Monday’s rally at Rizal Park in Manila will not be another “People Power” demonstration to bring down President Benigno Aquino 3rd, a massive expression of public disgust over the abuses in the use of the pork barrel.
At the weekly forum in Balitaan at Hotel Rembrandt on Friday, former diplomat Ado Paglinawan, one of the prime movers of the “Million March” protest, made it clear that the rally is not like past People Power demonstrations on EDSA.
“We do not expect the event to spill overnight,” Paglinawan, dousing reports that the rally could last more than a day and fuel demands for the President to step down.
Instead, the rallyists want Aquino to accept responsibility for the pork barrel scandal and to punish those who instigated it, he said.
Paglinawan said the rally is spontaneous happening, “the silent majority expressing its sentiment.”
Calls to join Monday’s rally have snowballed on social media, with a call for one million people to join the protest.
Similar rallies will be held outside Metro Manila.
Paglinawan said the pork barrel “is the founding principle, the origin and destination of corruption which also led to the gates of hell.”
The FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) on Friday said it will participate in the Luneta rally along with the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition, an alliance of civil society organizations.
FYI is a national network of 129 youth and student organizations pushing for the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill.
“We are in solidarity with the call to abolish the pork barrel,” said FYI convener Allan Pangilinan.
The group said it will not bring banners identifying FYI or any other organization, as prescribed by the organizers of the event.
“Our presence there as young people coming together to join fellow Filipinos is our clear statement that we have had enough of the old ways of traditional politics,” Pangilinan said.
The President said he is not threatened by Monday’s rally.
“Why should we be afraid? More people are joining the clamor for fixing the system. I want to thank them,” Aquino said.
With reports from Ritchie A. Horario and Neil A. Alcober