The Fall of Estrada & the Rise of a New Political System

October 16, 2000

Governor Chavit Singson of Ilocus Sur, a presidential friend and known protector of illegal gambling called jueteng, shocked the whole country when he accused the president of the republic of the Philippines, Joseph Estrada, as the "lord of all jueteng lords."  by receiving 5 million pesos protection money from jueteng every month during his term of presidency.  He also accused the president of receiving kickbacks from 170 million pesos excise tobacco tax.

October 17, 2000

Clamor for Erap's resignation started.   Political and Economic crisis worsen.

November 13, 2000

The House of Representatives filed an impeachment case against the president on the grounds of bribery, graft and corruption, betrayal of public trust, and culpable violation of the Constitution.  (Click here for the Articles of Impeachment)

November 14, 2000

National Day of Protest calling for the president to resign for loss of moral ascendancy,  incompetence especially in handling the country during the economic crisis, and the scandals and accusations he is facing.

December 7, 2000

The Impeachment Trial started.   Chief Justice of the Philippines, Hilario Davide Jr. was the presiding officer and the 22 members of the Senate as judges.  A verdict of conviction from 15 senators is needed to remove the president from office.

December 22, 2000

During the impeachment trial, a bank executive testified that Estrada has a hidden bank account in the Equitable-PCI Bank containing 500 million pesos (an amount not stated in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities) using a different name, which is "Jose Velarde." The defense objected to the testimony on the grounds of irrelevancy and immateriality because the allegation was not included in the Articles of Impeachment.  The presiding officer ruled that the testimony will be accepted as evidence only upon proof that the 500 million is ill-gotten money.

January 4, 2001

Two days after the trial resumed from a week-long Christmas break, a former Cabinet member and also a colleague of the president, testified that the accusations alleged in the Articles of Impeachment with regards to   the president's betrayal of public trust, are true.

January 16, 2001

A new set of evidence contained in a BROWN ENVELOPE was voluntarily given by a bank.  It was to prove that the 500 million pesos was indeed ill-gotten and also to show that the president owns more bank accounts, all under different names.  The prosecutors were told that the total amount contained in the said different bank accounts is 3.3 billion pesos. Unfortunately, a majority of the senators (11 out of 21) voted to bar the opening of the ENVELOPE  on the grounds of immateriality (not being included in the Articles of Impeachment).  Prosecutors, who interpreted this vote of the 11 senator-judges as a suppression of truth and an early sign of acquittal verdict for the president, walked out from the courtroom.  Anti-Estrada spectators in the court walked-out too. 

11:00 pm Militant groups, the civil society, left-wing groups, and a large anti-Estrada crowd protested against the decision of the 11 senator-judges to bar the evidence, by calling all people against the president to gather in EDSA-Shrine, in Ortigas Avenue, Mandaluyong City.  Jaime Cardinal Sin, a prominent figure during the widely popular1986 EDSA People Power, called on Filipinos to go to EDSA and stay there until "good has conquered evil" or Estrada's resignation.  EDSA People Power II was formally launched.  Other key figures in the 1986 EDSA People Power I joined the growing crowd of anti-Estrada, like former presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos.

January  17, 2001 EDSA People Power II: DAY ONE

The impeachment trial was adjourned (suspended) because of the prosecutors' resignation.  Date of the trial's resumption was not decided.

A crowd numbering to 100,000 was already in the EDSA Shrine.

January 18, 2001 EDSA People Power II: DAY TWO

The number of protestors in EDSA tripled. They formed a "Human Chain" from EDSA Shrine in Ortigas Avenue Mandaluyong City to Ayala Avenue in Makati City, to show Estrada that  hundreds of thousands of people are already demanding his resignation.

More and more prominent personalities and even friends and former colleagues in the entertainment business of the president are calling for his immediate step down from office. Rumor of the military and police's withdrawal of support to the president spread. 

January 19, 2001 EDSA People Power II: DAY THREE

The withdrawal of support to the president from the military and police came true as high ranking military and police officials joined the protest in the EDSA Shrine. This would leave no other option for the president but to leave office.  The military's and police's withdrawal of support are key factors in making the president incapable of performing his duties.  More than half of the president's cabinet members and a number of top government officials resigned from their positions and joined the rally in EDSA..  All of these withdrawal of support and resignations boosted the confidence of the anti-Estrada people that EDSA People Power II will indeed succeed and an incompetent president will be thrown out of office in a matter of hours.

