Why the hell do we celebrate EDSA I, anyway?


There have been 20 countries in the post-war era that had peaceful “revolutions” similar to our ESDA uprising in 1986 – more accurately, nonviolent, extra-constitutional regime changes, especially transitions from dictatorship to democracy. Thirteen of these were the so-called “color revolutions,” said to have been inspired in some way by the EDSA “Yellow Revolution.”

But it is only the Philippines that celebrates such an event, and as a national holiday, with all the stage spectacles, speeches and parades.

As examples, in our neighborhood there had been two ruthless dictatorships. First was the 31-year regime of Indonesia’s Suharto – who was rated in 2004 as the most corrupt political leader in the 20th century by Transparency International. Respected historians estimated that 500,000 Indonesians, mostly Chinese, were killed by the pogrom he ordered when he wrested power from Sukarno in 1965. About 1,000 Indonesians were killed by the police in people-power-like demonstrations that led to Suharto’s fall in 1998.

Does Indonesia have a holiday to commemorate this peaceful revolution? Nope.

Sukarno wouldn’t even be arrested or forced into exile by the US. He died at 86 years old in 2008 due to heart and kidney complications. He was buried in a state military funeral with full honors, with the Indonesian commandos as his honor guard.

The second iron-fisted dictator in Asia was Korea’s Park Chung Hee, who ruled for 17 years. His Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) was so bold and ruthless that it was known to have even kidnapped opposition Koreans abroad. Ironically, Park was shot pointblank and killed in a banquet by the KCIA director in 1979. After a two-year transition in which another military man ruled as an unelected leader, Korea went on to become a fully democratic state. Does Korea celebrate this transition, demonize Park and consider as hero the KCIA director who killed him?

The People Power template (upper left) didn’t work in China with its Tiananmen uprising (lower left). As Americans designed it, though, it was easily copied in Eastern Europe, e.g., in Poland (upper right) and Ukraine (lower right) to batter what Reagan called “The Evil Empire.” But these don’t have “People Power” celebrations, for very good reasons.

The People Power template (upper left) didn’t work in China with its Tiananmen uprising (lower left). As Americans designed it, though, it was easily copied in Eastern Europe, e.g., in Poland (upper right) and Ukraine (lower right) to batter what Reagan called “The Evil Empire.” But these don’t have “People Power” celebrations, for very good reasons.

Nope. Park’s daughter, Park Geun-hye, was even elected as South Korea’s 11th and first female president in 2012.

Lech Walesa during a visit to the Philippines told Corazon Aquino that the movement that overthrew the communists in Poland in 1989 was “inspired” by the People Power uprising she led in 1986. Does Poland have its version of our People Power celebration? Nope.

Fighting during the 1989 Romanian revolution (Revoluția Română) led to more than 1,000 killed, and after a two-hour kangaroo court, Nicolae Ceaușescu, who ruled the country with an iron fist for 42 years, was executed, together with his wife.

Does Romania commemorate this historical people-power event? Nope.

We can go on and on, with data on each of the 20 countries that had people-power-like peaceful revolutions. Not one celebrates its extra-constitutional, nonviolent regime change. Significantly, what Indonesia, South Korea, Poland, and Romania, as well as most of these 21 countries, celebrate as national holidays is Constitution Day. In our case, Constitution Day is a “working holiday” and thus, passes unnoticed. No wonder, the Constitution here is routinely defied.

No People Power celebrations

What these countries mostly celebrate – other than religious days – are their independence dates from foreign masters. None of them celebrates the fall of their own dictatorships. There are three major reasons our governments have celebrated People Power since 1987.

First is that EDSA I was such a good template for Cory’s master, the US, to disseminate worldwide to rouse people under communist dictatorships to revolution. The EDSA template would have been swiftly forgotten if there were no EDSA I commemorations yearly, complete with videos of heroic ordinary people, nuns and priests stopping tanks.

