Why EDSA People Power did not represent the nation

cory noynoy

Three main reasons why the 1986 EDSA People Power revolution did not represent the entire country

1. Resurgence of Marcos loyalists

An estimated 2 million Filipinos in Quezon City, Ortigas, Baguio, Ilo-Ilo, Davao, and Cebu, joined the People Power in 1986. The population of Filipinos then was 55 million. Even if we triple the number of those who wanted Marcos out, it still will not represent the entire nation.

A series of massive rallies followed after the Marcos family left. The growing number of Marcos’s “People Power” threatened Cory Aquino’s government. Her only recourse was to prevent the strongman from returning to the country for as long as she could.

A new generation of “Marcos loyalists”

Marcos’s loyalists grew exponentially after 36 years. In 2022, militant Robredo supporters and celebrities all over social media criticized Marcos supporters for their “ignorance” and “stupidity.”

The voter demographic of Marcos Jr. included those born during martial law as well as those who lived to tell the Marcos years.

Maid in Malacanang and Katips movies

A month after BBM was sworn in, the pro-Marcos movie, Maid in Malacanang (MIM), was produced. Katips, a recent addition to the long list of “anti-Marcos movies,” was pitted against it.

MIM earned 41 million pesos in the opening week while Katips had 800,000—despite receiving numerous awards. Katips was produced just in time for the 2021 election.

The Philippine People Power inspired people from other countries to stand up peacefully against their government dictatorship.


2. EDSA People Power was one color—not one nation

EDSA forces are good; Marcos is bad

Filipinos have begun to think that the story of the EDSA protest is “unreasonable,” said historian Lisandro Claudio in an ABS-CBN article.

One of the reasons why they think we are so unreasonable is because we never give Marcos credit.,” said Lisandro Claudio, who supported Robredo.

It has been exclusionary and elitist. The poor were not there, or if they were there, they were betrayed shortly after,” he added.

The people power movement has been an Imperial Manila phenomenon. Their (the elites’) playing field is Edsa.” Journalist Armando Doronilla said in 1986.

For decades, the “Yellow Revolution’ has depicted EDSA forces as “good” and Marcos as “bad.” But not everyone is convinced. A huge part of the population prefers red over yellow.

The 36th anniversary of People Power

In 2022, only 4,000 people convened at EDSA Shrine to commemorate the 36th People Power. Bong Bong Marcos filed his candidacy in October 2021. The threat of a Marcos return would have triggered massive support for “EDSA 36,” but it did not.

After Marcos Sr.’s 1986 departure, counter-rallies aimed to bring him back, allegedly supported by Marcos’s cronies. In 2023, 31 million Filipinos voted for Marcos Sr.’s son, but detractors insist that BBM supporters were minimal and that he won by cheating.

More people didn’t want Marcos to leave

A series of protests to bring them back followed. It resounded all over the country. A foreign documentary showed massive rallies that live to tell how the people loved the Marcoses, and it still holds, even after two generations.

“I do not want him here,” Cory

The strongman was ready to face his accusers. However, they were brought to Hawaii instead of Paoay, Ilocos Norte.

In a 2018 interview with Marcos’ former Defense Minster, Juan Enrile said Cory wanted the Marcoses out of the country.

Cory called Ambassador Bosworth. “I remember Cory shouted over the phone. No! I do not want him here; take him out of the country.” The Americans didn’t know what to do with Marcos, and they followed Cory, Enrile said to BBM during the 2018 interview.


3. Robredo’s ‘new People Power’ vs. ‘Solid BBM’

BBM/Duterte rallies were to contend with, but Robredo/Pangilinan’s PasigLaban on March 20, 2022, was impressive—a sea of pink with smartphones lit Ortigas Center’s Emerald Avenue and adjoining streets.

The rally was an estimated 137,000 people, according to the Pasig City police. The anti-Marcos rally in 1986 was at least a million. The PasigLaban may be reminiscent of People Power, but the numbers are still too small compared to EDSA 86.

Marcos Jr. had a similar number in vote-rich Cavite, with about 140,000 supporters. On the other hand, Robredo had 50,000 supporters who attended her campaign.

Still, Robredo is a favorite among business groups, universities, and religious groups like Christ Commission Fellowship (CCF), whose church leaders openly supported her.

EDSA 36 did not draw much crowd signaling the end of the Yellow Movement. Instead, Pink became the new yellow. Still, it was a landslide victory for BBM.

Pink is the new yellow

Not everyone is a fan of the color yellow. Not even Leni Robredo, the opposition’s best bet, wanted to be identified with it. She dropped yellow for Pink.


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