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent."
If the country is now reeling from a political instability that could explode anytime, Arroyo has no one to blame but herself. Her government's systematic sell-out of the country's sovereignty and patrimony, the denial of the people's basic right to live like humans, her family and political allies' involvement in no less than 10 big-time corruption scandals -- all these have created the climate of political instability that looms over the Philippines today. She has provoked the people by her overall mismanagement of the country's affairs.
The world "will not forgive" an Edsa III? That is not for her to say. And even if that were the case, the rightness of an act is not diminished simply because "the world" condemns it.
The Filipino people were right in toppling a tyrannical government in 1986. The Filipino people were right in toppling a corrupt government in 2001. They will be right when they decide to topple a government that is both tyrannical and corrupt -- whatever the world should later think about their doing so.