The wheat and the chaff-A A +A
Friday, August 30, 2013
AFTER last Monday's anti-pork barrel march in Cebu, I received a text message from lawyer Democrito "Mocring" Barcenas, a veteran of the so-called street parliament, thanking me for mentioning him in the article I wrote on the same day about the said activity.
"I joined the march from Fuente Osmena to Plaza Indepedencia," he texted. "We will not rest until the entire pork barrel system is abolished."
Barcenas was the subject of criticisms by some netizens who were behind the local anti-pork activity for daring to suggest a "victory rally" in response to President Noynoy Aquino's announcement last week to abolish the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and to replace it with another mechanism that critics say is still pork barrel.
Despite the flak, Barcenas still joined the rally and sounded like he was already chastened by it. That is a sign of sincerity to a cause.
In that column, I noted the varied and sometimes conflicting motivations of some of those who have announced their participation.
Examples: Personalities who had benefited from the corrupt Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government and those who have still to move on from the 2010 presidential elections wherein the candidates they supported lost to Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III rode on the pork barrel issue to advance their anti-PNoy agenda.
Barcenas, meanwhile, is spokesman of the local Liberal Party and many of those who spearheaded Monday's activity supported Aquino's candidacy in 2010 (most of them actually did so for the same reason that drove them to participate in Monday's gathering, which is to battle corruption and restore decency in government).
Then there were the militant groups and civil society types who are honestly battling corruption and advancing progressive causes but are also "warring" with the Aquino administration like they did against past governments, including that of Arroyo.
It was a combustible mix that was bound to explode.
Monday's rally was a spontaneous activity and was the first in what would hopefully be a series of initiatives that would give a local face to the nationwide movement against the pork barrel system. Activities of that nature always provide lessons that, if learned, could strengthen the movement even more.
In the aftermath of such gathering, some personalities have come out openly in the media talking about a supposed hijacking of the activity by the pro-PNoy group. That's a sweeping accusation, of course, and is a mere innuendo devoid of proof. That accusation, in turn, exposes the character and motivations of the critics.
But I would say that it is good for these people to have exposed themselves early in the anti-pork battle. Now we know who among the rallyists want to limit the issue to the pork barrel mess and who are using the issue to advance a questionable agenda. That means it is now easy to separate the wheat from the chaff.
In a movement, among the first that should be resolved is unity of purpose. After that comes the "purging" of those that would weaken that unity.
While quantity is always good in a movement, quality is more important. The battle against corruption needs people who are honest in their intention and whose motivation is not selfish.
The worst thing to happen is for the corrupt to ride on the anti-corruption crusade to be able to gain power and once in power sing "happy days are here again." That would negate the “never again” call of pork barrel protesters.
By the way, it would be interesting to find out if those who complained about how Monday’s anti-pork rally was handled have the support of the public. That can be done if they hold their own anti-pork rally, hatch the activity’s program and choose their own speakers.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 30, 2013.