EDSA I and EDSA II: The Legal Distinctions

The 22nd anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution will be celebrated this coming Monday, 25 February 2008, a non-working holiday. This, of course, is the celebration of the first People Power, also known as EDSA I. There’s an EDSA II and some say there’s an “EDSA Tres,” but since “EDSA Tres” was not successful, we are left with discussing the distinctions between EDSA I and EDSA II.

After former President Joseph Ejercito “Erap” Estrada “stepped out” of Malacanang in 20 January 2001, he filed a petition with the Supreme Court, alleging that he is the President on leave. Respondent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, on the other hand, claims that she is the President. The respondents point out that President Arroyo “ascended the presidency through people power; that she has already taken her oath as the 14th President of the Republic; that she has exercised the powers of the presidency and that she has been recognized by foreign governments.” In other words, as the case assails the “legitimacy of the Arroyo administration,” it involves a political question and hence, is beyond the jurisdiction of the SC to decide.

The respondents cited the case of Lawyers League for a Better Philippines and/or Oliver A. Lozano vs. President Corazon C. Aquino, et al., in which case the SC ruled that the government of former President Aquino was the result of a successful revolution by the sovereign people, albeit a peaceful one (“EDSA I”). The rise of Arroyo as President in 2001 (“EDSA II”), however, is not revolutionary in character. The SC proceeded to make the distinctions between EDSA I and EDSA II:

  • In EDSA I, the Freedom Constitution expressly declared that the Aquino government was installed through a direct exercise of the power of the Filipino people “in defiance of the provisions of the 1973 Constitution, as amended.” In EDSA II, the oath that Arroyo took at the EDSA Shrine is the oath under the 1987 Constitution, whereby she categorically swore to preserve and defend the 1987 Constitution.
  • EDSA I involves the exercise of the people power of revolution which overthrew the whole government. EDSA II is an exercise of people power of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly to petition the government for redress of grievances which only affected the office of the President.
  • EDSA I is extra constitutional and the legitimacy of the new government that resulted from it cannot be the subject of judicial review, but EDSA II is intra constitutional and the resignation of the sitting President that it caused and the succession of the Vice President as President are subject to judicial review.

In other words, EDSA I presented political questions, while EDSA II involves legal questions. The principal issues for resolution in EDSA II require the proper interpretation of certain provisions in the 1987 Constitution, notably Section 1 of Article II, and Section 8 of Article VII, and the allocation of governmental powers under Section 11 of Article VII. (Source: Estrada vs. Desierto, G.R. Nos. 146710-15, 2 March 2001.)

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3 thoughts on “EDSA I and EDSA II: The Legal Distinctions

  1. pian

    The main problem is that we have a very illegitimate democratic system. Our voters elect only those people who are popular and not if they are capable. The big dilemma if GMA is ousted, the VP will take over who was elected PURELY because he’s popular with the masses, and not because he’s capable to lead the nation. Our economy has never grown this much, I don’t want to take the chance by entrusting it to someone solely popular with the masses.
    To prevent this transfer, no matter how believable Lozada initially is, his credibility is now being questioned. He admitted that a certain level of corruption is acceptable to him. Questions have arisen whether he was kidnapped, because his celphone was not confiscated, he dined in Outback restaurant, and he was able to go to the place he wanted to go all along, that is, La Salle Greenhills. I even read he committed a sin of omission regarding his consultation with the wife of Sen. Joker Arroyo. He didn’t correct the impression in which it appeared the wife invited him to her house to urge him not to testify, when the fact of the matter is (based on what I read) Lozada was the one who contacted the wife around September before Joey de Venecia testified, and he was crying and that he doesn’t want to testify. So the wife invited him to her house, and told him she couldn’t lawyer for him due to conflict of interest since her husband is a Senator, while he was then president of Philforest. She advised him then, since he was so distressed, that he doesn’t have to testify if he didn’t want to. Since this was one of those ordinary free consultations, she didn’t bother to tell Joker about it. So Joker was surprised when his wife was mentioned.

