Progression of Perception
I woke up last Monday with the newscaster or a news anchor reading the President’s message for the EDSA Revolution commemoration. (Oh I slept with the TV turned on again.) Some Malacañang representative was reading the message: “I am hopeful that this occasion will inspire all of us, especially the younger generation, to deeply value the freedom and liberty that we won in EDSA,” Okay, that’s pretty generic; and on one hand, that’s something rightly expected from a head of state on a celebration of a historic event. There isn’t really anything out of the ordinary there; is there? For consistency, he still skipped attendance of the official commemoration ceremonies. I don’t know if I was hearing it while I was half-asleep, but some Palace representative said that he would rather read some books; or maybe I heard wrong.
Last year, the President again skipped “the commemoration of the 32nd anniversary of Edsa People Power Revolution on Sunday, February 25. Instead of attending the commemorative rites that will be held at the Edsa People Power Monument in Quezon City, the President will be in his home province in “ Davao City, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said.
“In his message released on Saturday, February 24, Duterte said he joins the entire nation in commemorating the historic event, which he said has “shown the world how a people’s courage and resolve can alter the course of our nation’s history.” He further added, “May this occasion foster unity and solidarity as we pursue our hopes and aspirations for our nation. Let us further enrich our democracy by empowering our citizenry, defending their rights and strengthening the institutions that safeguard their freedoms,” the President said. (https://www.rappler.com)
The year before, this was his message: “No single party, ideology, religion or individual could claim credit for the bloodless EDSA revolution, in the same way that no single party, ideology, religion or individual could claim a monopoly of patriotism,” Furthermore, he “called on the Filipino people to not just celebrate the 1986 uprising but to also muse on the losses and gains it contributed to the country.” In that same year, interestingly, a Pro-Duterte rally was held at Luneta, which Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Council (MRRD-NECC) spokesperson, Bobby Brillante said, “was a fight “for the continuation of the freedom and democracy that EDSA fought for”, an assurance and preservation of freedom, a strengthening of democracy and “should not be lessened as we go on.” (Yeah right. They held opposite the traditional celebration at the EDSA shrine. Come on. What’s the deal? Definitely, that was no coincidence.)
Indulge me in an analysis on the trend for the past years until the present. On the first year, a rally organized by Duterte supporters was held on the same day as the EDSA Revolution commemoration; and his message was somewhat antagonistic towards those whom he considers as those who claim monopoly for the merits of the revolution. He even implies towards losses of that event. (Maybe there were, but you could feel the tone.) On the second year, there was no opposite simultaneous rally. The President now considers the EDSA Revolution as an important historic event which is a springboard for a call for unity and solidarity. This year, he now considers the revolution as an inspiration for the values of freedom and liberty. See the progress? I wish I could draw a line graph here. The messages has developed from aggression to reputation to inspiration. Is not that very interesting?
Well, somehow, we understand the initial stand. Although, the concurrent convergence was irritating. It was sort of expected; considering the public knowledge of his nearness with the Marcoses; and this is the President who managed to railroad the burial of former President Marcos on the Libingan ng Bayani (lest we forget), unmindful of public protest and to the indignant resignation of his very own appointed official at the National Historical Commission. So, that was somewhat logical. Then he takes a turn, shedding off the misgivings, and taking the event as a rallying point for national unity and solidarity. We’re trying to strike common ground there. Okay. so, maybe he decided to take that head of state mantle. Maybe for a change, he decides to go neutral and look at this occasion as the history books do. Then on the third scale, he yanks it up by declaring the once considered monopoly as an inspiration of freedom and liberty, worthy to be emulated by Filipino youth.
What could be the reason for this evolution? Oh, this year is election year. On the administration ticket are senatorial candidates Imee Marcos and Coco Pimentel, son of Martial Law detainee Nene Pimentel who just happens to be the party founder. Oh so awkward.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”