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By Haskell B. Curry

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The 1991 coup against Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide showed the danger of trying to undertake too much reform in the midst of political instability following a democratic revolution. Aquino’s electoral popularity would probably not have been enough to save her government if she had been opposed by a united military backed by the economic oligarchy. Her government needed enough allies among soldiers, businessmen, and landlords to fend off repeated power grabs by military rebels and a communist insurgency.

Through such electoral politics, the Aquino government peeled away one layer of opposition after another. Marcos loyalists, former Laurel backers, and even eventually Enrile and the military rebels, contested and often won high-ranking elective positions. Old political bosses returned to power, often as members of the new party founded by Aquino’s brother. At the same time, elections demonstrated Aquino’s high level of popularity. She won overwhelming support on the referendum held on a new constitution in February 1986, and her candidates dominated the May 1987 legislative and 1988 local elections.

Luck, not technocratic plans for development, were the heart of his political message. 71 In addition, Estrada was one of the country’s most outspoken nationalists, working to undermine the old link between the Philippine oligarchy and the US. 72 His political conviction on this issue was underscored by a film appearance. He played the leading role in the movie “Sa Kuko ng Agila” (“In the Claws of the Eagle”), which was critical of the exploitation of Filipinos in and around US bases in the country.

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