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Candidates on Edsa 30 years ago: Duterte

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Candidates on Edsa 30 years ago: Duterte

/ 08:21 AM February 25, 2016
Duterte

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at the first presidential debate in Capitol University, in Cagayan de Oro City.
INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/LYN RILLON

When the Edsa People Power Revolution broke in February 1986, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was already an assistant city prosecutor of Davao City. “But because of my mother, Soledad, I was drawn into the mass movement for change. I attended meetings of the Nationalist Alliance for Justice, Freedom and Democracy (NAJFD) in Davao City,” he said.

He remembers the time well. “There was social ferment and the clamor for change was rising, particularly after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino,” he said.

“There was clear manipulation of the snap election and people rose to protest against it. I, of course, was on the side of truth and justice. I was with the people. That is the reason I was [eventually] appointed OIC [Officer in Charge] Vice Mayor of Davao,” he added.

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How will the presidential candidate commemorate the Edsa revolution?

“I will be in Cebu City, where Cory Aquino was also holed up during the height of the EDSA people power uprising,” he said. Aquino, the leader of the opposition against Ferdinand Marcos, stayed for a night in a Carmelite convent in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City. On Feb. 25, 1986, she took her oath as the country’s new president.

But more than Cebu’s historical significance, Duterte said he would visit Cebu City to echo the change this country has long wanted to have.

“I will be campaigning in Cebu to bring to our people the reality that nothing much has really changed. We need fundamental and structural changes, otherwise drugs, crime, corruption and poverty will remain,” he said.

“We restored democracy but it is only for the elite,” Duterte told INQUIRER.net.

“There is clearly a return of the democratic space, where like media is free again, but the economic and social structure remains a lopsided equation in favor of the few and the many are poor and neglected.”

But despite his reputation for ironclad leadership, Duterte said he would not declare martial law if elected president in the May elections.

“There is no need to declare martial law. We have several laws which are not being fully implemented,” Duterte said. JN

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TAGS: 1986 People Power Revolution, 2016 elections, 30th Edsa People Power Anniversary, Edsa People Power Revolution, Mayor Rody Duterte, People power, Rodrigo Duterte
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