Tens of thousands of people gathered in the streets and parks in Manila and other major cities in the Philippines early this year as People Power II erupted. With crowds swelling, cabinet members offered their massive resignation, and finally even the military deserted the president-it was clear that people power had reached its objective to push Erap Estrada to resign. There were joyful celebrations in the big cities that evening.
Despite all existing political and social theories, there is not one I know that can fully explain the people power phenomenon both in 1986 and this year. While there are material bases for the revolutionary struggle, for the believer there were just so many signs of God's intervention that was the people power. It was political, yes; but it was also very cosmic, metaphysical. There is no way the people could have won, if not but a direct divine intervention. A miracle took place.
Right now many are saying that God has given us a second gift, the first being the one given in 1986. We wasted the first gift; no radical reforms to benefit the poor took place from 1986 on. This is a second gift, and many of us say to ourselves that we should not waste it. We should learn the lessons of 1986 and not commit the same mistakes. Thus, there are calls for:
n A continuing trial of Estrada for all charges of corruption and plunder. Justice first before reconciliation and mercy. He, his kin, cronies, and all those who helped him obstruct justice should be brought to trial. This is the only way we could experience catharsis, as it happened in South Korea. Then, having undergone a fair trial, if they are found guilty they should be punished, even in a symbolic manner. Then, as the psalmist states, let justice and mercy embrace.