The US’ first target was China’s democracy movement, which however, failed. Where do you think that young Chinese got the idea to stand ramrod in front of a tank in that iconic Tiananmen Square uprising of 1989?

Remember also that the 1980s was the height of Reagan’s crusade against the Evil Empire, the Soviet Union. The US had actually first focused on Poland, and it has been indisputably proven that the Central Intelligence Agency funneled, starting in 1980, a total of $1 billion to Lech Walesa’s “Solidarity” trade union that was the vanguard of the Polish revolution. Televised scenes and press photos of EDSA I proved much, much cheaper to rouse the Poles.

Indeed, even the US officials and the Yellow Cult have boasted that EDSA I , the “Yellow Revolution” – inspired the peaceful revolutions, especially the “color revolutions” (e.g., Czechoslovakia’s 1989 Velvet Revolution), that overthrew communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

The inspiration wasn’t just on the level of inspiring morale. Formulating and executing the political tactics for Cory and the People Power movement was the political consultancy group Sawyer Miller, (See James Harding, Alpha Dogs: The Americans Who Turned Political Spin into a Global Business.) After EDSA, the firm’s prestige shot up, their ‘technology,’ even if pejoratively described as the art of the political spin, was studied, their political-consultancy business model adopted by a host of new Washington-based firms.

I suspect that Sawyer Miller was even directly contracted by the CIA, as that Hardin book read: “When the firm’s principal David Sawyer died in 1999, (US) Sen. Daniel Moynihan stood up on the floor of the US Senate to mourn him, saying, among other things, that Sawyer ‘helped to open up the governments of Eastern Europe and Latin America by introducing mass communication into their electoral processes.”

The US also realized in EDSA I how the media could be so powerful in fomenting revolutions, especially that new media – the 24-hour Cable News Network.

EDSA would be the first revolution covered live on TV. Exhilarated after helping a revolution in the Philippines, journalists lusting after a Pulitzer Prize, would rush to whatever country seemed on the verge of a revolution.

While the EDSA template failed in China, it was remarkably successful in Eastern Europe and even the Middle East, starting with Poland and Romania in 1989 to the “Arab Spring” revolts in the 21st century.

Falsely portrays a united nation

The second reason why we have been forced to celebrate the 1986 EDSA I: It was through this and its accompanying demonization of Marcos and martial law that the Yellow Cult has tried to paint the scenario of a national consensus that removed the strongman from power.

It was an utter embarrassment for us as a nation, really, for the US to intervene in the ‘revolution’ by fooling Marcos that he would be flown to his home province of Ilocos Norte. Instead, he was flown to Hawaii in a forced exile.

The scenes of former National Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and then Armed Forces Chief Fidel V. Ramos staking their lives at Camp Crame, preparing for Marcos’ attack, of the helicopter squadron defecting just as they were thought to be positioning to attack Camp Crame, the crowds stopping the tanks in the street – all these images of high drama had to be shown on TV again and again to justify the revolution, to create the illusion that this was a national revolution.

However, the first presidential election after EDSA I, in 1992, provided hard proof that the country was so divided over EDSA and Marcos’ fall.

Marcos widow Imelda garnered 10 percent of the votes, while his top crony, Eduardo Cojuangco, received 18 percent. If the two had gotten together instead, they would have gathered 28 percent of the votes, bigger than Ramos’ winning 24 percent or Miriam Santiago’s 20 percent. Isn’t that enough proof that a big part of Philippine society didn’t support EDSA I and wanted the Marcos regime back, even if just through his wife and top crony? Thirty years after, Marcos’ “Solid North” and Imelda’s Eastern Visayas, and swathes of Mindanao continue to refuse to be part of the “people” of the People Power uprising. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s strong showing in the polls, even if this is unsurprising since he is running against political pygmies, especially Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes 4th, is proof that for many Filipinos, Martial Law wasn’t the era of the Dark Lord, as Aquino portrays it.

