Was EDSA a historical mistake or a genuine peoples’ revolt?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - February 25, 2020 - 12:00am

Today, we should deeply reflect on the meaning and significance of EDSA to our historical struggles against all forms of oppression, exploitation, social injustice, poverty, and all other social, economic, and political cancers that continue to afflict our nation.

Most of the progressive thinkers among the Filipinos today still strongly believe that the February Revolution in 1986 was one of the nation's finest moments, comparable perhaps to the Cry of Balintawak, the declaration of Independence in Kawit, the Pact of the Biak-Na_Bato, the Death March, and the Battle of Tirad Pass. The Cebuanos compare it to that glorious morning when Lapu-Lapu, that unschooled local chieftain from Mactan, was able to slay a well-armed, well-guarded Portuguese explorer and warrior, Fernando de Magalhaes. The Boholanos would find it similar to the longest revolt by Francisco Dagohoy, and the Maguindanaoans would equate EDSA with the battles and exploits of Sultan Kudarat.

But today, there emerges a school of thought among independent political philosophers in the academic community that advances the proposition that the so-called EDSA Revolution in 1986 was a grand conspiracy between the US and the Church, which used the momentum of outrage resulting from Ninoy Aquino's death to trigger the tumult in February of 1986. I don't really buy that stuff, having been an active participant of that momentous event in our history. I was in Greenhills somewhere between La Salle High and the POEA Building, and I was there surreptitiously not really sure whether I was in the right side of the historic struggle against Marcos.

Ferdinand Marcos started as a very promising leader. The son of a public school teacher and a struggling local politician in Ilocos Norte, he excelled in UP as a Law student. While reviewing for the Bar, was charged and convicted of murdering his father's political opponent, Julio Nalundasan. While in jail, he prepared his own appeal brief, while continuing to review for the Bar. Amazingly, he was not only acquitted by the Supreme Court, he also topped the Bar with a fantastic rating of 98%, the highest ever to be obtained by any Filipino. But he was suspected of cheating, and so he was summoned by the Court and asked to recite the Rules of Court. I don't know why his rating was reduced to 92.

But FM ran for Congress, the Senate, and for president. He never lost an election. He was a brilliant strategist and tactician. He was the only president ever to have been reelected. In 1965 he beat Diosdado Macapagal, the incumbent. In 1969, he won over our own niño bonito, Serging Osmeña, who even lost in many towns in Cebu. Marcos convinced Ramon Durano and Tereso Dumon of the north and Manuel Zosa and Ed Kintanar from the south to abandon a fellow Cebuano. Marcos was a terrific political planner and strategist.

His greatest mistake was to declare martial law and to perpetuate himself for 20 years. He jailed all the opposition, including Ninoy, Tañada, Diokno, and Nene Pimentel. I was one of the small guys as student leader to have shared the honor of having been detained for what I truly believed as the right principles to pursue. When Ninoy was slain in the airport now bearing his name, I said to myself that it was the beginning of FM's end. Whether it was the US, the Church, or the people who ousted him is beside the point. He might have deserved his fate.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with