When the program started, conspicuously absent was Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She seemed to have waived the tradition that the Presidents of the Philippines should always grace the occasion. She might have been warned of "threats"; in any case it's just as well since many sectors of society question if she is indeed the legitimate President of the Philippines. The shadow of the "Hello Garci" election fraud scandal simply would not go away.
Then the pro-administration's Vice President Noli de Castro, Military Chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita ; and the politically lukewarm former president Fidel V. Ramos, failed to raise the Philippine flag after the rope got stuck while the national anthem was being sung. The honor guards helped to no avail. Unexpectedly the rope snapped. Bayani Fernando led others in using one of the smaller flag poles flanking the main one and finally raised the flag.
However it did not end there.The sound system broke down while singer Renz Verano sang songs associated with the original EDSA People Power days. At one point he has to sing acapelas. To lessen the embarrassment, the big-shots on stage tried to sing along with him(I fail to see how this would lessen the embarrassment however.) To his credit, Agapito "Butz" Aquino along with a few people on stage, raised their clenched fists in the air while singing; a true symbol of the pre-EDSA 1 to People Power 1 days. Later a helicopter circled above several times and dropped confetti. It missed the stage during its first try, eliciting chuckles from the crowd. Then another attempt for a better drop; this time some of the bundled confetti bunched up and one even landed on one television cameraman's lens. A bombing run couldn't have been better executed.
Secretary Ermita dismissed the unsavory event to "Murphy's Law." However as probabilities go, the series of unfortunate events was as likely as lightning striking several times in one spot. Despite trying to dismiss the unusual snafus, an ominous mood was felt.
Hours later and as if on cue, this sign manifested itself in the form of thousands of protesters demanding for the resignation of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The riot police tried to enforce the repressive No-Permit No-Rally policy in the site but to no avail; they were simply swamped by overwhelming numbers of outraged rallyists. The protesters with their colorful streamers and banners took the EDSA Shrine which was denied them for so long. The weather brightened and the festive mood of multitudes, which the Arroyo administration tried to suppress for so long, returned. The scene now hearkens back to the original People Power; finally the EDSA Shrine belongs to the ordinary man on the street, not to the select influential few - as it should have been and as it should be for a long time to come.