I have explained in my column Wednesday what is the third reason for People Power celebrations: It conceals the reality that the ruling Philippine elite continues to screw the masses, regardless of whether the nation is ruled by a democracy or a dictatorship.

It is not coincidental that the EDSA I celebrations have religious undertones. In ancient and medieval times, religion served to conceal the fact that the pharaoh, the king, or the emperor, together with their clans, exploited the broad masses of the working classes through the lie that these rulers were anointed by, or even sons, of their deity. The EDSA I celebrations portray the fiction that we are a nation of equals, and we have become poor (“condemned”) only because of Marcos (“the devil’), and were saved by Cory (“the Messiah”).

On the other hand, countries that had people-power types of regime changes don’t have such annual people-power celebrations because they were honest and clever enough to realize that such would only exacerbate the division in their countries. After all, even dictatorships that had lasted long had to be supported by a significant section of their nation, and their fall would, of course, alienate those sections.

The EDSA I celebrations have only been divisive for our country, as its spokesman Aquino has been. We should stop this inanity if we are to be united as a nation in the coming years.


President Aquino actually made things worse for some people, just as he is stepping down soon this year. Since 1987, the February 25 EDSA I commemoration had been a working holiday. Aquino, however, issued a proclamation in July last year making it a nonworking holiday, which will every year thenceforth add to the misery of millions of laborers paid on a daily, no-work, no-pay basis. (The laborers and the contractor working on a renovation in a friend’s house were livid. Even if the contractor was willing to pay double as required by labor laws, his workers couldn’t be let into the subdivision, because it was a nonworking holiday! His workers would spend a day doing nothing, earning nothing.)

It was intended to be a big political ad for the May elections: Aquino’s candidates Manuel Roxas and Leni Robredo would be on the event’s stage with him, and portrayed as the crusaders for People Power whom Filipinos need to support.

That’s a big blunder, though.  After 30 years with the country remaining poor, Filipinos have gone tired of this People Power nonsense.



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  1. read the encyclopedia and we would learn and find out that the world’s economy during the early 1980’s was down, including US and Europe. the Philippine economy’s dismal condition was only exacerbated by the assassination of Ninoy Aquino; that’s why the government later defaulted and could not pay its debt because nobody wanted to extend loan anymore to the Philippine government.

    and the opposition and political enemies of Marcos rejoiced when the economy went down, because finally their long objective of deposing Marcos was near. even before the assassination of Ninoy, the enemies of Marcos destabilized the Philippine economy by sowing fear and chaos.

    Series of bombings occurred in Metro Manila. One of the accused in the bombing was Fil-Am Victor Lovely of the Light-a-Fire movement. He was injured when the bombs inside his room in YMCA Manila prematurely exploded.

    Even Filipino politicians in the US, who are called Steak Commandos plotted and resorted to terrorism by bombing Metro Manila. Former Sen. Heherson Alvarez admitted this years ago, when he was interviewed by another newspaper.

    Marcos was trying to protect the Filipinos but he was portrayed as a villain by his political enemies and the yellow media. and the villains who resorted to bombings and terrorism, became patriots instead.

  2. Aren’t the Filipinos sick and tired of the damned Aquinos and Marcoses?
    They are all sick in the mind and their tribes should not increase!
    Exterminate all of them!

  3. past is past anyway. there is no point of blaming someones fault before. whos right and whos wrong. . .. it wont help our nation to gain respect from the others. it’ll just makes us looks like a crap country. all we can do now, is to vote the right one. . . a true leader which will uplift us from all this wasted years that we have. i was born in a very poor family. . trying to make a change, working hard, earning every cent, just to give my family a good future. . . but i still cant see it. still far from reality. i dont wanna die and leaving my family with nothing. . . and this is all because of the leaders that doesnt know how to lead. . . naway maging responsable ang lahat ng mamamayan pagdating sa pagpili ng taong gustong maging leader. . . hindi ung porke kilala ang pamilya, ndi ung porque mayaman, sikat o anu pa man. ung taong nararamdaman nya ang paghihirap ng bawat pilipino. ung taong gustong makita ang lahat na nakangiti, ndi natatakot maglakad ng gabi sa lansangan. ung taong kayang irespeto ang lahat, para sya din ay mairespeto ng mga tao. . . sana naman, sa mga susunod na leader o mamumuno ng bansa natin, sana naman, may gantong katangian. kasi po. MAHIRAP MAGING MAHIRAP. . .

