August 7, 2009
The massive crowd that joined former President Cory Aquino’s funeral was not simply expressing grief but conveying support for her fight against dictatorship as shown by the sea of people flashing the laban sign. The laban sign was formerly a symbol of the struggle against the fascist Marcos, it has now assumed a meaning as a fight against the threat of a new tyranny. Gloria Arroyo’s spokespersons are denying that the Palace is threatened but for the first time since Edsa Tres, the regime has reason to be afraid of the spontaneous masses.
Gloria Arroyo should read the sign of the times and heed the pulse of the people. It is time for her to order a stop to con-ass and declare that she will not extend her term. She still has two weeks to do so until the anniversary of Ninoy’s assassination on August 21 that may be the next spontaneous expression of the people’s outrage.
It will not be too late for Gloria Arroyo to pay true respects to Cory Aquino by announcing that she is not seeking to remain in power, what could have been the most important part of her SONA speech that she did not say and merely glossed over by stating the fact that her term ends in 2010.
The Philippines has had only two women presidents. History has been truly kind to the first, Cory Aquino, who is now considered, rightly or wrongly, as an icon of democracy. The people have been awfully forgiving of the second, Gloria Arroyo, for they apparently will allow her to finish her term. But if Gloria Arroyo pushes her luck and maneuvers to remain in power, she faces resistance from a people mobilized by the laban sign.