Second EDSA Revolution

The Second EDSA Revolution, also known as the Second People Power Revolution, EDSA 2001, or EDSA II (pronounced EDSA Two or EDSA Dos), was a political protest from January 17–20, 2001 which peacefully overthrew the government of Joseph Estrada, the thirteenth president of the Philippines.[2] Following allegations of corruption against Estrada and his subsequent investigation by Congress, impeachment proceedings against the president were opened on January 16. The decision by several senators not to examine a letter which would purportedly prove Estrada's guilt sparked large protests at the EDSA Shrine in Metro Manila, and calls for Estrada's resignation intensified in the following days, with the Armed Forces withdrawing their support for the president on January 19. On January 20 Estrada resigned and fled Malacañang Palace with his family. He was succeeded by Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who had been sworn into the presidency by Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. several hours earlier.

Second EDSA Revolution
DateJanuary 17–20, 2001
(3 days)
Caused byBreakdown in negotiations during the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada that began in December 2000
GoalsRemoval of Joseph Estrada as President
Resulted in
Parties to the civil conflict

Military defectors:[1]


  • Anti-Estrada civilian protesters

Religious groups:[1]

Militant groups:[1]

Individual groups:

  • Makati Business Club[1]

Government parties:


Religious groups:

Military loyalists:

  • Presidential Security Group
Lead figures
100,000[2] to 250,000[3] protesters


EDSA is an acronym derived from Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, the major thoroughfare connecting five cities in Metro Manila, namely Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, Quezon City and Caloocan. The revolution's epicenter was the EDSA Shrine church at the northern tip of the Ortigas Center business district.


On October 4, 2000, Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson, a longtime friend of President Joseph Estrada, went public with accusations that Estrada and his friends and family had received millions of pesos from operations of jueteng, a numbers game which is illegal in the Philippines.[4]

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 ₱220 million in jueteng money from Governor Singson from November 1998 to August 2000, as well as taking ₱70 million-worth of excise tax money from cigarettes intended for Ilocos Sur. He also allegedly received ₱130 million in kickbacks released by then budget secretary Benjamin Diokno for tobacco farmers,[5] while his wife Loi Ejercito's foundation allegedly received ₱100 million "to the detriment of regular beneficiaries."[6] Estrada was also accused of misusing 52 smuggled luxury vehicles,[5] nepotism,[7] and he allegedly hid assets and bought mansions for his mistresses.[8] The privilege speech was referred by Senate President Franklin Drilon, to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and the Philippine House 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.[4] On October 20, 2000, an early anti-Estrada rally was allegedly held in Naga City, led by former mayor Jesse Robredo, Mayor Sulpicio Roco Jr., and Ateneo de Naga president Joel Tabora who demanded the resignation of President Estrada.[9]

More calls for resignation came from Manila Cardinal Archbishop Jaime 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's statement read, "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."[10] More resignations came from Estrada's cabinet and economic advisers, and other members of congress defected from his ruling party.[4]

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.[4] 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.[4]

The day-to-day trial was covered on live television and received the highest viewing rating, mostly by the broadcasting giant ABS-CBN at the time.[4] 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" on documents involving a ₱500 million investment agreement with their bank in February 2000.[4]


Impeachment trial

On January 16, 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 senator-judges and the prosecution became deeper, but then-Senate Majority Floor Leader Francisco Tatad requested that the impeachment court have a vote on 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

  1. Rodolfo G. Biazon
  2. Renato L. Cayetano
  3. Franklin M. Drilon
  4. Juan M. Flavier
  5. Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr.
  6. Lorna Regina B. Legarda-Leviste
  7. Ramon B. Magsaysay, Jr.
  8. Sergio D.R. Osmeña III
  9. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr.
  10. Raul S. Roco

Voted against examining

  1. Ma. Teresa A. Aquino-Oreta
  2. Anna Dominique M.L. Coseteng
  3. Miriam P. Defensor-Santiago
  4. Juan F. Ponce Enrile
  5. Gregorio B. Honasan II
  6. Robert Vincent S. Jaworski
  7. Blas F. Ople
  8. John Henry R. Osmeña
  9. Ramon A. Revilla Sr.
  10. Vicente C. Sotto III
  11. Francisco S. Tatad