  4. Only the yellow ribbon groups are the one who celebrates this so called people power to glorify aquinos father and mother as self proclaim heroes by the yellow umbrella since they are the one who benifits in terms of their businesses and lifestyles. Not the pilipino people as a whole

  5. Ninoy, a collaborator of CPP-NPA rebels and enemy of the state, became a hero because of the propaganda of the yellow media.

    Let’s correct history and restore the name of our airport to its original name: Manila International Airport.

  6. Lets try a President from the south. Medyo hindi na maganda ang pamumulitika dito sa Luzon, Pare pareho na, ibang mukha nga lang. pero ganoon din. tsk tsk tsk.

  7. EDSA 1 is a celebration of peaceful loving people with like minded purpose and belief that put their lives in harms way 30 years ago to stop the abuses of a brutal dictator and his greedy family. People like you, your family and your associates are beneficiaries of that revolution that you now enjoy, the freedom to oppose those that fought for your freedom.

    Christians around the world celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ that took place more than two thousand years ago. The Jews celebrate the Passover, to remember and commemorate their liberation by God from their slavery in Egypt more than two thousand years ago. Americans celebrate 4th of July to commemorate their independence from the British empire.

    Celebrations of important events are for like minded people to cherish and it does not matter if it will take 30 years, 60 years or a thousand years, we will continue to do it for the sake of the country and its future generation.

    • Ok,EDSA was having a rally, but during that time the rest of the country was busines as usual. It was the rich who manipulated the media. The oligarch claims most of the wealth.
      Aquino’s are incompetent, moron

  8. Demetrio Ponce on

    The usual tirade of this Daang Matuwid crowd is to blame everything on their political adversaries (from Martial Law to the administration of Gloria Arroyo) instead of taking responsibility for their failure to improve people’s lives. The number one proponent of this is BS Aquino himself, who, every time he opens his mouth he attacks his opponents that further divides this country. Rather than heal the wounds of the past he resorts to incendiary rhetoric which further alienates a great number of people. Do we really want divisiveness or unity in our country? The Filipino people must decide on May 9, 2016.

  9. ernie del rosario on

    A certain hue of yellow is how the waste we flush away everyday sitting down in our comfort rooms looks like. EDSA has turned to that exact hue a long time ago . Why haven’t we thrown away this unwanted thing a long time ago ? Umabot pa ng 30 years !

  10. People Power my ass. What this movement brought? Misery, expensive water and electrical cost, all basic foodstuff beyond the reach of poor, contractual labor rise, greedy business monopolist were back! People power kiss my ass!

  11. Cory had 6 years term, Ramos 6 years, Pnoy also 6 years…They didnt help the so-called Martial Law victims nor pursue cases against the Marcoses nor did they look for Ninoy’s killer..tapos ngayon sila pa me gana magreklamo!

  12. Aquino trying to instill EDSA 1 to every citizens mind just to keep and hide their true identity…the lies behind their evil intention and still flaming up that MARCOS is the reason of sufferings of every Filipino.

    …But AQUINO couldn’t hide it as the truth prevails. Young Marcos is RISING BACK and ABNOY won’t stop this to happen.

    • Marcos was the reason for for the sufferings of Filipino except those bootlickers Ilocano that idolized f. marcos even if he were to grow satanic horns he will be loved by marcos loyalist. You can have MARTIAL LAW
      YOU LOVED SO MUCH AND i’LL HAVE DEMOCRACY anytime. PWEEE!! for marcoses and all marcos loyalist. May elephant flea infest your kili-kili. Morons.

