By Lorraine Marie Badoy

What EDSA means to me

February 26, 2020, 10:31 am

I WAS at EDSA 34 years ago when we successfully overthrew a dictator without a drop of bloodshed. Thirty-four years have since passed and some things I believe about EDSA remain.

And some things I no longer buy and even if you held a gun to my head, I would say, “Please pull the trigger.” – because there is no way I would say I still believe the same things I believed a lifetime ago about EDSA.

And you know what they say about fools: they’re the ones who don’t change their minds no matter if the evidence screams bloody murder and stares at them like a specter impatient at their stupidity.

I no longer believe Cory Aquino is the saint I thought she was, for one thing. And for another, her son is, for me, the worst president this country has ever had. Far worse than the power-hungry dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, who held on to power for 21 years but who, arguably, got some important things done. I’ll give that to my Marcos loyalist friends. 

And still, I believe Ferdinand Marcos and his family committed crimes against the Filipino people for which they must be made to account for. That, to me, has remained immovable.

What has changed is how I no longer carry the burden of hate I had for them that crusted my heart and hurt me far more than it hurt any of the Marcoses (if at all). Life taught me.

If, after 34 years, I continue to remain proficient in the language of hate brought on by radicalism and extremism I was taught by CPP-NPA-NDF fronts in UP where I studied, like LFS, ANAKBAYAN, CEGP, then how different am I from those who are in deep slumber about these terrorists?

And what kind of offerings can I give my deeply wounded country if my own heart remains wounded with hate? I would wound her even further. This much I know.

I no longer believe the Aquinos are virtuous symbols of democracy. Time has unmasked them for who they truly are: products with slick packaging manufactured by oligarchy-own media for whom they gave obscene preferential treatment to at the expense of the Filipino people. And for which they must be held accountable.

And Noynoy Aquino? I’d be hard-pressed to find a lesser qualified human being for the presidency than this elitist with half a brain and no heart-- no one a  more egregious choice than this tragic excuse for a human being.

Who, by the way, I voted for.  Like I voted for the worst vice-president this country has ever had. The most treasonous traitor to her own country—Leni Robredo. That was how blind I was then. And yet I went to EDSA this morning to celebrate the 34th People Power Anniversary.

What is there to celebrate about EDSA? The job of rebuilding a country, restoring its democracy and making lives better for Filipinos---more so those who have been left behind—is too huge for one revolution. Especially a revolution that, as its name clearly states, happened in just one spot of the country. One thoroughfare to be more precise — however major that thoroughfare is.

And we would have been spared the terrible feelings of betrayal and disappointment we felt when corruption and poverty not only continued but flourished post-EDSA if we had known this simple fact: that part of the job is knowing that the job never gets done.

And that we each had to do our share. That we — all of us, not just our leaders -- need to keep waking up, rolling our sleeves up and working.

Work for peace. Work for social justice. Work for our country to move forward.

The one big fatal mistake of EDSA was when we thought our struggles were over because the dictator had been booted out—only to have him replaced by far worse presidents. Corrupt, indifferent, incompetent.

Another fatal mistake would be if we take a president such as this — President Rodrigo Duterte -- for granted and not do our share in taking our country as far as this President can take her because this singular President will take our country as far as he can humanly take her.

I see how this President works himself to the bone. I see, how, late at night, everything about him that can get wrinkled is wrinkled: his pants, his barong, his socks. I didn’t even know hair could get wrinkled until I worked for this President.

Tunay na pag-aalay ng sarili para sa Bayan. Yan ang ginagawa ng ating Pangulo.

I see the grim look on his face. And I know what that look means. It means he knows time is fast running out. In a blink of an eye, 2022 will be upon us and he will step down.

Already, he has stopped being so jolly and his usual solicitous self with me. Where before he would ask if I had eaten, where I am billeted, is it comfortable, he no longer has time for all those niceties. We are no longer there, my President and I. If before he was there to defend me, now I am left to my own devices.

It is as if he is saying to me, I have taught you all that you need to know. You got this now.

And it is true. This President has changed me. I am no longer the baby I was 3 years ago when he asked me to join him in rebuilding our country, For my country, I have become stronger, braver, more cunning and I pity anyone who tries to stop me. I am steel now.

I see it is the same for the overwhelming majority of Filipinos. We have been transformed by this President.

We are no longer the same people we were before this President walked into Malacañang. We have become braver.  We know our worth now because of the beautiful way he loves and serves us: humbly, completely. We look at our wrists and the chains that used to bind us are no longer there.

The scales have fallen off our eyes too so that the dilaws and the pretentious hypocrites in our midst-- the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF and their above-ground organizations like IBON, GABRIELA, LFS, ANAKBAYAN, CEGP, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, NUPL, NUJP, etc have become laughingstock. Even as they try to claim EDSA as their own.

We have become free and empowered.

And so I went to EDSA today to celebrate, what, to me, is the real meaning of PEOPLE POWER: a people who can chart their own course, who can look the greedy oligarchs, the treacherous terrorists in the eye and say, “Yes, you may have billions.

And you may have guns and your lies. And you may try to use all that to scare me into submission. But I know what it is I am made of and what it is I am capable of. And I will kapit bisig with my brothers and sisters Filipinos and I will stand my ground peacefully but resolutely. And you will not pass.

I will end your reign of greed. I will end your reign of terror. And when this President steps down in 2022, we will be handing to our children a country in much better shape than we found it in 2016.

That, to me, is real People Power.

I celebrate it.



About the Columnist

Image of Lorraine Marie Badoy

Dr. Lorraine Badoy Is Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary for External Affairs and New Media