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Opinion

Valor: 1986 snap election and 2022 people’s campaign  

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

For a long time, April 9 was declared as the Fall of Bataan Day.

Gratefully, Executive Order No. 203, dated June 30, 1987, proclaimed April 9 as “Araw Ng Kagitingan” to pay tribute to the valor of Filipinos who courageously fought during the Second World War.

From 1987, instead of celebrating defeat, Filipinos now celebrate, rightfully, the heroism of all those who genuinely fought to defend our country.

We honor on this day as well not only all Filipinos in the past who courageously defended our country and people but those at present who continue to defend the freedom and sovereignty of our country and our people.

Today, we are also reminded of the courage/valor of our people who toppled the Marcos dictatorship in 1986.

Many Filipinos may not know or remember, especially our youth, that the 1986 snap election suddenly allowed by Ferdinand Marcos was a major factor that led to People Power.

Every Filipino ought to know and remember that the dictator Marcos unexpectedly announced the snap election for February 7, 1986 during his November 3, 1985 interview on “This Week with David Brinkley”.

Marcos’ announcement caught everyone by surprise, both those in his circle and among those who opposed him and his dictatorship.

Despite less than nine months’ campaign period, Cory Aquino, the reluctant widow, agreed to run against the dictator.

Filipinos showed their courage by actively participating in that 1986 snap election. Enthusiastic/committed supporters of Cory Aquino in huge numbers congregated in Luneta. Makati turned yellow with confetti from supporters.

Earlier, in 1983, Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. advised:

“We cannot fight Marcos with arms because he has so many. We cannot fight him with money, because we do not have any. The only way we can fight him is with morality.”

And Filipinos responded with their moral vote during the 1986 snap election.

Cory Aquino came out the winner, according to the count of the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) but the Commission on Elections declared Marcos the winner.

Despite the blatant electoral fraud, “on February 20, 1986, Marcos proclaimed himself victor of the snap elections, and was set to retain the presidency; on the same day, Corazon C. Aquino led a people’s victory rally at Luneta and called for civil disobedience, which included the boycotting of known Marcos crony institutions. Two million people took up the cause with her at that rally; stocks of singled-out companies fell the very next day. Marcos responded with the threat of reinstating martial law, should Cory Aquino lead a nationwide strike; he, too, orchestrated a mass demonstration of support --reports emerged that ?12 million had been earmarked to pay supporters to attend a proclamation rally in his honor at Luneta.” The historic events that followed showed the defeat/end of Marcos and his totalitarian rule.

“The millions that gathered for the 1986 People Power Revolution --the culmination of a series of public protests, often dispersed if at all given leave-- was a nation wresting itself, as one, back from a dictator.”

Now, another reluctant widow, Leni Robredo, is running for president against Marcos Jr.

Her people’s campaign seems to be a repeat of the 1986 People Power story, especially the huge crowds throughout the country attending rallies for her and her team.

The spirit of commitment/dedication to allow the dawn of a pink tomorrow based on truth, freedom, and genuine servant-leadership palpable among the Leni supporters at present is reminiscent of the same 1986 People Power moral crusade against the Marcos dictatorship.

Courageous Leni supporters seem undaunted despite experiencing red-tagging/other harassment hurled at them.

Will their brand/surge of people support/vote see Leni defeat Marcos Jr. this May 2022?

ARAW NG KAGITINGAN

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