NOT A REVOLUTION: Don't call the 1986 People Power uprising a revolution but a historical judgment of the Marcos dictatorship, according to Bayan spokesperson Carol Araullo.
Speaking to radio DZMM, Araullo said she was in third year college at the University of the Philippines when President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law.
Before the declaration, she said the Philippines was already in crisis, with the creation of the New People's Army and Moro National Liberation Front, the political war between the Liberal and Nacionalista Parties, and street rallies attracting as many as 10,000 participants.
"Marcos needed to declare martial law to advance his ambition and to support the corrupt system. Pero hindi naman na-solve ang problema. He used an iron fist to prevent opposition and dissent...Kids nowadays take for granted that you can speak your mind," she said.
After the martial law declaration, many activists were arrested and thrown in jail for various offenses.
Araullo was among those arrested by the Philippine Constabulary when she went to UP to enroll. She said she underwent psychological torture, was forced to undress "and there was some amount of sexual abuse."
Araullo said her father, who worked for a Marcos crony, had to bribe the military to set her free. Other activists, however, were not so lucky and never left jail.
"The best and brightest were victims of martial law," she said.
Araullo said the 1986 People Power uprising should not be considered a revolution because it only brought back the "trappings of democracy."
"There's a Congress now but full of dynasties. There's a judiciary but controlled by vested interests and if you have money...Poverty is still widespread, including social injustice, inequality."
"EDSA was not a revolution. The reforms hoped for did not come," she added.
However, despite the EDSA uprising losing its sheen, Araullo said it is important to remember the lessons of EDSA.
"Ang kinang ng EDSA malaki na ang nabawas dun. Lalo na ang kabataan wala namang memories. They cannot identify with its relevance but that doesn't mean we can just shrug our shoulders and forget what happened like what the Marcoses want."
"EDSA was an uprising of the entire country. Sobra na, tama na. It was a historical judgment of the dictatorship at kahit papaano nakatatak yan sa kasaysayan. Ang kampo ng mga Marcos at mga loyalists, they want to dilute it until it is erased from history."
Araullo said the move of the Marcoses to erase history could already be seen when human rights victims filed a lawsuit against the Marcoses in Hawaii.
She said the Marcos family was willing to settle with the human rights victims but only on the condition that all records and depositions of the victims would be placed in a vault and sealed.
"The human rights victims said 'keep the money' because we cannot exchange the verdict of history for money," she said.
She said this is the same sentiment that could be seen when Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr allegedly said human rights victims were only in it for the money. Marcos earlier denied making the "pera-pera" remark, saying he was referring to certain lawyers who just wanted money.
"It shows the disdain," Araullo said of Marcos' remarks. "Wala siyang respeto, walang remorse, walang pag-amin sa extent ng kahayupan ng ginawa ng kanyang magulang. Pinakinabangan din niya yun."
Araullo said there are many factors that contribute to the "amnesia" about the Marcos-led martial law era. She said the education system was not revised to teach students about the abuses during martial law.
"We need to remove the distortions of history. People Power was largely spontaneous, the mass uprising on EDSA was spontaneous but there was a buildup. What is important is the fight was done in a sustained, organized manner. Ang kalaban mo organisado, makapangyarihan kaya dapat ipantatapat mo ay organisado at makapangyarihang pagkakaisa ng mamamayan."