Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Exactly a week ago today, I rushed over to Quiapo without even having breakfast. It was because of Unang Hirit's announcement that the issuance of the verdicts on the perjury and plunder cases against former president Joseph Estrada was to be telecast live on Mercury Drug's giant electronic monitor at Plaza Miranda.

So I thought this would be the ideal location for me to document the crowd's reaction to the verdict. After all, the Estrada camp claims the full support of about a third of our population; therefore, I assumed a huge crowd of supporters would be there.

Now, as we all know, Plaza Miranda is that public square in front of Quiapo Church, a popular site for political rallies. It was also the scene of a tragic incident: in August 21, 1971 during the Liberal Party's Miting de Avance, a bomb exploded which claimed eight lives, while another hundred people sustained serious injuries, all of them civilians.

This precious square of real estate also became etched into our national consciousness as the ultimate political soapbox when
President Ramon Magsaysay famously remarked, “Can we defend it in Plaza Miranda?”

On the other hand, Mercury Drug Store's electronic billboard is the first of its kind in the Philippines with two wall mounted, high resolution, ultra bright light emitting diode (LED) display screen. Hence, I thought this would make a superb backdrop when photographing the peoples' reaction and show of support.

But alas! On that particular day, not a single soul in Plaza Miranda seemed to care; no one even bothered to look up on the giant monitor for an update throughout the entire telecast. Neither was there a huge contingent of Estrada supporters standing vigil and petitioning for the Black Nazarene's auspicious intervention.

Moreover, when the verdict was finally issued -- acquittal for perjury and conviction on two out of four counts of plunder -- the people in Plaza Miranda remained oblivious, except to their own personal errands and businesses that seemed to demand their utmost attention.

I finally left the plaza around one o'clock in the afternoon. Soon thereafter, a torrential rainfall hit the city causing flash flooding all over the place. The following day, I heard that Estrada's loyalists perceived those two hours of heavy downpour as a sign of "heaven weeping for such an unfair verdict."

Be that as it may, the following photographs basically provide a glimpse of how people went about their way on that particular Wednesday morning at Plaza Miranda.


posted by Señor Enrique at 2:49 PM


Anonymous rhodora said...

Nawalan na rin ng interest ang mga tao, lalo na ang mga supporters ni Erap - they also have to earn a living.

And you rushed to Quiapo without eating breakfast! hehehe.

Oh, I love the last pic! It's really like - God is watching us! :)

September 19, 2007 8:12 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You're right, Rhoda, it probably came to a point in which that one-third of the population that once vigorously supported Erap felt blown away by the almost half a billion pesos that Erap was ordered by the court to return to the government.

And to think that most of those local folks probably don't even have a half a thousand pesos in their pockets on any given day. Now, here's the man they once idolized and put into the highest office in the land ordered by the court to return the kind of money that's most probably beyond their usual level of perception.

An interesting reversal of fortune (more so in terms of support than money) for Erap, indeed.

September 19, 2007 8:35 PM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

Erap's counsels are looking into every possible way to get reversed verdict from the SC.

They claim that Erap did not actually commit plunder because the money in question is mostly 'jueteng' money, and therefore, not government money!


September 19, 2007 8:50 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And this probably explains why those from the entertainment sector did poorly in the last elections.

Perhaps, the masses are finally waking up and no longer interested to witness more of the same theatrical fiasco seep into our political arena. The old political guards are doing a good enough job in keeping us amused and perplexed without the cameo appearances of those celebrity "has beens."

September 19, 2007 9:27 PM  

Anonymous sardonicnell said...

this place looks different now, must be some developments the city did. if memory serves me right, way back the marcos era. there was a bombing at plaza miranda. right?

September 20, 2007 10:38 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

I can see that like me you love Quiapo and its people!

September 20, 2007 11:12 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

LOL deadma lang ang mga tao! well anyways, sawa na kasi ang mga pinoy sa pulitika, walan gkatapusan na yun about erap and most prolly alam na lahat kun ano un magiging verdict. nice shots as usual! :)

September 20, 2007 11:38 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

The former mayor Lito Atienza spearheaded a multi-million facelift of Plaza Miranda, Nell, which was paid for by Malacanang. And yes ... a tragic bombing incident occurred here which some claim ushered in the Martial Law era.

September 20, 2007 12:15 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Yes, Sidney, you and I will always be enamored by the unique charms of Quiapo :)

September 20, 2007 12:15 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Oo nga, Pusa, ni isa wala mang nagpakita ng interes sa verdict ni Erap. Sawa na nga ata mga tao.


September 20, 2007 12:16 PM  

Anonymous bw said...

Goes to show that people are probably fed up with Eraption and want to move on with life :(

LOL on those people who think the rain was heaven weeping for a womanizing plunderer :) I recall a joke about U.S. officials joining the saudi Arabian high ranking officials in an annual prayer for rain while the U.S. planes were airborne trying to make rain !

September 20, 2007 8:35 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Would you believe, BW, that there were rumors that Gloria had somehow ordered the military to cause that sudden rain so as to quell any possible ensuing protests? Lol!

Don't you just love the theatrics and speculations in our local politics?

September 20, 2007 9:07 PM  

Blogger IndioBravo said...

"If Quiapo were in Melbourne,the rich and the famous would be scrambling to live in it.
(Trevor Hogan-Aussie Urban." Sociologist)Fr:Quiapo the heart of Manila


September 21, 2007 4:49 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Not familiar with Australia but I am one to attest the same truth applies to New York, specifically Manhattan. If the rich and famous scramble to buy a loft in downtown's meat district, imagine how many would strive to live in a district very much like Quiapo.

Thank you, IndioBravo!

September 21, 2007 6:47 AM  

Anonymous leo said...

Either the erap supporters have moved on with their lives or nobody went the to slums with wads of bills and a bags of goodies and packed those folks in buses and brought them to Plaza Miranda or where ever was the usual place of protest.

September 21, 2007 7:08 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Good point, Leo. Actually, very good point!

September 21, 2007 8:11 AM  

Blogger dodong flores said...

I am always fascinated by photos taken around Manila, and that series of photos in this entry are no exception...

Mas gusto pa yata manuod ng mga tao ngayon sa laban ni Pacquiao kesa laban ni Erap.

Wait, try to observe. Sa laban ni Manny ngayon October, mas mapupuno pa ito ng mga tao kesa what you had expected during the Erap verdict.

That's just my humble observation...

September 21, 2007 10:10 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hindi ako magta-taka, Dodong kung magka-toto nga ang hinala mo. Sa ngayon, eh, hindi na nababanggit ng mga media si Erap. May bago ng teleserye politikal ngayon -- Joey de Venecia and the ZTE contract fiasco now being investigated by the Senate. At meron pa pala -- brewing coup d'tat na naman daw, which would force the palace to issue millions of bucks to top military officials to quell it. Ano ba yan?

September 21, 2007 12:07 PM  

Blogger dave (",) said...

But with talks of a speedy pardon, Plaza Miranda (or the EDSA shrine) might once again be filled with the EDSA 2 crowd.

September 23, 2007 4:49 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

A speedy pardon would seem yet another travesty; another insult to the Filipino people at large. If guilty, he ought to serve his sentence.

September 23, 2007 7:08 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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