The unprecedented removal through quo warranto proceedings of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno from her post isn’t only about her, or solely about the Supreme Court, the rule of law, the Constitution, or the Duterte regime and its autocratic pretensions. Even more crucially is it about the fate and future of the democratization process that at least twice in history has been interrupted at its most crucial stage, and, driven by the need to address political and economic underdevelopment, has had to twice start all over again in this country.
President Rodrigo Duterte described the civilian-military mutiny known as the “People Power Revolution” that overthrew the Marcos terror regime 32 years ago as among “the most crucial and trying (of) times” for the Philippines. But his communication people apparently don’t think so, and neither do their trolls, his followers, and his allies in the Marcos family.
Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson, for example, sneered at the nuns’ facing the guns and tanks of the Marcos military then as a “drama,” or just for show, and even suggested that the ouster of the Marcos dictatorship was driven by “fake news.”
DESPITE its failure to deliver on its promises, some Filipinos still hail the 1986 EDSA uprising as a model of how peacefully change can be achieved.
The shift in Thailand from military rule to democracy in 1992, and the fall from power of Indonesia’s Suharto in 1998, for example, were supposedly among the political upheavals the event inspired. Changes in other parts of Asia and in Eastern Europe have similarly been credited to the demonstration effect of Philippine People Power, or EDSA 1986.
THE claim that the world needs the US to oust dictators and promote democracy has never been quite accurate, or even honest. George W. Bush maintained that both were his administration’s goals in Iraq, but never once mentioned that Iraqi oil reserves were at that time estimated at 112 billion barrels, but could be as much as 350 billion barrels. If promoting democracy in Iraq meant re-opening its oil resources to Western oil companies, the US did promote democracy — and Chevron’s interests — there.
As for ousting dictators, numerous countries had done that long before it occurred to Bush Jr. and his predecessors that the US has the divine right to make the world safe for US corporate interests. The Haitians ousted Francois Duvalier in 1971; Indonesia’s Suharto, in power for 32 years, was ousted in 1998 — and the Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown by the EDSA mutiny in 1986.