When former President Cory Aquino apologized to former President Erap Estrada for her participation in the so-called EDSA II, which her spokesperson later said was made in jest, initially I cannot make heads or tails out of it. But mulling about it I think she was really serious about it and it seems the “clarification” of the spokesperson was just an attempt in damage control. Because mmediately after the apology, a firestorm of criticism emanating from former allies battered the former President who is not known for making jokes.
I cannot make sense of the criticism directed at Cory from the likes of Sen. Gordon, Archbishop Cruz and her own son Noynoy. First of all, if a person wants to issue a mea culpa it is his or her full right to do so. Anyway, nobody is yet suggesting that the former President’s mental faculties are already impaired. And to me a person battling for her life (she is stricken with cancer) and who has no political ambitions is even more credible.
But maybe those who reacted are a bit insecure now about their historical role in EDSA II or simply they are being self-righteous about it.
There was a wide consensus among the educated then that Erap was a bit inept, obviously undisciplined and he lets some friends make deals when he was President. But to depose Erap in such a way when there were legal avenues open and there were no insinuations that Erap was throttling the legal remedies (unlike the current occupier of Malacanang) subsequently became the bone of contention.
EDSA II never really gained widespread acceptance (Erap still had a positive trust rating when he was deposed and the poor never really accepted his fall as evidenced by the so-called EDSA III; moreover, it was just a Manila event). Even in the international plane, world leaders and personalities never praised EDSA II and it even drew criticisms. Probably EDSA II even demeaned EDSA I. As evidences seeped out, more and more it looks liked a simple power grab by an oppurtunistic clique who was able to con the educated class and a the same time a mutiny on the part of the military.
The power grab resulted not in a better government but in a more corrupt, shameless and abusive regime. And a Pandora’s box was opened–that extra-constitutional means of regime change is possible and can be legalized by a complicit Supreme Court. I think Cory is aware of this and I think this is the foundation of her change of heart regarding her EDSA II participation.
Most of the other political allies of Cory are still silent about her apology. Are they this deferent to Cory or is this silence a tacit admission that they themselves have already doubts about the rightness of their participation in EDSA II?
To widen the view, let us take note that notable ESDA II participants like former Senate President Villar and former Vice-President Guingona has already made peace with Erap. I think Cory’s move is along this line. The only difference is that Cory has probably the guts to make her apologies public and for this she drew flak.
The ignominy right now is not Cory’s apology. It is just like making a mountain out of a molehill. Our current ignominy resides in the situation where we have a regime geometrically worse than Erap’s and yet we cannot do anything about it. And that “stellar” gathering where Cory made her apology is just the final proof of our current inutility.