SANLAKAS, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Partido Lakas ng Masa and other militant groups on Wednesday said they will take to the streets to stop a reported bid of President Benigno Aquino 3rd for Charter change (Cha-cha) that will pave the way for extending his term beyond 2016.
According to Aaron Pedrosa, a lawyer and the national secretary-general of Sanlakas, Aquino’s recent moves against the judiciary and for Cha-cha and term extension are a reminder of then-President Ferdinand Marcos’ similar pitches 42 years ago.
“We all know what happened in September of 1972. Marcos usurped absolute power when he declared martial law and ruled as a dictator for the next 13 years,” Pedrosa said in a news conference in Quezon City.
Leody de Guzman of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino said “the bottom line of the recent political tumult since parts of the DAP were declared unconstitutional by the SC is Aquino’s intent to protect himself and his partymates from the consequence of such a resolution, and to secure himself and his party of continued control over power beyond 2016.”
He was referring to the Disbursement Acceleration Program, which was outlawed by the Supreme Court for, among other reasons, inappropriate use of so-called savings to fund multi-million government projects.
The militant groups decried refusal of Congress to recognize an impeachment complaint they filed earlier against President Aquino for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.
Sonny Melencio of Partido Lakas ng Masa said, “Despite the general belief that impeachment in our political system is a numbers game, and that all impeachment complaints that are now filed with and being deliberated in the House Committee on Justice are expected to be thrown out because of [Aquino’s] and the ruling party coalition’s control over the very large majority of the House of Representative,” it is still their job “to expose the hypocrisy of this administration’s campaign against corruption.”
The groups called on the public “not to rely and put their lives and welfare in the hands of Congress [composed of ‘traditional politicians’]but to secure the people’s welfare and interest by setting up a People’s Congress that is representative of the large majority, that is of the toiling masses.”
At the news conference, they announced that on August 25, they will launch nationally-coordinated protest actions in major urban centers such as Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Cebu City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Davao City and Ozamis City to block Cha-cha.
In Manila, they will march to Mendiola near Malacanang in the morning to kick off the nationwide protest actions and then join other organizations in denouncing the pork barrel system at the city’s Rizal Park (Luneta).