The downfall of the Yellow Revolution and the fall of the house of Aquino
The “Yellow Revolution” in the Philippines has become synonymous with righteousness in the government. However, the magic of EDSA has dissipated. Since 1986, EDSA I, II, and attempts for a third in 2001, the Aquino powerhouse is no more today.
In 2022, the Yellow movement turned into a “sea of pink,” signaling the fall of the house of Aquino.
1. The leadership of Cory and Noynoy Aquino
The icon of EDSA People Power
From a “national hero” to a “saint,” Cory Aquino, the icon of EDSA, never wanted politics on her table. She was a quintessential homemaker. God used to take down a dictator—whatever dictatorship means today.
Cory’s magic dissipates after EDSA Dos
After the fall of Marcos in 1986, Cory’s magic was all over the world. After EDSA 2 removed President Estrada, she encouraged the people for a third People Power. She asked Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to resign in 2008 after allegations of corruption.
Cory appeared on national TV and led the protest to pressure Arroyo to resign. Police estimated only 13,000 to 15,000 people gathered, reported Reuters. The event was unsuccessful; her influence was no more.
The accomplishments of the mother and son presidency
Aquino started with a high approval rating of +72 in 1986 but ended her term with +35 in 1992. Her son Benigno Aquino III became president in 2010. However, according to a survey, 46% of Filipinos said they failed to curb corruption.
Inept leadership of Noynoy Aquino Jr. III
In 2010, political stability returned when Cory’s son, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Jr. III, became president. But his leadership was marked by ineptitude and incompetence, said political scientist and UP professor Clarita Carlos.
Despite the economic surge, Noynoy suffered his lowest poll ratings — 50% below the approval rating in 2015.
The economy grew under Pnoy, but jobs fell, and crime doubled
Noynoy limited government spending—which is not necessarily good for business economics. Although employment grew, job creation fell from 1.1 million in 2011 to just 638,000 in 2015. The country’s corruption index went down—but crime doubled.
Aquino III started with a +60 approval rating in 2010 and left office with a +29, according to the SWS survey.
The Aquinos: “Gatekeepers of righteous politics”
The Aquinos, known for going after corruption, were bent on putting Arroyo in prison. Arroyo quickly pardoned her predecessor, the ousted President Estrada. But for Aquino, “there will be no pardon for her.”
Noynoy continues the war against other presidents
During Noynoy’s term, the GDP expanded by 6.2 percent yearly — the fastest since the 1970s. In 2013, the Philippines got an investment-grade credit rating. But according to some analysts, Noynoy’s predecessor, President Arroyo, raised the economy—not him. [Manila Times, Tribune]
The political war between Aquino and Arroyo was intense, making the Aquinos, once again, the keepers of “righteousness in the government.”
However, Noynoy’s treatment of Arroyo was also cold and cruel. Reuters puts it this way: Philippines Aquino, pursuing corruption or just Arroyo?
During the turnover ceremony of Noynoy as the new President, Arroyo did not finish his oath-taking and left after the formalities. Likewise, Noynoy criticized Duterte and called for his resignation after allegations of human rights violations.
The bus hostage crisis, “Tanim-Bala,” and Dengvaxia controversy
In 2010, Chinese tourists in Manila were taken hostage on a tour bus by a disgruntled citizen. President Noynoy Aquino refused to apologize to the HK government for the “bus hostage” crisis in 2010.
The Sinosphere hated Noynoy, tagging Filipinos along, said Correct Movement founder Orion Perez.
It took three years for someone in the government to “say sorry” to the HK government. Former President Estrada did the job for Noynoy. He appeased China ending the tension that endangered the OFWs in China.
Sinosphere hated Noynoy.
Another issue was the “bullet planting” scandal (Tanim-Bala). A corrupt practice in NAIA that victimized innocent passengers. The PNP recorded at least thirty incidents in 2015 alone.
President Aquino Jr. ignored the issue despite the brewing anger of Filipinos. He felt it was sensationalized. But for most Filipinos, it was seen as a lack of empathy. President Duterte took care of the problem in his first 100 days as the new president.
In 2016, a house panel wanted to charge President Aquino over the Dengvaxia mess. They argued that with the budget chief and health secretary, Noynoy had “collusion…to ensure that the government would purchase a large quantity of the vaccines.”
Mamasapano and Mendiola massacres
Perhaps, the Mamasapano massacre, where 44 soldiers died, was the unintended highlight of his presidency, on top of the Yolanda disaster that was also mishandled just before he ended his term. Like her mother, Cory Aquino was also haunted by the Mendiola massacre.