  2. pian

    Below is a transcript of a supposedly wiretapped conversation between Joey and Jun I got from a website. Judge for yourself if Jun Lozada is indeed deserving to be treated a hero, but of course after ascertaining if this is genuine.
    usapang udifuta
    TRACK 3…


    Joey (allegedly, Joey de Venecia): Hey Jun.
    Jun (allegedly, Jun Lozada): Hey Joey.
    Joey: Jun, can you hear me?
    Jun: Yeah. Go ahead.
    Joey: Yeah, where are you to put Chair (Abalos)?
    Jun: Ang formula ko doon is kuha ako ng points dun sa 130.
    Joey: Uh-huh…
    Jun: Di ba? Kasi saan ko pa kukunin di ba? (laughs) Itong mga …
    Joey: Kaya lang pare, we need to get some… at least from… something from them, di ba?
    Jun: Yeah.. from both sides. P*t@ng!na…
    Joey: Pare.. start from the thing.. Because he’s the gatekeeper of the votes. P*ta. I can understand, but not that amount.
    Jun: Oh yeah. that’s too big, right. That’s too big.
    Joey: Pare, let’s develop a plan to talk to him.
    Jun: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So…
    Joey: And you know what he told me, between you and I. When we were in Hong Kong… in Shenzen. Don’t quote me ha. Sabi niya kasi, marami akong…… Tinanong ko bakit ba ang laki-laki? Singkwenta.. Sabi niya marami ako kelangan bigyan. Pati yung NEDA. He said the word NEDA ha. P*t@ngina. For your information pare.
    Jun: Information? I would understand that… He’d like to look at…
    Joey: Maybe, wait, you can quote me and say, sabi ni Joey meron daw… sabi mo sa kanya may NEDA dun. (laughs) Di ba? He told me pare. (laughs)
    Jun: Sige, sige…
    Joey: P*t@ng!na, baka magwala na naman yung… (laughs)
    Jun: For some reason, I have this chemistry with him. Sabi ko Chair… In fact, sabi niya, Jun, ikaw na mag-referee bukas ha. Sabi niya, I want you to be there. Ikaw na mag-referee, ikaw na magsabi kung papaano. Sige po Sir, ako na ang mag-aano sa ano… (laughs)
    Joey: Well anyway, so that’s where I’m looking at right now. .. ought to get you.. And then, uh, think of a strategy for Ben (Abalos?), and if you need me to back you up, I’ll be there.
    Jun: Hey Joey, regarding this Chinese embassy thing. I think I struck a motherload no? I’ll put them in Roxas Boulevard. P*t@ng!na, di ba?
    Joey: In the Reformation? (Reclamation)
    Jun: No, p*t@ng!na, that’s not prime. We’ll put them in the CCP complex.
    Joey: Yup, got it.
    Jun: P*t@ng!na. Yeah, that’s, wala.. I can ??? that ??? agreement. (I can swing that gddam deal pare)
    Joey: You mean, owned by the Central Bank?
    Jun: Yeah! Can you imagine? P*t@ng!na, same stature as the American embassy, better pa, di ba? The Japanese Embassy is in Roxas Boulevard. The American embassy is there. So p*ta, I just arrived that we put the Chinese embassy right in the midst of it all, di ba? Joey: Yes, yes, of course. That’s ??? to hear. That’s foresight. (That’s perfect)
    Jun: … don’t mention my name. I think he knows me well.
    Joey: Gaano kalaki, pare?
    Jun: P*t@ng!na, as much as 15 hectares. (laughs)
    Joey: P*t@ng!na. Tapos siguro kumuha rin tayo dun. Pero we need 10 finances. (10 financers)
    Jun: No, no, no, no. P*t@ng!na. I cannot just tell you all the things that I’ve been asked to do. But that one I think, I can ??? for ourselves.
    Joey: I’ll talk to the…
    Jun: Talk to him right away.

  3. CrisostomoIbarra

    In the last sentence of the second paragraph, it was written: “In other words, as the case assails the ‘legitimacy of the Arroyo administration,’ it involves a political question and hence, is beyond the jurisdiction of the SC to decide.”

    But in the last paragraph it says: “…EDSA II involves legal questions.”

    Which is which, Edsa II involved legal question or political question?


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