The color yellow is said to represent cowardice. Such is true of the Yellow crowd that conspired in 2001 to topple the popularly-elected leader who tried to protect the nation from the oligarchy’s predatory profit-seeking. Supported by the likes of ABS-CBN, Inquirer, and Big Business establishments of Ayala Avenue , this Yellow crowd, proudly calling itself “civil society,” later on earned the moniker “evil society” after the nation bore the brunt of their abusive reign. Epitomized by their erstwhile puppet Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, these people fast-tracked approval of onerous power projects; privatized energy production, water utilities, and expressways, thus, jacking up Filipinos’ cost-of-living horrendously; and saddled us with the greatest debt surge, in the trillions, since Cory Aquino’s seven-year P400-billion debt post-Edsa I.
In 1986, these Yellows, backed by the US corporate oligarchy, deposed the besieged former President Ferdinand Marcos, then gave away the media assets held by the state. ABS-CBN and dzMM, for instance, were taken back by the Lopezes, even when their financing came from the Meralco power firm that was similarly turned over for nothing. Marcos’ Daily Express print media domination was likewise replaced by the Inquirer-Philippine Star tandem that has received advertising support from local and transnational Big Business ever since.
When Aquino took power, she had supposedly restored electoral democracy. But what actually happened, and what’s not being told, is that she merely turned over public utility assets from the state back to the oligarchs, thereby entrenching their political and economic domination of our land and its democratic institutions.
What the nation suffered under Mrs. Aquino and her anointed, Gen. Fidel Ramos, were crises upon crises in the power sector, which profited the largest generator-importing crony family at that time and also opened the way for Ramos’ infamous emergency take-or-pay contracts with Independent Power Producers (IPPs). As a consequence, the nation was made to pay for power that has not even been used, due to the notorious Purchased Power Agreements (PPAs) that enjoyed sovereign guarantees.
Meanwhile, privatization of our water utilities proceeded posthaste in favor of the Ayalas and Lopezes, and water rates zoomed ten times. As the people suffered, they decided in 1998 to rally behind a leader of their own, prompting Cory’s Rasputin, the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, to issue his “Anybody but Erap” call to the faithful.
Still, Erap won overwhelmingly. And a regime of restrained debt amortization, increased social spending for the poor, and self-reliant economics ensued. Most of all, President Joseph Estrada put a stop to all sovereign guarantees.
And since precipitate power and water rate hikes were refused outright, much to the chagrin of the oligarchs, and with the US Embassy intensely miffed by Erap’s ban on sovereign guarantees, as well as, his decisive wipe-out of the US’ MILF surrogates in Mindanao, a campaign of vilification through the oligarchs’ captive tri-media came underway. Bombings were contrived by police elements allied to the Yellows, who hid behind alleged Muslim terrorists. Then, Cory called on Estrada to step down in January 2001, culminating in Arroyo’s unconstitutional ascent to power.
Although Cory apologized to Erap nine years later, the damage to the nation her error has caused is one that a mere apology can never repair.
With the 2010 polls close at hand, Estrada, in pursuing his sense of destiny, began to ascend to the top two ranks of the main poll surveys, the SWS and Pulse Asia. Competing against him is a renegade Edsa II stalwart who had spun off his own bid with the secret backing of Gloria Arroyo. The dyed-in-the-wool, blue blood candidate, meanwhile, had long been black and blue in the surveys, slipping badly to fifth place. Then Cory Aquino died.
ABS-CBN and the Inquirer drummed up the dirge 24/7; the Ayalas sent down employees to line the streets; and Filipinos who are suckers for funerals and “uzis” brought in more “uzis.” Eureka ! A perfect opportunity for a new blue blood to take up the cudgels for the elite was concocted.
Never mind if this Lopez-Ayala-Prieto candidate was congressman for nine years and produced only five House bills, of which none was passed into law. Never mind if, as senator, he only had the renaming of streets as accomplishment. He didn’t have anything to say on the CARP either, maybe because of his family’s Hacienda Luisita embroilment that saw 14 farmers killed. And this non-entity suddenly becomes material for the presidency?
He is built up as a patriot, as it says in his Web site: “Dugong Bayani.” But “Dugong Traydor” is more like it with a grandfather who volunteered to head the Japanese occupation government Kalibapi and a father who betrayed the Philippines ’ efforts to retake Sabah . Still, ABS-CBN, the Inquirer, the Ayalas et al. can turn black into white, traitors into heroes, and even make an opposition hitchhiker into “the” opposition candidate.
To wit, the Inquirer had the idiocy to publish this story yesterday: “Erap busts opposition’s hopes for unity.” This, despite a long line of contrary historical evidence:
Estrada, through the Pwersa ng Masa (PnM) Coalition, shepherded the opposition senatorial slate in 2001 against Gloria’s “13-0” People Power Coalition, winning six seats. In 2004, Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) became the backbone of FPJ’s candidacy which won but was cheated, as admitted by Gloria in her 2005 “I am sorry” spiel. In 2007, Estrada cobbled the Genuine Opposition (GO) slate from detention in Tanay, Rizal, and won eight out of twelve slots, clobbering Arroyo’s Team Unity. Given these, who is the rightful opposition leader today?
The Yellow crowd’s dummy was only a hanger-on in the GO slate, owing to his late mother’s request. So even with ABS-CBN and the Inquirer on his side, the people should still strive for final emancipation. Estrada must hammer on the message that his struggle is the people’s fight against these exploiters.
(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m; Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 21, Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m.. on “Comparing the Marcos, Aquino, and Erap Legacies” with ex-Gov. Bono Adaza and columnist Eric Espina; also visit http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)