Alleged bribery to impeach Chief Justice Corona
Impeaching Justice Renato Corona in May 2012 was a landmark victory for President Noynoy. However, it also appears that getting rid of the Chief Justice also meant that the redistribution of Hacienda Luisita back to the farmers would be set aside.
In 2021, the Supreme Court en banc said there should be a task force “to complete and collate the documentation required to validate the home lot awards.”
“President Aquino became the laughing stock of Cojuangco friends and relatives. The conditions for the sale of Hacienda Luisita (HLI) stipulated that after a period of development, the sugar land in Tarlac should be given back to the farmers,” wrote Carmen Pedrosa.
Joker Arroyo: “Outright bribery, right at the presidential doorstep.”
More damming were allegations that the Aquino administration bribed senators. Fifty million discretionary funds were distributed to those who voted to impeach the Chief Justice.
Senator Defensor said that Aquino violated the constitution by giving “reward money,” a probable cause to impeach him. However, Noynoy’s Liberal party dominated Congress, and his impeachment will not be successful.
The aversion towards the Aquino family, because of the Hacienda issue, among other matters, was evident in social media towards the end of Noynoy’s term in 2016.
Aquino violated the constitution by giving “reward money.”
Kris Aquino on the Aquino legacy
The sweet and innocent Kris Aquino cum “Queen of all media,” did not hold for long. Her dirty laundry list and unsuccessful relationships have stalled the Aquino legacy.
Correct Movement founder Orion Perez relates the end of the Yellow movement with the incompetent rule of Noynoy and the toxic Kris Aquino.
2. Duterterism: The antithesis of the Aquinos
In 1986, President Aquino appointed Duterte as Davao’s OIC vice mayor. In his second-year year as the elected President thirty years after, “Yellow groups” formed a protest coalition to oust him.
He was accused of crimes against humanity. Despite their efforts and Noynoy’s call for resignation, Duterte’s approval rate skyrocketed.
Downhill for the “Yellow Revolution” as Duterte took over
President Duterte’s kind of leadership exposed Noynoy Aquino’s indecisiveness, reminiscent of his mother’s weak leadership. Noynoy’s criticism of Duterte was seen as self-righteous.
Noynoy always skipped Duterte’s SONAs, and when he died in 2021, Duterte and other former presidents were a no-show at Noynoy’s funeral wake.
former presidents were a no-show at Noynoy’s wake.
A slap on the face of Cory and Benigno Sr.
The cry for Duterte’s ouster was loud. After all, he permitted the burial of Ferdinand E. Marcos at the National Hero’s cemetery—a slap on the face of Noynoy’s parents and millions of supporters.
Noynoy’s call for Duterte’s resignation did little. Suddenly, all things People Power stood for seemed irrelevant. More Filipinos preferred “a new kind of dictator.”
With the resurgence of “solid Marcos” and “Duterterism” in 2022, the tides turned against the “Yellow Movement.” The yellow turned pink 36 years after the People Power.
Conspiracy theorists alleged that former President Arroyo and the Marcoses were responsible for subtle propaganda to regain the Filipinos’ trust.
3. Virtue signaling of the “righteous opposition”
The opposition’s goal: Get rid of Marcos
During her campaign against Ferdinand Marcos in January 1986, Cory Aquino said, “Mr. Marcos is determined to remain a permanent dictator come hell or high waters; I am determined to stop him.”
Leni Robredo, who, like Cory also said, would never run for president (see video here). In 2021, she backtracked and said she would “stop a Bongbong Marcos presidency.” (see video here).
The rest of the opposition played the same tune to get rid of Marcos. During their campaign for Robredo in 2016 and 2022, her speeches and interviews were centered on reminding the people of the “sins of Marcos.”
Apparently, people were tired of the decades-old rant of the Liberal opposition party.
Virtue Signalling: Saint Cory, Mar Roxas’ “Walang Drama”, and the modest Robredo
Since Cory Aquino, the opposition (Liberal Party) has always been symbolic of “righteous politics” and exemplary virtues, hence, the meme “Saint Cory.” Despite the family’s wealth, Cory did live up to a humble lifestyle.
Aquino lived in a modest house and wore inexpensive outfits throughout her political life. Likewise, Robredo was modest. However, she was accused of virtue signaling.
For example, despite being the country’s vice president, Robredo took the bus to her hometown in Naga. She said taking the plane would entail similar security preparations but would have been more expensive.
During the presidential campaign, Vice President Robredo hitched a motorcycle ride to avoid traffic. However, netizens accused her of being pretentious.
In a social media post, a Cebu Pacific pilot alleged that Leni Robredo requested for her flight to be given priority landing at the airport. The pilot later retracted his claim.
The “yellow curse” that haunted Ocho Derecho
In 2019, the opposition’s “Ocho Derecho” senatorial slate suffered a resounding loss. None of the eight candidates made it, despite changing their color from yellow to blue.