Number of protestors in EDSA, is believed to have already reached nearly two million! And yours truly is proud to be one of   those!

5:00pm Estrada, for the first time in the last four days, was on television.  Estrada addressed to the Filipinos that he will not resign and would like the impeachment trial to go on.  He added that he already told his lawyers to allow the opening of the ENVELOPE.  He stressed-out that only a conviction verdict from the impeachment trial would force him out of office. However, the people immediately and with absolutely no hesitations, rejected Estrada's proposal. 

6:15 pm Estrada was again on television, addressing to the people, not his resignation, but a proposal to include a presidential snap election in the upcoming May congressional and local elections.  He added that he will not be running in this special election.  As expected, the nearly two million EDSA crowd, rejected the proposal and instead gave the president a 6:00 am deadline to leave office or else they will march to Malacanang, the residential place of president, and force him to step down.

January 20, 2001  EDSA People Power II: DAY FOUR

Amidst negotiations for a peaceful transition of power, the 6:00 am deadline was not met.  About one-third of the people in EDSA, marched to Malacanang and even occupied a street near Malacanang, Mendiola, where only around 500 Estrada supporters were gathering.  They outnumbered these Estrada supporters, making these pro-Estrada people call for a retreat.  The anti-Estrada crowd gathered in Mendiola, ready to topple Estrada.

Despite resistance to resign by the president, the supreme court made a unanimous decision to file a resolution declaring the position of president vacant therefore allowing the constitutionally-mandated successor, the vice-president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to take over.  At exactly 12:00 noon, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took  oath in the presence of the countless people in EDSA and became the 14th president of the Republic of the Philippines. Afterwards, she gave a 14-minute inauguration speech.  The joyfulness of the crowd was simply unexplainable.  

2:00 pm, ousted president Estrada wrote a letter stating his doubts on the constitutionality of Gloria Arroyo's proclamation as president.  However, he added that he doesn't wish to be a factor in, what Arroyo said during her speech as, healing process of the country, so he already stepped down from office.

God answered the nation's prayer! The goal of EDSA People Power II was undoubtedly achieved! No wonder, The Spirit of EDSA Lives On!

...so it was not the straw that broke the camel's back, it was the  ENVELOPE.  If only those 11 senators chose to open the mysterious envelope, the people would have not protested in EDSA, and People Power II would have not taken place.  However, the people in EDSA are a little bit glad with those eleven's decision  not to open the envelopes, because it all ended up to an infamous president's removal from office and once again Filipinos have shown to the entire world, through EDSA People Power II, the Filipino's sense of unity, peaceful & non-violent attitude and that democracy works in our country! God Bless the Philippines!

Additional info:

Weeks after EDSA 2, Estrada insisted that he never really resigned and therefore he is still the president.  He added that Gloria Arroyo is merely an acting president.  The president insisted on these in order to gain immunity from the plunder and other charges filed against him since the president and other high ranking public officials have immunity from charges until their term expires.   However, the Justices of the Supreme Court, using the actions of the former president during his last days in office as basis, unanimously agreed that he undoubtedly resigned from office and because of this, he no longer enjoys immunity from the charges.   Estrada appealed the supreme court's decision, but the appeal was unanimously denied.  During the last week of April 2001, Estrada was arrested for plunder charges.  The supporters of Estrada protested the arrest by staging what they called "EDSA 3."  It lasted for nearly four days.  It was said that most of the people in the crowd were "paid" to support EDSA 3 by public officials who are allies with the former president.  They demanded Estrada's return to power even though there is no LEGAL or lawful way he can  return to office.  Estrada’s allies in politics persuaded the protestors to march towards Malacanang.  At early morning of May 1, they marched to Malacanang and attempted to enter the residential palace. Unfortunately for them, military men has already barricaded it and, using maximum tolerance, made the pro-Estrada crowd retreat.   The supporters of Estrada created a riot by throwing rocks, burning cars, destroying police stations, hurting policemen and even news reporters. They failed in their endeavor to let the current president resign and bring Estrada back!  They, along with the Estrada allies who persuaded them to march to Malacanang were accused of “Rebellion”. This gathering cannot be truly called EDSA 3 because rallies in EDSA are always characterized by peaceful protests.  By the unquestionably rude and cruel attitudes and actions of the Estrada supporters, this rally is NOT worth calling EDSA 3.

Source: http://members.tripod.com/twist14/edsa2/main.htm

Other Links: http://members.tripod.com/twist14/edsa2/ and http://www.geocities.com/hoydigiteer/edsa2/index.html