Political Tidbits is the prestigious column of Belinda Olivares-Cunanan that ran for 25 continuous years in the op-ed page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the newspaper that she helped put up with its multi-awarded founder, the legendary Eugenia Duran-Apostol, in December 1985, just two months before the EDSA Revolution.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Saturday’s mass rallies kept some folks away from violinist Chino Gutierrez's soireé in Intramuros. Reminiscing on our interminable rallies up and down Ayala Ave. 31 years ago, how many hordes had we inconvenienced? Since 1986 our revolution has been devouring its children. When will our political boom-and-bust cycle end?.

Classical violinist Joaquin "Chino" Gutierrez and piano accompanist Mary Anne Espina at Bayleaf soireé
Massive pro-Duterte rally at the Luneta Feb. 25 evening

Smaller rally commemorating the EDSA People Power on Feb. 25

The Inquirer headlined last Sunday a “Nation Divided” as it showed two rallies simultaneously held in the capital. One was the commemoration at the EDSA Shrine of the “People Power Revolution” of 31 years ago that brought down dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the other a gigantic rally at the Luneta, Pro-Duterte and an impressive counter to the EDSA rally.

Three decades later the nation is still debating in various forums the relevance of the EDSA Revolution and there’s palpable effort to rewrite history---historical revisionism---and to burnish the tarnished image of the dictator and his heir. To the simple folk, however, last Saturday's mass rallies were daunting and trying, as they coped with the monstrous traffic and the inconvenience the rallies brought---reminiscent of all the mass movements of 31 years ago.


A good number of people were at that very moment on their way to attend the soireé of Spanish romantic-era music and kundimans, tendered at the Bayleaf, a beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of Intramuros, by Europe-trained young classical violinist Joaquin “Chino” Gutierrez and his piano accompanist,  Mary Anne Espina. Some, however, worried about the massive pro-Duterte build-up at the Luneta, were daunted and decided to stay away.   

I left early for Chino's soireé, passing through Buendia Avenue where plenty of folks were marching in groups toward Roxas Boulevard en route to the Luneta, so I decided to turn into Taft Avenue which proved relatively free and easy. I guided friends coming from Ayala Avenue to take Taft and they made it to the soireé, but former SBMA Chair Felicito “Tong” Payumo and wife Daisy waded right into Luneta and got stuck there, and all Tong could do was text me about their sad fate. They missed an enchanting evening indeed.


With news about folks stranded by the massive rallies as they sought to go about their lives, my thoughts raced back to our own gigantic anti-Marcos movements of 31 years ago. We tirelessly marched up and down Ayala Avenue every Friday afternoon, amid all the confetti shredded from innumerable yellow pages of phone books raining down from the buildings there---in our herculean attempt to bring down the dictator. 

Fast forward, I realize now how the yellow crowd then must have inconvenienced in such a hideous way so many people and establishments. 

Now the shoe is in the other foot.


In my Facebook post last Feb. 25,  I recounted how, as the saying goes, REVOLUTIONS DEVOUR THEIR CHILDREN. A thoughtful reader posited in reaction that in fact, our case mirrors that of many other earlier revolutions, notably the French, Russian and Chinese uprisings.   

My write-up about revolutions devouring their children was my reaction to FB readers who had asserted that the arrest of Sen. Leila de Lima is KARMA indeed, after her persecution of President GMA and CJ Renato Corona. Looking at the broader picture as we celebrate our EDSA Revolution, I maintain that it's not just karma, but yet another case of our continuing revolution devouring its children---a revolution cycle---from various angles of the political spectrum. 

The question is, WHEN WILL THE CYCLE END? When will our country settle down and discard this karmic BOOM-AND BUST-CYCLE?


Consider: The EDSA Revolution devoured Ferdinand Marcos, but its lead perpetrator, former Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile, was in turn devoured as senator, ending in prison until he was released for humanitarian reasons. In a way EDSA Heroine Cory Aquino was devoured too, because she lost a lot of her following with the gross mistakes of her son, President Benigno Aquino III. 

Then the Revolution devoured Joseph "Erap" Estrada over the "second envelop" drama after three years in Malacanang, and Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ascended to power and stayed for nine years. But soon after finishing her second term PGMA, was arrested by the vengeful regime of President Noynoy Aquino and detained under hospital arrest for the next five years--- though at mid-year of 2016 she was eventually acquitted of the charges against her and is now resurrected as Deputy Speaker of the House.

PGMA's Chief Justice, Renato Corona, was devoured too, succumbing to the vengeance of Noynoy Aquino on the Hacienda Luisita issue, with Leila de Lima as his hatchet woman. Now De Lima is herself devoured and there's speculation about Noynoy Aquino reaping the same fate for his illegal use of DAP to bribe the senators during the trial of CJ Corona, and P-Noy's culpability in the Mamasapano tragedy.


Will the Revolution ultimately devour President Rodrigo Duterte, as wild talk abound on a "destabilization plot" against him? Or will the political boom-and-bust cycle end here and now---and we enter into a glorious age of peace and stability which we so long for our children and children's children---and which we pray for ardently to the Lord of History?
Indeed we long for peaceful transitions to power, where past officials gracefully yield to their successors sans the lust for vengeance in their heart and WHERE THE RULE OF LAW PREVAILS ABOVE ALL---giving us citizens an enviable pride in our country and our leaders that some other peoples have in theirs (exempting what majority of the Americans feel right now toward their new president). Where leaders are moral and God-fearing and the bureaucracy is by and large incorruptible, except for outstanding scalawags who get their just desserts.  

The state of our democracy at present leaves so much to be desired---with many of our institutions weak and grovelling, and many of us Filipinos still so immature and naive as well as so poor as to become easy prey for demagogues and scheming politicians. We who have had the benefit of better education and political formation have a lot to play in shaping our hapless nation.
When oh when, pray tell, will we see the dawn of greatness of our beautiful country? Like Mark Anthony at the bier of Caesar, let us weep until we find the answers and our beloved Philippines rises gloriously from the ashes of ruins.
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  1. Good Morning Mrs. Cunanan!

    I am Tria Casas, currently taking up Communication Arts and Advertising Management. I am a student from De La Salle University and Ms. Trisha Rojas, my partner, chose you to be part of our interview. As part of our final requirements for our major subject, Introduction to Print (INTPRIN), under the instruction of Sir Gerardo Mariano, our professor, we were required to make an oral history. The oral history will contain about the experiences you had during the Martial Law as a journalist.

    We hope for your kind consideration!

    Tria Casas

    1. Hi Tria Casas, I got a request from another DSLU student (was it your partner, Trisha?) asking also for an interview of me, in connection with my experience during martial law as journalist. Can you please call me at my home no.: 889 9523 or 889 9820 or cell 0917-792-8810 so we can coordinate? Thank you.