The righteous candidates
Noynoy Aquino’s endorsement made it worse for the Otso Diretso candidates, who later slammed their association with Aquino’s yellow tag.
Ocho Direcho’s slogans “Makinig” (listen) and “Matuto” (learn), and “No one else comes close” attempted to remind Filipinos that the opposition Liberal party candidates were the righteous ones.
Mar Roxas: “Trying hard”
For years, Roxas’ campaign was meant to tone down his bourgeois image by riding a pedicab, cussing on stage, and his famous Mr. Palengke ad. However, his ‘traffic aid’ stint was the most criticized.
Many felt it was unnatural, impractical, and “what the heck?” as one netizen said. Roxas’ attempt to appeal to the lower class did little.
According to the Inquirer, Roxas’s campaign manager Rep. Edgar Erice, “Roxas regretted wearing yellow and being identified with Aquino in the 2016 presidential election“.
Despite the humble virtues Roxas embodied. Like Robredo, surveys indicated they would not win, even if Robredo disassociated herself from the “yellow party.”
Roxas regretted wearing yellow.
Roxas and Robredo’s overwhelming defeat
The Liberal “yellow” party presidential candidate Mar Roxas teamed up with Robredo in the 2016 election. He lost more than 6.6 million votes over Duterte, who won by a landslide.
Mar Roxas got less than 10 million votes versus Rodrigo Duterte, who got close to 17 million votes during the 2016 presidential election.
Robredo won as Vice President against Marcos Jr with a narrow 263,473 lead prompting Marcos to ask for a recount, accusing the opposition of cheating. When it was Robredo’s turn to run for president in 2022, she lost considerably over Marcos Jr.
Despite supporting 50 celebrities, business groups, universities, the working class, the Catholic church, and evangelical pastors, Marcos Jr. got 32 million votes and Robredo only 16 million.
Again, the opposition alleged BBM of massive cheating. Hidden cellphone videos showed cash disbursed while Robredo’s camp claimed it was all volunteerism.
Robredo’s negative approval rating
At the height of the campaign, Robredo had a negative net approval rating as incumbent vice president. More Filipinos dislike Robredo because of the “Yellow group” she represents despite the “virtues” they possess.
The Yellow Movement soft on communists
In 1986, President Cory Aquino pardoned Sison, speculating that the Aquinos were soft on the communists. Robredo is accused of the same, given her association with the Yellow opposition.
American foreign service author Lewis E. Gleeck said he knew Benigno Aquino. In his book ‘President Aquino: Sainthood Postponed,’ he criticized Aquino Sr., who he admitted was a brilliant politician.
“I found him a demagogue, a Filipino politician in the traditional mode, and one dangerously cooperative with the Communist,” Gleeck wrote in 1995.
At that time, the Yellow movement was still at the height of its glory, whose supporters rooted for an Aquino Nobel Peace Prize.
Aquino: “One dangerously cooperative with the Communist.”
The opposition’s slogans were insensitive and divisive
In a CNN interview with advertising executive Greg Garcia, he pointed out that the opposition’s slogan “Gobyernong Tapat” (Honest Government) was a disconnect.
Honesty was a minor thing Filipinos wanted to hear because the yellow movement that it symbolized did not deliver.
“When you impose Tayo-Tayo (togetherness), you are being exclusive. Their message is not resonating (to the people) like a product promising something but not delivering,” according to Greg Garcia.
Garcia added that Robredo’s apologist criticizing BBM supporters with “Let me educate you” was a grievous turnoff.
4. The fall of the Liberal Opposition party
It was as if the Liberal opposition party’s fate was sealed. First, Noynoy Aquino passed away quietly in 2021. The last “yellow president” left with more criticism than praise despite tributes. A sparse crowd attended his funeral march.
Secondly, the Robredo-Pangilinan “Pinklawan” tandem lost by a wide margin the following year. The team also dropped the yellow color, another slap in the face of the yellow opposition.
Marcos-Duterte Supermajority party
The Liberal party dominated the house seat for decades. After “Ocho Derecho” lost in 2016 and the “Pinklawans” in 2022, the fate of the Liberal party was sealed, giving way to a “Marcos-Duterte supermajority party.”
Out of the last three remaining opposition stalwarts in the Senate, only Senator Dick Gordon will continue to serve until 2023. The rest lost the election except for Senator Franklin Drilon, who was retiring.
Dropping the yellow for pink seems the end of it all
Robredo dropped the yellow color during her campaign and signaled the end of the yellow movement. She lost her bid and Marcos returns to Malacanang.
the fall of the Yellow Movement & the rise of the phoenix.