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The myth of Edsa One

"It was hardly a revolution."

 

Today, Feb. 25, is a holiday. We are supposed to mark the so-called People Power Revolution, which is said to have caused the exile of strongman Ferdinand Marcos. This event is also called Edsa One.

Santa Banana, through all the years since February 1986, I have been wondering why it is called a revolution. To me it was simply a pocket mutiny of over half a million people on Edsa. It was the breakaway group Reform the Armed Forces Movement under then-Lt. Col. Gringo Honasan, but actually led by then-Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and later joined by PC-INP Chief Fidel Ramos, that was actually behind this event!

I say it was just a pocket mutiny because out of about 80 million Filipinos at that time, only a handful of nuns, priests, students and civil society representatives were present.

It was said that this revolution led to the exile in Hawaii of Marcos. The truth was, the Americans abducted Marcos and his family for fear that the mutineers would harm them.

How could Edsa be a revolution? A revolution connotes a change in government like people stormed Bastille in France to depose the monarchy, and when the Bolsheviks revolted against the monarchy of Russia.

But what happened here in 1986 was simply a change in regime. Edsa was just romanticized by the Marcos haters, the same people who elevated Cory Aquino to being an “icon of democracy.”

I was told that Enrile and Ramos were not too sure whether the people would accept the junta. Enrile told me that since Aquino was the face of the opposition to Marcos, the breakaway group made her president, together with Salvador Laurel as vice president.

* * *

The expose of Senator Risa Hontiveros about the pastillas scheme involving Chinese Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator workers at the Bureau of Immigration is actually nothing new.

Immigration people are known to facilitate undocumented overseas Filipino workers. They also provide so-called escort service.

Santa Banana, I knew for a fact that Immigration personnel used to allow detained foreigners to take a holiday or be released for the weekend, in exchange for a monetary consideration. I don't know if this practice remains today.

If the Immigration commissioner is unaware of the pastillas scheme, he is either blind or negligent.

The problem is that Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has admitted that the problem is “hard to crack.” It also involves cartel members who also resort to kidnapping and extortion.

That is the reason I believe that President Duterte should take a hard look at what is happening to the country in the wake of his policy on Pogos. These businesses may be giving money to the government in terms of fees and taxes, but they are corrupting our government officials.

* * *

Speaking of corruption, Customs insiders tell me there is also corruption going on there.

Because of the great amount of containers being unloaded at the Port of Manila and at the Manila International Container Port, Customs has resorted to the release of imported goods by the container, charging each container P7,000 each. This is where corruption takes place—imports are not unloaded but are just X-rayed.

This is why Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez should consider rehiring an international shipment outfit like Switzerland-based Societe Generale de Surveilance to check imported goods loaded in containers.

No less than an oldtimer at Customs, former Customs Commissioner Titus Villanueva who rose from the ranks and later on became commissioner, suggested that rehiring SGS would not only curb smuggling at Customs but even increase revenues. Villanueva attested to the fact that during his time when SGS was still operating, smuggling and corruption were at their lowest.

It was actually former Prime Minister Cesar Virata who first suggested the hiring of SGS, taking off from the experience of Indonesia who had the same problem as the Philippines.

Unfortunately, the pre-shipment function of SGS was stopped during the time of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Congress decided to scrap the contract. The reason for the scrapping was that corrupt officials at Customs started a campaign against SGS.

* * *

Notice that the supply of shabu continues despite President Duterte's all-out war against drugs. My gulay, it is because the Chinese cartels continue smuggling through Customs' sub-ports.

* * *

Will the franchise of ABS-CBN be renewed? It's up to the House of Representatives. If the Supreme Court decides on Solicitor General Jose Calida's quo warranto petition before March 30, the date of the franchise expiration, any action by the House will be moot and academic.

At the rate the Lopez-owned network is soliciting support from many sectors, will Congress relent?

* * *

My book “The Road Never Ends” is now available at La Solidaridad bookstore on Padre Faura and through Brainstorm PH. Just message Carla Diaz de Rivera at 0917-7772337.

Topics: People Power Revolution , EDSA One , ABS-CBN , Jose Calida , Risa Hontiveros , Juan Ponce Enrile , Cory Aquino
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