Edsa spirit challenged in 2016 elections
It is so lamentable that while our Asean neighbors and the rest of the world are steadily climbing up the economic ladder and benefiting from growing political maturity, we in the Philippines have again to go through a hotly contested, divisive political exercise that seems to have brought out the worst in us and set us back as a people. Another revolution, peaceful or violent, is bruited about as a necessary evil or as a possible offshoot of the heated collision of views and interests engendered by this year’s elections.
Despite our having gone through many national and local elections, our voters, sad to say, still exercise their right to suffrage ostensibly for the wrong reasons. So, patronage politics, political dynasties, deception and, oh yes, guns, goons and gold might yet determine the election results.
And for every winning candidate, many more will refuse to accept defeat—a fact that never fails to attend our defective multiparty system. And the losers will most likely metamorphose into the noisy and uncooperative opposition until the next elections. And to think we have not elected a majority president in recent years; it’s about time we reinstituted the two-party system or introduced runoff elections to make sure we get a majority president.
For the ruling coalition, the “yellow diehards” and those who find him irreverent, foul-mouthed, an ally of the Left, the possible (based on latest surveys) presidency of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will be hard to accept. His popularity and dramatic rise in surveys are described as a protest vote against the many shortfalls and failures not only of the Aquino presidency but also of all post-Edsa 1986 administrations.
In effect, Edsa People Power has been ridiculed as obsolete, if not dead. But Edsa 1986 is not just about politics or personalities. Much less is it about the Aquinos versus the Marcoses.
It is about us, Filipinos, as a people, our past, present and future.
Edsa People Power did not happen overnight. But when it finally manifested in a peaceful revolution in February 1986, the world took notice of us, of our principled fight to change a government that had become irrelevant after two decades of betrayal, abuse of power, plunder and tyranny that had made a mockery of justice, freedom and democracy.
In this year’s elections, we prayed that Filipino voters elect leaders who will lawfully institute reforms for the better; that after the din of the elections shall have fizzled out, the new leaders will uphold and practice the real spirit and ideals of the Edsa Revolution; guided by God’s light, respectful of every human being regardless of age, color, gender and faith; and holding everyone, the rich and the poor alike, as equals.
We had hoped that the thieves in government, masquerading as experienced, kindhearted politicians, get rejected despite their “sharing” millions of their loot with the poor. And we look forward to days when the law is no longer manipulated to defend criminals and crooks in government.
Indeed, the elections this year have not been without the usual insincere, incompetent and opportunistic politicians or their ilk making their dominant, if dynastic, presence felt in past elections. We have seen their wanton disregard of human rights, their plundering of public resources, their manipulative governance.
And we have seen the widespread frustration among Filipinos with the continuing government neglect of and indifference and insensitivity to the plight of the vast majority of Filipinos even after the Marcos dictatorship. The irony is, this is the same frustration that many politicians are exploiting to hoodwink the people as they advance their selfish interests.
Against this backdrop, it is imperative for our people to bear in mind that nation-building is a long, ever-ascending climb to a better existence and future.
In a society where ang magnakaw ng tinapay ay nakukulong, ngunit ang magnanakaw ng milyon o bilyon na pera ay nakakalusot (one who steals bread gets jailed, but a plunderer of millions or billions of pesos goes scot-free), we once again challenge the new leaders to stand true to their promised reforms. Most important of all, let’s unite and pray that we learn from the lessons of history and keep aflame the real spirit of
Edsa and remain God-centered, hopeful and vigilant for our liberties and the cause of justice and truth. Only thus can we transform our country into a better homeland.
Tirso G. Serrano served as former assistant general manager for the airport development and corporate affairs unit of the Manila International Airport Authority.
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