After the vote, Senator Nene Pimentel resigned as Senate President and walked out of the impeachment proceedings together with the nine opposition senators and 11 prosecutors in the Estrada impeachment trial. The 11 administration senators who voted to block the opening of the second envelope remained in the Senate session hall together with members of the defense panel. The phrase "Joe's Cohorts" quickly surfaced as a mnemonic device for remembering their names (Joe's Cohorts: Jaworski, Oreta, Enrile, Santiago, Coseteng, Osmeña, Honasan, Ople, Revilla, Tatad, Sotto).[11] On February 14, 2001, at the initiative of Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., the second envelope was opened before the local and foreign media. It contained the document that stated that businessman Jaime Dichaves and not Estrada owned the "Jose Velarde" account.[12][13]'

Day 1: January 17, 2001

Senator Tessie Aquino-Oreta, one of eleven senators who voted against opening the envelope, was seen on national television as the opposition walked out; it was assumed that she was booing back and jigging at the crowd in the Senate gallery after the Ayala group jeered her and other pro-Erap senators.[14][15] This further fueled the growing anti-Erap sentiments of the crowd gathered at EDSA Shrine, and she became the most vilified of the 11 senators. She was labeled a "prostitute" and a "concubine" of Estrada for her dancing act, while Senator Defensor-Santiago was also ridiculed by the crowd who branded her a "lunatic".

As he did in the EDSA I protests, Cardinal Jaime Sin called on the people to join the rally at the shrine. During the night, people began to gather in large numbers around the shrine.

Day 2: January 18, 2001

The crowd continued to grow, bolstered by students from private schools and left-wing organizations. Activists from Bayan Muna and Akbayan as well as lawyers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and other bar associations joined the thousands of protesters. A similar parallel anti-Estrada rally was held in Makati, and at the shrine area, just as in 1986, stars and icons from the music industry entertained the vast crowds.

Day 3: January 19, 2001

The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines withdrew their support for Estrada, joining the crowds at the EDSA Shrine.[3]

At 2:00 PM, Joseph Estrada appeared on television for the first time since the beginning of the protests and maintained that he would not resign. He said he wanted the impeachment trial to continue, stressing that only a guilty verdict would remove him from office.

At 6:15 PM, Estrada again appeared on television, calling for a snap presidential election to be held concurrently with congressional and local elections on May 14, 2001. He added that he would not run in this election.

Day 4: January 20, 2001

At 12:30 in the afternoon, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took her oath of office as president before Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. in the presence of the crowd at EDSA.[16] At the same time, however, a large anti-Estrada crowd had already gathered at the historic Mendiola Bridge, having left the shrine earlier in the day, only to face PNP personnel and the pro-Estrada supporters behind them, who had by now already attacked both the police and the anti-Estrada protesters and heckling them and even members of the press.

At 2:00 PM, Estrada released a letter saying he had "strong and serious doubts about the legality and constitutionality of her proclamation as president".[17] In that same letter, however, he said he would give up his office to allow for national reconciliation.

Later, Estrada and his family evacuated Malacañang Palace on a boat along the Pasig River. They were smiling and waving to reporters and shaking hands with the remaining Cabinet members and palace employees. He was initially placed under house arrest in San Juan, but was later transferred to his rest home in Sampaloc, a small village in Tanay, Rizal.


On the last day of protests on EDSA on January 20, 2001, Estrada resigned as president and his successor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was sworn into office by Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr.[18][19]

On March 2, 2001, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Estrada's resignation in a unanimous 13-0 decision in Estrada vs. Desierto.[20]

On September 12, 2007, Estrada was found guilty of plunder beyond reasonable doubt by the Philippine anti-graft court and sentenced to life imprisonment.[21][22][8] He was pardoned by Macapagal-Arroyo on October 25, 2007.[23][21]



International reaction to the administration change was mixed. While some foreign nations, including the United States, immediately recognized 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".[24] The only means of legitimizing the event was the last-minute Supreme Court ruling that "the welfare of the people is the supreme law."[25] But by then, the Armed Forces of the Philippines had already withdrawn support for the president, which some analysts called unconstitutional, a view shared by many foreign political analysts. 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."[24]


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 these groups 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 only when the sitting president dies, resigns, or becomes incapacitated. Estrada had resigned from office and the constitutionality of his resignation was upheld by the Supreme Court on March 2, 2001.[20]

