TECHNOLOGY CHANGING POLITICAL DYNAMICS
"People Power II" -- as the events of January 17 to 20 are now called -- was different from first "People Power" in February 1986 in three key ways.
First, "People Power I" resulted from manipulation of vote counting in the snap elections and triggered by a military faction that was forced to come out in the open after its coup plot was discovered, while "People Power II" resulted from a series of allegations of massive graft on the part of a president and triggered by perceived collusion among 11 Estrada administration-aligned senators to silence a move to present key evidence in the impeachment case.
Second, it took almost two decades for civil society to respond forcefully to allegations of massive graft and corruption, human rights violations and a number of other crimes before "People Power I" erupted; and only a little less than three years for the same society to depose a leader who was perceived to be aping the object of hate of the first revolt.
The third distinction, however, is a first in Philippine -- maybe even Asian and world -- revolutionary history: "People Power II" showed the power of the Internet and mobile communications technology -- not to mention broadcast media -- not only to shape public opinion but also to mobilize civil society when push came to a shove.
Indeed, "People Power II" demonstrated how the Filipinos used these new technologies to topple an impeached official when the constitutionally prescribed impeachment process bogged down.
True, the indispensable ingredient of an irate public pushed to the wall cannot be ignored in the equation.
But the fact is it would have taken longer to mobilize people who were otherwise not included in the organized opposition had it not been for new technologies at the ready disposal of the man of the street.
And in intense situations like the events that unfolded in those fateful five days of January, a few hours too... Continues...