The “EDSA Evolution” (“ReVOTElution”) Is Not a French Revolution’s Filipino Version

by Bobby Reyes

“The French Revolution” | Image by Tonynetone via Flickr/Creative Commons

Part XI of the “ReVOTElution of H.O.P.E.” Series

Yes, evolutionary changes can push an Economic Development and Social Advancement (EDSA) agenda if new faces with better-and-doable ideas are elected to replace current leaders that just maintain the status quo.

Jose Ma. Montelibano is my neighbor in the Op-Ed section of the Philippine Daily Mirror. He wrote in his recent column, Viewpoint, a similar message conveyed by the ReVOTElution of H.O.P.E. He wrote: “When there is no visionary leadership and no revolutionary movement as a clear alternative, the extended application of what is old until it becomes decrepit. Frustration, then, has nowhere to vent its tension. Implosion. In the old playbook of power plays, hidden hands would orchestrate internal conflicts in countries until a revolution erupts.” To read Mr. Montelibano’s column, please click this link.

It appears that columnist Mr. Montelibano was writing about a possible Filipino version of the French Revolution.

But with due respect to Mr. Montelibano and other proactive Filipino Thinkers, our group of OFWs and Overseas-Filipino leaders wants the evolutionary, not the revolutionary, means of achieving changes for the better in our Philippine homeland. This was why the ReVOTElution was coined. It is a term for the exercise of creating positive changes through the peaceful exercise of suffrage. Even if the Filipino people staged an almost-bloodless EDSA Revolution in February 1986, we still urged that the EDSA be turned into an evolution of pushing Economic Development and Social Advancement. But then the new leaders (in three electoral cycles after the snap election of February 1986) simply maintained the status quo, which was (and continues to be) the bedrock of The Imperial Manila.

A flashback of a Real Revolution in Sorsogon in the early 1970s. I returned to Manila from Guam in late October 1972, after the then-Dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos declared martial law on Sept. 21, 1972. I was indeed fortunate that on that day, I was working in Guam.

” … there are no winners in an armed conflict like in a civil war; that ultimately many of the protagonists would perish, as more often than not, a bloody revolution turns many of the rebels — even if the rebellion succeeds — into victims themselves.”

A few weeks after my arrival in Manila, I visited my hometown of Sorsogon (now Sorsogon City). I met with my high-school buddies and activist kin. I learned that several of them joined the rebels’ ranks that took up arms against the Marcos regime. My nephew (Celso B. Minguez, from my father’s side) headed the rebels’ political arm in Sorsogon. And my second-degree cousin (Sotero Llamas, from my maternal side) headed the military branch of the rebellion in the Bicol Region. In our private and clandestine meetings, I told them that “there are no winners in an armed conflict like in a civil war; that ultimately many of the protagonists would perish, as more often than not, a bloody revolution turns many of the rebels — even if the rebellion succeeds — into victims themselves.” This was what happened in the French Revolution. Because a violent revolution always rears its ugly head, so to use an adage. Many founders of the “French Revolution” ended up also being eliminated via the guillotine.

My warning (and prophecy) became a reality. Two of my high-school buddies (Butch Bautista and Freddy Gacosta) took up arms and died fighting for their cause. My nephew and cousin were assassinated even after they accepted a political amnesty created by the Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino administration in 1987. Yes, President Cory C. Aquino took over after the Dictator Marcos, his family, and inner circle fled to Hawaii via Guam on a forced exile. But the leadership of the status quo changed only insofar as the gender of the presidency was concerned.

We hope to publish a book called a “ReVOTElution of H.O.P.E. — 2022-2047.” As the principal book editor, I plan to mention the saga of the above-mentioned four Sorsoganon rebels that gave up their lives — in the prime of their young lives. I promised them — as the storyteller of our circle of friends and kin — that I would write (as what I have been doing for nearly four decades) what they fought for. It was a pity that I declined to become the Sorsoganon edition of Apolinario Mabini, the supposed brains of the 1896-1898 Filipino Revolution against Spain.

“Because a violent revolution always rears its ugly head, so to use an adage. Many founders of the “French Revolution” ended up also being eliminated via the guillotine.”

Some of my fellow OFW pioneers and Overseas-Filipino leaders want to accomplish the same aims through a ReVOTElution. And not through a “revolution,” which often results in the country experiencing an “implosion,” to borrow the term used by Mr. Montelibano.

There are several ReVOTElution groups that our coalition organized on Facebook. It is in addition to the existing different chapters of the “OFW/Overseas-Filipino Nation.”

By the way, the links (with the full title of each article) to the complete series are reproduced in this Facebook Group of similar ReVOTElution of H.O.P.E., which was founded in 2016.

Even in the Sorsogon Electric Cooperatives I and II, and in the province’s water agencies, the cofounders agreed with this journalist to name their Facebook Group the ReVOTElution sa SORECO, Water Districts & TeleCom.

Time will tell if the youth and young voters will emulate Sorsoganons (circa 1972) in the other 80 provinces of the Philippines — both of the revolutionary and evolutionary types.

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