    • Kahit anong sabihin nyo po sa amin mga ilocano sa harap nang dios malinis po aming hangarin pag hanga sa amin kadugong ilocano . Masama man pagtingin mo sa amin mga ilocano ok lang iyan po ang iyong opinyon sa harap nang diyos pantay pantay po tayo God Bless you and your family

    • EDSA I is a lie. People should know the truth behind EDSA I. Cojuangco-Aquino should stop deceiving the people.

  13. Mr. Tiglao, I am amazed how we researched you are into history.

    I bought one of the book Alpha Dog by James Harding (Yellow Colored) though i haven’t finished reading it yet but it opens my mind partially on what had happened before EDSA 1.

    I totally agree with you on this one!

    • Interesting ano? Hope you noted that Cory’s close in PR adviser is Malloch Brown, “Lord” na ngayon and chairman of Smartmatic!

    • Were you alive during Martial Law? Can you name 3,240 Filipinos who were tortured and killed AFTER 1986? Because that’s how many people were executed during Marcos’ regime. In addition to the 70,000 who were arrested and detained without the protection of the writ of Habeas Corpus.

  14. Let’s just get rid of this dysfunctional government and
    forget about Edsa Yellow revolution.
    My all out support to Bongbong Marcos, he’s the most
    Qualified for Vice-president or even President.

  15. Bert O. Romero on

    Let’s stop perpetuating the fiction that Marcos thought he and his minions were to be flown to Paoay and not to Hawaii. According to Ronald Reagan’s ” the Reagan Diaries”
    Reagan told Marcos he would not be flown to his home in Northern Luzon , as Marcos had indeed requested, but to Guam upon the insistence of Cory to avoid the possibility of a civil war.
    Paoay and Hawaii of course make excellent rhyme for propaganda purposes.

  16. Let us disabuse our minds about EDSA being a rallying point for good governance.

    The corruption we used to know pre EDSA usually consisted of pangungupit o pang-uumit sa pondo ng gobyerno at pangungumisyon sa mga public works projects.

    It has worsened in the post EDSA years to ,more despicable for modus of stealing public and project funds as alleged in the reported 60-40 or worse 70-30 ratio in favor of the “for the boys” against the for actual project split in the 90s to the outright siphoning of whole public project funds through the use of bogus NGOs and fictitious or non-existent projects in the 2000s as disclosed in the celebrated but now mysteriously muted Janet Napoles scam case.

    It has even worsened during the PNoy administration with the DAF and PDAF used to bribe solons to impeach the Chief Justice, funds which use were never satisfactorily explained or accounted for, some even reportedly going to Napoles’s bogus NGOs.and bogus projects.

    Through his privatization and PPP schemes purportedly to promote investments in public works and social services, hundred of billions of public funds just went to favored companies in form of credits, subsidies, tax incentives with certain close cabinet secretaries benefiting from the anomalous sweetheart deals.

    Worser , hundreds of billions of pesos have been allocated and spent purportedly to improve various social infrastructures and services as rail and mass transportation systems with no visible/palpable effects and benefits to the masses. This while consigning the poor Filipino taxpayers, users and consumers to long years of high tariff regimes to satiate private profit motives under various onerous concession agreements.

    Worst, instead of prioritizing the improvement, modernization and expansion of our rail and mass transpo systems, PNoy government has been pouring hundreds of billions of pesos into infrastructure projects that would only benefit the rich and the moneyed as the skyway to the NAIA and that linking the SLEX to the NLEX. Really who can afford paying the certainly exorbitant toll fees in those!

    Pnoy and his chief candidate Mar Roxas used to claim that they have not stolen and will never steal from the public coffers.

    What do you call all these?

    • i totally agree!!!and most of the PPP projects are given to sn miguel who own by his relative!

