Last Sunday, a 2.22.15 coalition composed of various groups like the National Transformation Council (NTC) and the Council on Philippine Affairs (COPA) organized rallies at the EDSA Shrine and Makati to call for the resignation of President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy). This coalition also featured the likes of former Tarlac Rep. Peping Cojuangco, former Senator Kit Tatad and former Defense Sec. Norbero Gonzales.
As we all know by now, they failed to muster the numbers and failed in their aim to start another People Power that was aimed at overthrowing the PNoy administration. Why did it fail and why would future People Power engagements against PNoy fail? Here are some thoughts.
FROM THE STREETS TO SOCIAL MEDIA
For those who have organized rallies and mass actions in the 1970s up until now, they would all agree that it is much harder to bring people to the streets to protest against certain policies, actions and decisions made by our government leaders. Even at the height of the corruption scandals of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, opposition groups failed to even muster a crowd of more than half a million Filipinos in EDSA or in any other place in the country. Does that mean that more and more Filipinos are apathetic and do not anymore care about what is happening in our country? Of course not, but the advent of social media is one of the major reasons why protesting in the streets has generated little interest especially among the youth today.
During the 1970s to the early 2000s, when people had an issue with our government, they didn’t have any way to air out their grievances to make themselves heard except to go on the streets with their placards and shout their lungs out until our government heard them. Now, when you have an issue even with an ordinary police officer or a simple transaction in a government office, you simply go online to your Facebook or Twitter account and share your grievances for everyone to see and comment about. Instead of having mass protests on the streets, people now have “protests” and “mass actions” online. They have now found a more convenient and comfortable venue for them to express their opinions and take part in the discussion of issues in our country. Thus, once they have voiced our their anger or outrage in social media, they no longer see the need to go to EDSA or Mendiola to join rallies and other mass actions.
MIDDLE CLASS STILL FOR PNOY
Another important aspect in pushing for People Power is that it is usually led and propelled by the middle class of our society. Why is this?
On one hand, the lower income bracket of our society is too busy working each day just to be able to earn a decent living to feed their families thus, many of them wouldn’t have the time to even consider organizing and taking part in protest actions.
On the other hand, the richest 1% of our country are the ones usually benefitting from the unjust social structures of our society so why would they want to change it? They are also usually the ones dealing with our government leaders thus, they would always want to be in their good side so starting a People Power revolt would be farthest from their minds if only to ensure that they are able to maintain their personal interests.
Unfortunately for those who want to push for People Power, while many of them are disappointed with PNoy’s recent decisions, majority of the middle class still do not believe that PNoy should step down from power, thus the very low turnout in the anti-PNoy rallies being organized by various groups. Also, majority of those I talked to would always tell me, they would rather have PNoy as President any day rather than having Vice-President Jejomar Binay as our nation’s leader.
NO CREDIBLE ALTERNATIVE
Finally and most importantly, these mass actions and rallies to call on PNoy to resign have failed because of the people who are behind it. Look at the track record of the likes of Peping Cojuangco, Kit Tatad and Norberto Gonzales.
Cojuangco has been made infamous by his being known as the father of Kamaganak Inc. during the time of former President Cory Aquino. Tatad was known as one of those who perpetuated Martial Law during the Marcos administration while Gonzales is a known close ally of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
With these people calling for PNoy’s resignation, it is no wonder why Filipinos would rather spend their Sunday afternoon inside the malls with their families rather than go out ON the streets and call for PNoy’s resignation. It would be a totally different story if the likes of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle or CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas would be the ones calling for mass actions to ask PNoy to resign since these two are very much respected by our society.
Fortunately for PNoy and his administration, these two leaders of the Church have continued to stay away from some of their fellow bishops who have time and again called for PNoy to step down.
In short, unless the opposition can find new allies with untarnished credibility to lead their call for PNoy’s resignation then any attempt at People Power will again fail.
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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.