After Estrada's plunder conviction and subsequent pardon, on January 18, 2008, Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) bought 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. Former Supreme Court justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma opined that EDSA 2 violated the 1987 Constitution.[26]

In February 2008 several parts of the Catholic Church which played a vital role during EDSA II issued an apology of sorts. The sitting Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, Iloilo Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, expressed disappointment in Arroyo's presidency and called EDSA II a mistake.[27]

By Estrada

On March 13, 2008, Estrada named Lucio Tan, Jaime Sin, Fidel Ramos, Luis Singson, and the Ayala and Lopez clans (who were both involved in water businesses) as co-conspirators of the EDSA Revolution of 2001.[28]

In October 2016, Estrada claimed without evidence that it was the U.S. that ousted him from office.[29]

See also


  1. Baumgartner, Jody; Kada, Naoko, eds. (January 1, 2003). "Weak Institutions and Strong Movements: The Case of President Estrada's Impeachment and Removal in the Philippines". Checking Executive Power: Presidential Impeachment in Comparative Perspective (illustrated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 45–63. ISBN 9780275979263.
  2. "Estrada: A Tarnished Legacy". The Wall Street Journal. January 22, 2001.
  3. "Filipinos rally to oust the president". The Guardian. January 19, 2001.
  4. "Estrada vs Desierto: 146710-15 : March 2, 2001 : J. Puno : En Banc". Supreme Court of the Philippines. March 2, 2001. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  5. "Fast Facts: Estrada Impeachment Trial". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  6. Rufo, Aries (October 31, 2001). "Everyone's Cash Cow". Newsbreak. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  7. Danao, Efren (February 22, 2001). "Probe of Estrada to continue". The Philippine Star. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  8. Sturcke, James (September 12, 2007). "Estrada given life sentence for corruption". the Guardian. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  9. Olivares-Cunanan, Belinda (February 22, 2001). "How could it have been 'mob rule'?". Philippine Daily Inquirer. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inc. p. A9. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  10. Amando Doronila, The Fall of Joseph Estrada, 2001, p. 83
  11. Armageddon Averted: People Power 2001 (January 2001), Asian Business Strategy and Street Intelligence Ezine.
  12. "Dichavez owned bank account, says Pimentel". Asia Africa Intelligence Wire. May 31, 2005.
  13. "Erap Plunder Trial - BIR wants Erap to pay P2.9B tax; Estrada cries harassment". GMA News. October 16, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  14. "Paano nagsimula ang EDSA Dos noong Enero 2001". DZMM TeleRadyo. Facebook. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  15. "Tessie learns her lesson: Act senatorial at all times". Retrieved June 21, 2022.
  16. "Estrada to stand trial for plunder". The Guardian. January 20, 2001.
  17. Dirk J. Barreveld (2001). Philippine President Estada Impeached!: How the President of the World's 13th Most Populous Country Stumbles Over His Mistresses, a Chinese Conspiracy and the Garbage of His Capital. iUniverse. pp. 476. ISBN 978-0-595-18437-8.
  18. Panganiban, Artemio V. (January 24, 2016). "SC: Arroyo takeover constitutional". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  19. Diaz, Jess (January 27, 2015). "Erap resigned as president, can't run again — lawyer". The Philippine Star. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  20. Panganiban, Artemio V. (January 17, 2016). "Constitutionality of Edsa 1 and Edsa 2". Inquirer. Retrieved February 27, 2022.
  21. Rodis, Rodel (August 28, 2013). "Estrada's plunder conviction remembered". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  22. "Erap guilty of plunder, sentenced to reclusion perpetua". GMA News. September 12, 2007. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  23. Mogato, Manny (October 25, 2007). "Former Philippine president Estrada pardoned". Reuters. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  24. Mydans, Seth. 'People Power II' Doesn't Give Filipinos the Same Glow. February 5, 2001. The New York Times.
  25. "SC: People's welfare is the supreme law". The Philippine Star. January 21, 2001. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  26. "GMA NEWS.TV, Erap's PMP questions EDSA 2 constitutionality". GMA News. January 18, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  27. Ayen Infante (February 20, 2008). "Edsa II a mistake, says CBCP head". The Daily Tribune. Philippines. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved June 18, 2008.
  28. "GMA NEWS.TV, 7 years after ouster, Erap bares 5 conspirators". GMA News. March 12, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  29. "Manila Standard, Duterte is right, Estrada insists".

Further reading

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