They may be facing plunder charges but some of the acknowledged “heroes” of the EDSA People Power Revolt will not be shunned from the events planned for the 28th anniversary of the peaceful uprising next week.
Some people may now look at the “heroes” as villains after witnesses came out to implicate them in the pork barrel scandal.
But despite the accusations, the big players of EDSA will be at the forefront of the celebrations, as they have traditionally done over the years.
The “EDSA [revolution]belongs to the people and it will never be affected by the problems that are being faced by some of the players who are part of it,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview.
Former President and Armed Forces chief Fidel V. Ramos, former Defense Minister and now senator Juan Ponce Enrile and former army colonel now senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan will lead the wreath-laying at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City on Monday, January 24.
The wreath-laying is one of the events lined up by Malacanang to mark the EDSA revolt.
On February 22, 1986, Ramos and Enrile jointly announced their withdrawal of support for then President Ferdinand Marcos, setting off the chain of events that culminated in the Marcos family’s abandoning Malacañang four days later.
Almost three decades later, Enrile stands accused of receiving kickbacks from projects funded by the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
Honasan, who like Enrile is a senator, was said to have poured P150 million of his PDAF into ghost projects.
But Valte said the accusations against Enrile and Honasan will not mar this year’s observance of the peaceful revolt that saw Corazon Aquino, mother of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, assuming the presidency.
“This year, it will be a little different and we will be looking beyond the historical context of the commemoration to recognize the people who quietly kept the spirit of People Power alive by standing by their fellow Filipinos in times of crisis. The EDSA spirit lives on even outside February 25 when Filipinos help each other in the toughest of times,” she said.
In an unprecedented move, the Palace has decided to hold the “salubungan” or the meeting of civilians and soldiers on EDSA, in Cebu on February 25. Corazon Aquino stayed at the Carmelite monastery in Cebu when the military broke ranks with Marcos. Millions of people massed on EDSA after Jaime Cardinal Sin called on the public to support and protect the soldiers holed up in Camp Aguinaldo.
On Monday, the President will attend two town meetings—in Cateel, Davao Oriental, and Loon, Bohol—to get updates on the recovery efforts there in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda and a powerful earthquake.
Some Catholic bishops downplayed Aquino’s plan to celebrate the EDSA anniversary in Cebu, saying the visit will have little impact on the people.
Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said the President should have visited the calamity areas immediately after the disasters struck.
“It is water under the bridge. Why did it take him too long to visit Northern Cebu and the victims of Yolanda? It would have been meaningful if he did it right after Yolanda took place,” Jumoad said.
“The action is good, but the timing has less impact,” he added.
At least 15 people were killed by the magnitude 7.2 quake that shook Bohol and Cebu on October 15, 2013.
Recently, two mayors in Cebu lamented that the national government has yet to provide financial assistance for the rehabilitation of their towns.
Jumoad however clarified that Aquino’s visit to Cebu is “a good expression of solidarity and compassion” to the survivors of last year’s calamities.
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes sees Aquino’s visit to Cebu as “a redeeming gesture” of the President.
“That can be a powerful way to call the attention to the plight of the Filipino victims of this calamity,” Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez said.
Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco hoped that the President would come to realize that the poor have the power to transform everything in society, including the economy and politics.