  17. Without accepting it, Tiglao is celebrating the fruits of EDSA everyday. He is free to write anything as he pleases without fear of being arbitrarily arrested and detained, if not salvaged, as what happened during Martial Law. He is a direct beneficiary of EDSA with his fat fee as a writer without even paying for it.

    • Amen to that Bro. Even the tobacco chewing Ramos and an age old dinosour Enrile both supported Marcos’s MARTIAL LAW for 21 odd years are now enjoying life under Democracy. They are not suppose to participate in a Democratic government. PWEE!!!!! for these thieves. Another product of the SOLID NORTH that’s include Binays. PWEE!!!, PWEE!!!!, Pweee!!!!!

    • Of course I’m thankful that I can write freely. But do we need this Yellow event every year which just divides the country more? Btw I was with a business day during martial law and we were free to write anything — just as long as we have proof. And I did with regards to behest loans, fudging of international reserve data, and the first survey by Mangahas team!

    • Tama! They would amount to nothing without the hatred. Yun lang ang identity ng mga dilaw- ang galit sa puso. Mga ipokrito. May hawak na rosaryo ngunit ang puso ay puno ng paghuhusga at galit. Pasalamat kayo sa mga Marcos dahil meron villain sa buhay ninyo para kayo palaging bida. HIndi kayo matahimik dahil hindi naman kayo tutuong mga bida- mga fake lang kayo at opportunists dahil ginagamit lang ninyo ang taong bayan para sa sarili ninyong kapakanan at kapangyarihan- yan ang mga “santong” Aquino” at mga Yellow “angels” or “monsters”? Mga “holier than thou” yellow cult!

  18. Enlightening article Mr. Tiglao !!! … I hope the Pilipino people , misled by the Media hired by the Aquinos and Cohorts , would be able to read your article to know the truth behind the so called “People Power”.

  19. Again.. This is the peoples fault for being laid back and pwede na iyan attitude. I knew back then and even wrote in editorials that our people power revolt is a phony revolt becsuse the main actors like jpe, honasan, fvr, etc. Just changed uniforms to yellow and the root csuses of poverty and oppression were not really disappeared and resolved up to thid day. Although i say pnoy did some good policies and improvements and there more needs to be done to put the country back on line.

  20. The impressed and impressionable Noynoy was so awed, and so proud, as he heard Uncle Butz over radyo bandido exhorting his motley Atom crowd in Cubao during the early days of Edsa: STAND STILL! STAND STILL! And thus stopped the Marcos’ tanks.

    So, he remembered. And years later, in Mamasapano, he did an Uncle Butz. STAND DOWN!!! STAND DOWN!!!

    And Kris said: ang galing ni Noy!

  21. Only the Administration Media ( Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, AbS-CBN, Philippines CNN and other tabloid newspapers were the ones covering and giving importance to a none sense EDSA revolution. Portraying the Aquino’s as heroes, Are we better off today than 30 years ago? of course nope, this administration is the worst, The younger generation s should know that during President Ferdinand Marcos regime there’ was really golden days compare today, yellow followers and supporters enrich themselves. I made my mind and decided that I will vote .Bongbong Marcos for Vice President on May 9.2016.

    • Very True ! Here in the Cordilleras they are supportive of Bongbong Marcos. Enough to the vindictive rule of this administration!

  22. One thing. Pag my namatay sa mga Aquino, my nagiging president. Swerte. Laking malas naman ng taong bayan.

    • Ramon M. Macaraig on

      Alagaan ang kalusugan ni Noynoy. Maganda ba ang kulesterol, ang Hb1ac, … Nagpapakolonoskopi ba yan sya? Me epekto ang sigarilyo sa puso at sa baga… Kundi, magiging presidente si Kris…

    • hehehe..bantayan si noynoy kasi pag nagpakamatay, hero siya..hahaha tapos si Kris magiging president…hahaha