The EDSA Revolution of 2001, also called by the local media as EDSA II (pronounced as EDSA Dos or EDSA 2) or the Second People Power Revolution, is the common name of the four-day revolution that peacefully overthrew Philippine President Joseph Estrada from January 17 - January 20, 2001. Advocates describe EDSA II as "popular" but critics view it the uprising as a conspiracy among political and business elites, military top brass and Catholic Church bishop Jaime Cardinal Sin. He was succeeded by his then vice president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who was sworn into the presidency by then-Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. at around noon on January 20, 2001 amidst the EDSA II crowd, several hours even before Estrada left Malacanang. EDSA is an acronym derived from Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, the major thoroughfare connecting the five cities in Metro Manila, namely Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, and Caloocan. The revolt took place in the business district of Ortigas Center.
at regime change
in the Philippines
Civil unrest (1970)
On October 4, 2000. Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson, a longtime friend of President Joseph Estrada, went public with accusations that Estrada, his family and friends received millions of pesos from operations of the illegal numbers game, jueteng.
The exposé immediately ignited reactions of rage. The next day, Senate Minority Leader Teofisto Guingona Jr. delivered a fiery privilege speech accusing Estrada of receiving P220 million in jueteng money from Governor Singson from November 1998 to August 2000, as well as taking P70 million on excise tax on cigarettes intended for Ilocos Sur. The privilege speech was referred by Senate President Franklin Drilon, to the Blue Ribbon Committee and the Committee on Justice for joint investigation. Another committee in the House of Representatives decided to investigate the exposé, while other house members spearheaded a move to impeach the president.
More calls for resignation came from Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos, and Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (who had resigned her cabinet position of Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development).Cardinal Sin stated in a statement "In the light of the scandals that besmirched the image of presidency, in the last two years, we stand by our conviction that he has lost the moral authority to govern." More resignations came from Estrada's cabinet and economic advisers, and other members of congress defected from his ruling party.
On November 13, 2000, the House of Representatives led by Speaker Manuel Villar transmitted the Articles of Impeachment, signed by 115 representatives, to the Senate. This caused shakeups in the leadership of both houses of congress. The impeachment trial was formally opened on November 20, with twenty-one senators taking their oaths as judges, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. presiding. The trial began on December 7.
The day-to-day trial was covered on live Philippine television and received the highest viewing rating at the time. Among the highlights of the trial was the testimony of Clarissa Ocampo, senior vice president of Equitable PCI Bank, who testified that she was one foot away from Estrada when he signed the name "Jose Velarde" documents involving a P500 million investment agreement with their bank in February 2000.
On January 17, 2001, the impeachment trial of President Estrada moved to the investigation of an envelope containing crucial evidence that would allegedly prove acts of political corruption by Estrada. Senators allied with Estrada moved to block the evidence. The conflict between the senators, judges, and the prosecution became deeper, but Senator Francisco Tatad requested to the Impeachment court to make a vote for opening the second envelope. The vote resulted in 10 senators in favor of examining the evidence, and 11 senators in favor of suppressing it. The list of senators who voted for the second envelope are as follows:
|Voted to examine||Voted against examining|
After the vote, Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. resigned as Senate President and walked out of the impeachment proceedings together with the 9 opposition Senators and 11 prosecutors in the Estrada impeachment trial. The 11 administration senators who voted YES to block the opening of the second envelope remained in Senate Session Hall. They were chanted with "JOE'S COHORTS" where their surnames were arranged.
All 11 prosecutors in the Estrada impeachment trial resigned. Sen. Tessie Aquino-Oreta, one of the three female senators who voted against opening the envelope (a "NO" vote), was seen on nationwide television and most people had the impression that she was dancing joyfully as the opposition walked out. This further fueled the growing anti-ERAP sentiments of the crowd gathered at EDSA Shrine, and she became the most vilified and accursed of the 11 senators. She was labeled a "prostitute" and a "concubine" of ERAP for her dancing act. Sen. Defensor-Santiago was also ridiculed, as the crowd tagged her as a "lunatic" (a popular and often understandable criticism of her).
The crowd continues to grow, bolstered by students from private schools and left-wing organizations.Activists from the group Bayan and Akbayan as well as lawyers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and other bar associations joined in the thousands of protesters.
At 2:00pm, Estrada appears on television for the first time since the beginning of the protests and maintains that he will not resign. He says he wants the impeachment trial to continue, stressing that only a guilty verdict will remove him from office.
At 6:15pm, Estrada again appears on television, calling for a snap presidential election to be held concurrently with congressional and local elections on May 14, 2001. He adds that he will not run in this election.
At noon, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo takes her oath of office in the presence of the crowd at EDSA, becoming the 14th president of the Philippines.
At 2:00 pm, Estrada releases a letter saying he had "strong and serious doubts about the legality and constitutionality of her proclamation as president", but saying he would give up his office to avoid being an obstacle to healing the nation.
Later, Estrada and his family leave Malacañang Palace, smiling and waving to reporters and shaking hands with the remaining members of his Cabinet and other palace employees. He was placed under house arrest and eventually confined to his rest home in Sampaloc, a small village in Tanay, Rizal.
The only means of legitimizing the event was the last-minute Supreme Court ruling that "the welfare of the people is the supreme law." But by then, the Armed Forces of the Philippines days ago already withdrew support for the president, which some analysts call unconstitutional and most foreign political analysts would agree. William Overholt, a Hong Kong-based political economist said that "It is either being called mob rule or mob rule as a cover for a well-planned coup," "But either way, it's not democracy." It should also be noted that opinion was divided during EDSA II about whether Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the incumbent Vice President should be President if Joseph Estrada was ousted; many groups who participated in EDSA II expressly stated that they did not want Arroyo for president either, and some of them would later participate in EDSA III. The prevailing Constitution of the Philippines calls for the Vice President of the Philippines, Arroyo at the time, to act as interim president when the President-elect is incapacitated.
World reaction to the administration change was mixed. Though foreign nations, including the United States, immediately expressed recognition of the legitimacy of Arroyo's presidency, foreign commentators described the revolt as "a defeat for due process of law", "mob rule," and a "de facto coup".
On January 18, 2008, Joseph Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) caused full-page advertisement in Metro Manila newspapers, blaming EDSA 2 of having "inflicted a dent on Philippine democracy". It featured clippings questioned the constitutionality of the revolution. The published featured clippings were taken from Time, The New York Times, The Straits Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Asia Times Online, The Economist, and International Herald Tribune. Supreme Court justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma opined that EDSA 2 violated the 1987 Constitution.
On February 2008 parts of the Catholic Church that played a vital role during EDSA II issued a sort of apology. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Iloilo Archbishop Angel Lagdameo expressed disappointment in Mrs. Arroyo, saying that the event which has become known as EDSA II, installed a president who was reported in February 2008 by the Philippine newspaper The Daily Tribune as "... now being adjudged in surveys as the country’s 'most corrupt' leader".
On March 13, 2008, Joseph Estrada named Lucio Tan, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Fidel Ramos, Luis Singson, and the Ayala and Lopez clans (who were both involved in water businesses) as co-conspirators of EDSA Revolution of 2001.