FERDINAND MARCOS had become just such an intolerable toothache by 1986 that the Filipinos were glad to have Ronald Reagan pull him out with helicopters, rotten root and all, like some abscessed molar stinking to the core, with Imelda and some of the loot in tow! "Cut and cut cleanly" said the Doc. Luckily for the Filipinos he was deposited in Hawaii and not Paoay, thus sparing them from a bloody civil war.
Whatever Cardinal Sin did in 1986 he certainly could've done it much earlier, but was just too busy with what he called "constructive engagement"--later called waltzing with the Dictator. The inconvenient truth is that 99.9% of the duration of Marcos, the Catholic Church was the Palace's favorite lap poodle. The Men in Skirts cut a lot of Blue Ribbon's to satiate Imelda's Edifice Complex. By the time Ronald Reagan became President, even the Americans, whose sonofabitch Marcos was, were ready for him to cut and cut cleanly because he was doing a better job recruiting for the NPA than Joma or Satur!
But the Filipinos took a long enough time getting rid of Marcos. Some even say, he would have died soon enough from lupus and passed from history's stage without them doing anything at all, and the post-Marcos result would've been the same: a restoration of the pre-Marcos dispensation, which wasn't really much better!
The fall of Marcos also saw the rise of the very concept of Edsa People Power as a "bloodless revolution" and a "peaceful solution" to such painful conditions as fascist dictators and corrupt leaders. The claim to a people power revolution in 1986 is valid given that in 1987 a new Constitution was promulgated and ratified with all sorts of people power concepts in it meant to prevent another Marcos.
People Power was a like a hammer just waiting for a nail...
JOSEPH ESTRADA was overthrown in 2001 during the inevitable "Edsa II People Power Revolution" -- which Filipinos have only slowly learned had very little to do with the People, and was no revolution at all, but a military backed coup d'etat. Paralyzed by three straight days of round-the-clock demonstrations at the Edsa Shrine starting on 16 January 2001, he was indeed extracted by Doctors Hilario G. Davide Jr. and Doctor Angelo T. Reyes, Chiefs of the Justice and AFP Departments respectively, in a brilliant operation that is still hailed today as the Edsa II People Power Revolution. Never mind that both were derelict of specific Constitutional duties. Reyes declared and committed mutiny against his Commander in Chief and defected to the demonstrators on 19 January 2001. Davide abandoned his clear duty to finish Erap's Impeachment Trial, and uphold the Rule of Law. Instead he appeared at the Edsa Shrine in the costume of the Chief Justice and swore in the Vice President upon the strange idea that Joseph Estrada was permanently incapacitated on Saturday, 20 January 2001. Unbeknownst to Davide and the Supreme Court, and even to Erap [sic!], Erap had already resigned though the construing of that would not occur until March, 2001 after the Court had a chance to wrestle with the daemons of absurd inconsistencies involving their own actions at Edsa Dos!
Of course, a revolutionary situation could easily have been declared at Edsa Dos, and a new Constitution promulgated just like after the fall of Marcos. But why did the Supreme Court have to insist that the process of overthrowing Erap was "Constitutional throughout" even though there is neither hide nor hair of that process in the Constitution? Why was Revolution not declared and a new Constitution adopted given that the 1987 provisions were so wantonly dispensed with by no less than the Chief Justice Hilario Davide?
Haha. I just realized why recently: BECAUSE IT COULD NEVER HAVE BEEN RATIFIED!
The People would've decisively and derisively REJECTED such a Davide Constitution at any plebiscite involving the overthrow of Erap. Even today!
Popular enthusiasm has noticeably waned for the sudden, radical surgeries of Edsa People Power because the last organ transplant has only produced a Mutant Republic in which the balance of power in a tripartite government has been wrecked along with the institution of Congress and cannot be restored without foregoing the addictive allure of People Power shortcuts.
While some people don't care much for the alternatives to Gloria, people's disenchantment with People Power putsches goes beyond this consideration.
The People, who have been accused of fatigue, or apathy, or indifference, to explain the failure to foment another Edsa People Power, may be far wiser than they are given credit for by their betters in Civil Society. The People seem to have a far better appreciation of the Diagnosis.
For the Filipinos first received the bad news of a Social Cancer a very long time ago. Ironically even the Catholic Bishops are sounding the clarion call for the Truth:
We face today a crisis of truth and the pervading cancer of corruption. We must seek the truth and we must restore integrity. These are moral values needing spiritual and moral insights.Like a person with a massively throbbing toothache, a person who has Cancer likewise can think of nothing else but how to gain freedom from it. Yet, why should we label as "fatigue" or "apathy" his utter lack of enthusiasm for the psychic surgery of people power?
The man who diagnosed the Social Cancer of Filipino society even before it became Filipino society, also taught them that they ought not engage in revolutions they cannot possibly win.
Thus, I think the Filipino People know they have Cancer, not just a Toothache. It is going to take more than FAITH HEALING and PSYCHIC DENTISTRY to deal with this disease. We must expect the continuing emergence of evil cancers in our government in the foreseeable future and prepare for it by strengthening our institutions and restoring the system of checks and balance that was destroyed at Edsa DOS!
ZTE may be just the tip of the iceberg as Senate investigators open up a can of Chinese worms, causing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to suspend $4 billion worth of deals with China. On top of that, fresh accusations have arisen that the President has compromised Philippine and Asean interests in the Spratleys by jumping into bed with China, which claims ancient dominion on "the islands in the South China Sea" (like Luzon Island?)
Yet these weighty issues can hardly be settled by the much vaunted Parliament of the Streets.
If people are tired of anything, they are tired of being told a Truth they discovered long ago and then are constantly urged to take to the streets and rush into the arms of our would-be Dentists. Long ago they discovered the truth about these self-administered heart-and-brain transplants masquerading as moral revolutions of the heart and mind. All they got was Gloria.
People power is DEAD not from fatigue, but from the People having a better appreciation of the diagnosis than the pundits and their betters! We need to re-establish the immune system of our institutions, not resort to pulling teeth willy nilly, or even the psychic dentistry of the Catholic Bishops, because the underlying condition is far more serious than we think.
UPDATES and CAVEATS:
The Leftists are in denial that people would be fatigued over something they've been doing for half a century as a matter of professional occupation. But even Joma has scaled back his grandiose fantasies by 90%, to hundred thousand man marches.
Here is Amando Doronila on the democratic legacies of Edsa People Power. What a yawn!
The BBC had a big retrospective on People Power fatigue in the Philippines. Lotsa pix.