Saying that the spirit of Edsa is the "ideological opposite of authoritarianism," Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Saturday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to abandon his dictatorial ambitions and go back to the ways of democracy.
Hontiveros said that Duterte should learn from the lessons of Edsa and accept that authoritarianism is an unsustainable framework of governance. The Senator issued the statement a day before the country observes the 32nd anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution.
"President Duterte should read the writing on the wall and learn from our history. It's not possible to have a sustainable dictatorship, not even his so-called 'Dutertismo.' Sooner or later, it will collapse beneath the weight of its own contradictions. That is the fate of all dictatorships. This is what Edsa taught us. Democracy always pushes back. No would-be dictator can outlast democracy," Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros pointed to the 1986 and 2001 EDSA people power uprisings as proof of the Filipino people's democratic tradition.
"In just the span of 15 years, the country had two popular uprisings that toppled a dictatorship and an abusive and corrupt government. That is no small feat. It is a testament to the Filipino people's strong democratic instinct," Hontiveros said.
"We may falter along the way and be seduced by authoritarian shortcuts and false promises, but in the end, we always find our way back to the revolutionary and democratic ideals of Edsa," Hontiveros concluded.
In 1986, a series of popular demonstrations in the Philippines toppled the dictatorship of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. Fifteen years later, a four-day political protest peacefully ended the government of then President Joseph Estrada. On both occasions, people flocked to Edsa.
EDSA is the acronym derived from Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, the major thoroughfare connecting five cities in Metro Manila.