EDSA DOS: Remembering My Own Battle

Bleue, Color me Bleue
January 17, 2007

The whole world already knows the chronology of events that led to the Filipino people uprising seven years ago. From the accusations of Senator Teofisto Guingona, the transmittal of the impeachment complaint from the House of the Representatives to the Senate led by Speaker Manuel Villar, the historic roles of the Senators then who acted as trial judges, the dramatic display of emotions of Senator Loren Legarda and unforgettable bop of Senator Tessia Aquino-Oreta that made her an instant “Dance Diva” when the Impeachment Court said “NO” for the opening of the envelope, the spontaneous build-up of people in EDSA, and all the who, what and when of People Power 2. But there are stories that were not written in the history and facts that were not known to the world. My story is one of those.

This is actually a response to the call of Bloggers Kapihan in reminiscing EDSA People Power 2.

Seven years ago, I went to EDSA. I went there alone with my personal fight, my very own battle.

To begin with, I don’t like Erap (Call me Anti-Erap or whatever). I don’t like him for a lot of reasons which I intended not to specify because there are so much. Simply put it like this – there are a lot of better personalities out there for the top post. From the start of his presidency, I was very vocal of my disgust to his leadership. In fact, for less than three years under his governance, the only presidential thing he did that I concur with was when he ordered the attack of the Abu Sayaff camp and no other else.

During his term, I kept track of his administration by collecting newspaper and magazine clippings of most significant political events in our country. I remember waiting in line to get a copy of the closing issue of the Manila Times when he pressured the broadsheet to its closure. For some reasons, I already sensed that a big political event will happen under his term that will change the course of our country’s history… and it all happened. From mere accusations of corruption, it prospered to an impeachment complaint that was eventually transmitted by the House to the Senate. The Senate acting as a trial court then turned into a primetime show, televised nationwide. Just like everyone else, I followed the broadcast more than the cartoons and telenovelas on the boob tube.

For some time, Filipinos tuned into a political soap opera of unpredictable ending. But on the night of January 16, 2001, all eyes were on one of the highest rating shows in Philippine TV as the senators cast their votes for the opening of the second envelope. In our household, I was the only one watching to what seems to be a climax of a soap. In the end, the “NO” won but the tension and drama didn’t end there. I almost cried when I saw Loren Legarda wiped her tears and felt offended when I saw Tessie Oreta danced like a diva. But all the people in our home didn’t even bother to care. They were all Erap’s symphatizers and they really hated having a trial in the first place. So I kept the frustration to myself on what I believe was a great betrayal by those who voted against the opening of the envelope.

The spontaneous events happened after. Students from nearby universities in Katipunan went out and voiced their dismay in chorus with the noise barrage made by frustrated vehicle owners as signs of protest. It was chaos. They eventually proceeded to EDSA Shrine along with other activists, showbiz and political figures, church leaders and businessmen for a mass officiated by the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin. The power of text messaging helped to disseminate the call for an EDSA rendesvouz. I was at home watching in surprise as these events transpired. With heightening call of support for a people power, the gathering continued and the people, mostly youth, flock to the place

I was in my senior year in Pamantasan that time and during the four day vigil of thousands or even millions of people in EDSA, I chose to go there after class than to attend to my academic assignments at home. Night after night, I went to EDSA. I went there alone with my own battle, my personal battle. Chanting “ERAP RESIGN”, “ERAP, ERAP MANLOLOKO….”, ‘ERAP, ERAP MANGGAGANTSO…”, “ERAP, ERAP BABAERO…” and other jingles that the crowd learn only there. I was there… during the four nights, with the whole EDSA DOS people as my company. I was unaccompanied but not alone.

The ambiance of the four nights of vigil is still fresh in my memory. It was like one big family, with a common goal. I can still recall how sandwiches rained from the overpass and how everybody tried to get acquainted to everybody by offering foods, drinks and warm smile. People from all walks-of-life, age, gender and professions were there. Four nights… and my family didn’t even know that I was there. They will curse me for sure once they know.

January 20, 2001, the final day of the People Power 2, the planned march to Malacañang was set on that day. I woke up early Saturday morning, dressed in a black Pamantasan shirt, I left home and told my mom that I will be going to school, I didn’t lie since the world is big university for me. I headed to España to join the march. I was just on time, the marchers just arrived at España. I joined the group of countless protestors shouting and chanting “ERAP RESIGN! NOW!”

Around eight in the morning we were already traversing Valencia all the way to Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard. Encouraging other people in the streets and those at their homes as we passed by to join us, some responded to our calls. When we reached the corner of Valencia and Ramon Magsaysay, just across the PUP Jasmin Hotel, a group of students inside the PUP building showed their support by waving to us, we asked them to join us and they did. We then proceeded to J.P. Laurel St., but to no luck, we were blocked by the Manila Police, so we just proceeded to Legarda. The moment the marchers reached Sta. Catalina College, I saw a nun opening the gate of the school, she then set up a table, placed some cookies and drinking water, then waved at those passing by her offering some refreshments. Some tired marchers had a short stop at her, I also did. I was really moved by her. Reminiscing that scene always makes my eyes teary.

The march stopped for some time in Legarda/Bustillos because the corner of Mendiola and Claro M. Recto has been blocked by the police. But we were very eager to reach the Malacañang that we eventually broke the barricade. Before noon we were already on Don Chino Roces Bridge of Mendiola where we encountered the bigger barricades and larger contingents of the police force. Everyone took their own niche. Some even climbed to the monument of Don Chino Roces. I was on the left side of the street fronting Malacañang, where a huge crane is parked. I stepped into the crane, others followed. From my place I can see in birds eye view the entire scene, the marchers, police, barricades, media and the streets. The shouting persisted. The people continued to grow. There were negotiations between the police and the front leaders of the march but the people seemed unstoppable.

Around noon that time, while the shoutings continue to echo in Legarda, the news broke out that Estrada already stepped down and GMA already took her oath in front of thousands of people in EDSA and millions of televiewers watching in their homes. Everybody was elated. We hugged each other in jubilation as if we knew each other. I was very happy and proud like everybody else. We won our fight. I won the battle.

The day after the historic event, my family discovered that I were there when they saw the commemorative “ERAP! Just do it! Resign Now!” tag in my closet. I bought that tag in EDSA one night. They didn’t believe at first but as I narrated the events from my EDSA nights to my march to Mendiola, they eventually asked me how did I do it alone? They respected my stand.

A year after our triumphant battle, I saw a coffee book of EDSA DOS in a bookstore. While browsing the book, I saw the images of EDSA, Mendiola and Legarda, and they brought back the images that were personally witnessed by my own eyes. On the very last page of the coffee book was the image of Mendiola on the noon of January 20, 2001, and I saw myself in there, atop the crane, in black shirt.

I was there. I was in EDSA seven years ago. I fought there with my own battle and I won. But seven years after, it seems to me that our country turned from bad to worst. Philippine politics is now a one big circus, and I have this personal feeling that all my EDSA DOS sacrifices were just wasted. My appetite for joining political rallies has been spoiled and now lost. I don’t even know right now who are the evils and the lesser evils, and I don’t give a damn since they all are, afterall. (Excuse my words. Sorry to the straight public servants, I was just carried away by my disgust in politics thesedays, but as hawaiianguy said, there are still a few who are not “evil,” or haven’t been polluted yet. )

Will there be another EDSA revolution? Who knows?!? But for me, I don’t see my self shouting in EDSA again. My voice are too precious to waste for them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s