Count me in -- for justice and righteousness-A A +A
Monday, August 26, 2013
THERE was a call for mass action in our city against corruption in the government. Foremost in this unique gathering is to take action on the issue of the pork barrel scandal headlined in the daily national newspapers, broadcasts in the radios and viewed on television programs seen all over the country and in the whole world through The Filipino Channel (TFC).
People talk about this on the streets, in sectoral groups, even the young potential leaders in the communities, homes, schools, and in social gatherings. The Church is vocal in its disapproval of this anomalous scandal. Non-government organizations and people's organizations are up in action against it, too.
By this time all of us are familiar with the faces of the Napoleses and their families. Their popular militant lawyer, who we least suspect to defend them, is ever present in all the venues of news conferences, to declare the unlawful warrant of arrest issued by the Department of Justice in connection with the case.
The mass gathering held Monday concided with the one to be held at Luneta Metro Manila which expected millions of participants. This was announced in every possible means of communication. There were no leaders or organizers, each one attended has to attend the mass gathering on his/her own initiative. It cannot wait anymore. Every concerned citizen of our country is incited to act on this noble cause. Enough is enough. Davao City will follow the pattern of the Luneta mass action. Every person is entitled to speak out without fear of being censured.
Personnaly at age 82, I wasn't able to join the rally but my spirit is ignited and I will do my part with my pen. My love for my beleaguered government and country strengthens me. This is not new to me. Since my prime years in my forties, I have been busy working for this cause.
With my poor health, I could not join rallies. As I was writing this column, August 21, a holiday, to remember the 30th year of Ninoy Aquino's assassination at the tarmac of the airport, this inspired me to write my personal encounters with momentous events related to fighting for our right to defend our country when needed.
These were all significant events in our country's history. Yes, I lived through them. These are my cherished memories. First was this episode. The mother of Ninoy wanted her dead son to wear his Bonifacio style military coat for his burial.
Nothing should be changed or cleansed. Ninoy had his blooded face and clothes splattered with blood as he laid in state at the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon Boulevard for public viewing.
People from all groups: the rich, the poor, the dignitaries, people from government except the followers of former President Marcos, lined up under the heat of the sin in the church patio to see their loved Ninoy. Publicity, the news releases were restricted by the Marcos regime. I lined up with the crowd to see personally my fallen hero.
I did not mind the discomfort and the waiting in line. There was hushed silence among the crowd. I could imagine what was in the minds of the grieving citizens. Finally, I entered the church. I was filled with anticipation to see Ninoy personally for the first time. I regretted seeing him so silent. I never missed the chance to listen to the radio or watch him in the TV shows while he was in the United States.
A brilliant and inspiring speaker, he talked of his dreams for the bright future of our native land. Until now, I treasure them in my memory. You read about the glimpses of this dream in many of articles in my columns. Now, he is here lifeless and silent. I had tears in my eyes and prayed fervently to God for peace in his soul. He had lived a good and honorable life which all of us should emulate. I went home and listened to the radio or TV for news. At least we saw a glimpse of the mile long funeral march of the greatest multitude of people I saw in my lifetime. This was not shown extensively due to the restrictions set by Marcos.
Remember I could not join rallies but when the widow, Corazon C. Aquino called for all citizens to join her in Luneta -- come out in the streets to cry loudly for justice -- my adrenaline flow gave me the stamina to go and join my first rally ever.
I was 45 still in my prime and experienced my fight for my advocacy, which I have until now. The next adventure happened on February 22 to 25, 1986. An internationally famous People Power at Edsa, a bloodless revolution of the Filipino People. With my militant co-teachers from St. Scholastica's College Manila, we marched to Edsa at the brink of a bloody revolution. Filipinos against Filpinos were fighting. We reached Edsa near Camp Crame.
The late Cardinal Sin had made an urgent call for all Filipinos fighting for justice against the dictatorial regime of Marcos to come out into the streets. Soldiers of the Marcos contingent were out in the street to kill all people who will oppose them.
They carried rifles and tear gases weapons.
We witnessed these events. All of us were emboldened, not afraid at all. Like a miracle, whips of strong winds coming from nowhere turned the tear gases away from the crowd. These people covered the heated mouths of the rifles with flowers, rosaries, and offerings of food. This astounded the soldiers and instead of shooting they had a change of hearts and amicably accepted the offerings.
I was morbidly afraid of guns and that was the first time I touched the barrel of a gun with a silent prayer that the soldier will have peace in his heart, a spontaneous outcry of love instead of animosity. The huge tanks with their war weapons were inching through the crowd but numberless brave men leaned and tenaciously held on to the sides of the tanks to keep them from advancing. We were victorious. People had euphoria.
We were marching and dancing in the streets. Everyone had the hand waving with an L sign meaning love. Marcos and his family looking beleaguered and tired were brought to a plane to bring them to Hawaii. I noticed Marcos had no teeth. The news said he left his dentures at the palace but Imelda did not forget her hoard of expensive jewelry. Thus ended this unforgettable People Power Edsa event.
The next memorable episode in my life as an activist happened in the early 2000 of our history, the Estrada regime. I joined a group of advocates for clean governance through the radio station DZRJ owned by Ramon Jacinto. We formed Barangay RJ to foster justice and righteousness in government. Every morning, from 5 to 8 a.m., we were heard. All members were given a minute or two to comment on issues of the Estrada regime. This lasted three years till 2003. I prepared my piece on current issues daily critique of the misgovernance of Estrada. Remember his plunder cases. A courageous lady testified against Estrada in court. I got inspiring and encouraging comments from teen age and senior citizens in their 80's through text messages.
Then I moved to Davao, here I continued my advocacy campaign. These were explained in my articles in this paper.
These included my one woman campaign for honest and wise elections. I wrote instructional pamphlets on this entitled, Do You Have a Dream?, the English version and Mayroon Ka Bang Pangarap?, the Tagalog version.
These were done till the 2010 elections. They were revised as needed. I had printed thousand copies of the pamphlets using my pension money. Friends gave me funds to help me. I spoke to big assemblies of voters to explain the pamphlets. One of these held in Holy Cross Davao was televised by ABS-CBN. It was shown on TV Patrol and Bandila on Channel 2. This was seen all over the world through TFC. I got loads of responses here and abroad.
For the current pork barrel system issue, this is my stand. I am for the total abolishment of this system. All scams and scandals must be investigated, the Napoleses and all senators and congressmen involved must face the music and be prosecuted.
No one is above the law. A new law must be formulated by the lawmakers which is scam-proof and transparent and exact in the process where every peso spent is accounted for and wisely spent to serve the people with honesty and integrity.
This is the clamor of all the marchers come August 26. As I was writing this I heard a breaking news by the President over the government channel proclaiming exactly what I wrote here with elaboration. I can just exclaim, Hurrah! and clap my hands.
(For comments text cellphone no. 09202112534)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 27, 2013.