The yearly People Power celebration at EDSA has lost its original meaning of an entire nation coming together to aspire for equality in the social equilibrium. Through the years, it has been transformed into a season of opportunism for the opponents of President Rody Duterte.
Another “Oust Duterte” effort has been announced on 22 February, which is the first day of the annual marking of the three-day uprising that led to the ouster of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
The yellow mob had hijacked the spirit of the People Power movement, which Rody celebrates since he was part of the movement, as he fondly recalls her mother Nanay Soling Duterte being an anti-Marcos activist and a leader of the revolt in Davao City.
It was at EDSA where the well-heeled rallyists gathered and where the dramatic confrontation between the people who gathered to protect the mutineers led by then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) vice chief of staff Fidel V. Ramos happened, but the People Power movement was all about the protests that happened outside of the capital that mattered most.
The yellow mob, however, turned the EDSA celebration into its chattel, which is marked mostly by the swanky villagers who lived nearby and their business and church allies.
At EDSA, the social divide had become very conspicuous during the term of former President Noynoy Aquino until now.
The police cordon kept away those wearing cheap worn slippers and the pedestrians. In one of those exclusive gatherings under Noynoy, the road between Camps Crame and Aguinaldo to the EDSA-Santolan junction was closed, while inside the cordon was the yellow mob who all seem to have been granted a position in government, as Noynoy richly rewarded those responsible for putting the Aquinos in power.
The EDSA events thrusted Cory, the mother of Noynoy, into the presidency.
The father of Noynoy was Marcos’ chief political rival, Sen. Ninoy Aquino, who was assassinated on the tarmac of the Manila International Airport, which in turn sparked wide public protests against the Marcos regime.
When Noynoy assumed the presidency, however, many Filipinos particularly those who lived through the 21 years of Marcos asked what EDSA stood for since the situation had turned worse than before.
In a speech during one of those celebrations of the event, Noynoy tried to dispute a growing public yearning for the years of prosperity and contentment during the term of Marcos.
Many elderly Filipinos recalled the cost of living as being within the reach of all during the time of Marcos.
The hypocrisy that the yellow mob is known for led to the withdrawal of support of ordinary Filipinos.
While the late Cory can call for hundreds of thousands to support her, now all the yellow movement can muster are mere hundreds, despite the huge resources and funds they can muster for mass actions.
For instance, the assembly of red and yellow groups combined who protested the planned burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB), which is the most sensitive of topic among the anti-Marcos forces, gathered something like not more than 1,000 rallyists.
The yellow groups tried to hype up the assembly, saying that despite the strong rains “more than 2,000” attended the protest action. Police interviewed gave an estimate of 1,500 rallyists, but those who saw it said that there would hardly have been 900 people who would have been ignored if not for the noise they created.
For a long time, the yellow mob held sway in the political stage until the term of Noynoy whose incompetent administration largely led to the degradation of the yellow mob’s clout with the public.
The same number of die-hard disciples of mob rule are expected to assemble at EDSA during the annual celebration who will try to create noise which Filipinos have grown tired of.