I arrived here yesterday, right smack in the middle of a repeat of the People Power movement. If you’re planning a visit to the Philippines for next week’s new year, well, let’s just say it’s going to be an exciting break for you!
As I write this, President Estrada has made his third national announcement today, offering snap elections in the upcoming May plebiscite. Up until this point, for the past three days, thousands (hundreds of thousands according to CNN) have converged onto EDSA.
What an atmosphere there is here! What is normally oppresive traffic filling the streets is now traffic that is boisterous and noisy with chanting and horns blaring demanding the resignation of the president.
It’s terribly exciting now, and honestly, we do NOT know what’d going to happen next!
One after another, supporters of the (by now) former President Estrada turned their backs. From the time of my last posting, the floodgates opened: from the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Chief of Staff Gen. Reyes and Sec. of Defense Mercado) to the ranks of the infamous “No” Senators (whose 11 votes last Tuesday to NOT open the dreaded Second Envelope set off this latest wave of protest)!
At sunrise this morning, the march to Malacanang (the Presidential Palace) was to have begun. At noon, Vice-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be sworn into office as the new President. She already has the support of AFP, Congress, and the ‘united’ opposition movement. Meanwhile, President Estrada’s cronies, including his star lawyer Atty. Mendoza, fled the country yesterday.
An orderly transition period seems to be taking shape – just in time for all of you who are planning to come here for Chinese New Year (I hope you haven’t changed any of your plans!) The mood remains buoyant and an optimism that’s been gone for the past 2 years seems to be returning.
For more, follow the situation here:
The Philippines has just sworn in her 14th President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo!
President Estrada has declared that he is not resigning, but he is “stepping down” on Wednesday, five days from today. (Why wait?!?)
President Macapagal-Arroyo explained that talks with President Erap had “broken down” and there are no terms for his removal. Will he leave the country? What about all the money he and his families have amassed?? What happens in these next five days?!?
Stay tuned for more updates.
btw, in case there’s any confusion, the icon that was chosen for this topic is not meant to be a negative review. The Thumbs-Down was actually the salute of People Power II.
Here’s another version of it – just chant "E-rap re-sign! as you watch it move: