Critical mass-A A +A
Wrapped in Grey
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
ALL of a sudden, we are in the midst of interesting times in our nation's political history. In a development that caught everyone, from political analysts, to Malacañang by surprise, the rag tag band of incensed individuals online who were following the pork barrel scandal has now transformed into organized groups with common unities.
The One Million March in Luneta yesterday is a showcase of this natural evolution and bolsters the possibility of more organized protest with clear political goals to the consternation of but a few who want to keep the nature of the mass actions apolitical.
How this came to be speaks much about the degree of frustration of the common Filipino over a political system that has been known to be self-serving to the politicians and corrupt. From the net, the anger was contagious and brought throngs of people out into the streets in what is now a historic moment of the birth of a citizen-led anti-corruption movement.
There was much wringing of hands as developments followed one after another. The worry was great in the President's camp as public opinion began to veer away from a fixation with the Napoleses toward a more critical and comprehensive appreciation of the ills that befall our political system. And the PNoy's "abolishment" of the pork barrel system for Congress last Friday in what seemed like a last ditch effort to quell support for the planned one million march yesterday failed to fly if we are to base people's immediate reaction of disgust.
It is of great interest to political observers how this initial expression of political consciousness not just in Luneta but also in major cities all over the country will evolve into a social movement for overhauling the country's political system. It has become clear to many that the pork barrel scandal was merely a symptom of the widespread practices of corruption in our political system. For the PDAF of Congress which has been abused and continued to be abused is not the sole instrument employed for corruption. Beyond this, people have come to realize the important role of public funds in patronage politics throughout various administrations
At the center of the emerging public discourse is the more than 1 trillion peso of public funds whose disposal is at the president's discretion. Prof. Liling Briones of UP, an expert in public finance and former National Treasurer called attention to this after a review of the proposed 2014 budget. And Malacanang seems to be mum regarding this issue or is drawing at straws on how to explain this fact before an enraged public.
So far, the palace's tact had been to hijack the one million march yesterday as an expression of the people's solidarity to their own anti-corruption drive. At another point, some attempts to discredit the activity were made by some quarters aligned with government by pulling out the left bogey. Senator Chiz Escudero even went on to defend his political ally, PNoy by saying that the growing criticism of the President over his own pork barrel is a diversionary tactic.
One thing is clear though, the Luneta activity yesterday and all over the country, is the birth of a political movement against corruption that is neither Left or Right as of yet. But given the critical mass acheived yesterday all over the country, it is only a matter of time before it evolves into a potent social and political force that will, in time, shake the corridors of power which have enjoyed the plunder of public coffers with impunity for far too long.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 27, 2013.