MORE protest actions are being scheduled that will deal the death blow to the pork barrel, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez said on Wednesday.
Iñiguez, who attended the Edsa Tayo rally at the Edsa Shrine in Quezon City, said “more demonstrations and media campaigns” are in the offing, and he called on more Filipinos to get involved.
Hundreds gathered at the Edsa Shrine to protest the pork barrel, unaffected by an earlier Supreme Court ruling stopping Congress from further disbursing their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Wednesday’s rally was hyped as a sequel to the August 26 “Million People March” at Rizal Park in Manila.
On September 19, overseas Filipino workers (OFW) from 23 countries all over the world will not send remittances to the Philippines as a form of protest. They dubbed it Zero Remittance Day (ZRD).
According to organizers, by not sending their remittances, the migrant workers will send a strong message that their money is not meant to “feed corrupt officials”.
Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairman, said “Zero Remittance Day for Zero Pork” is the answer of overseas Filipinos to the call of the Church to fight corruption and social injustice.
The Movement Against Dynasty (MAD) will organize a demonstration on Sept. 21, also in Rizal Park, where they would give President Benigno Aquino 3rd a 120-day “Christmas” countdown to accomplish their four advocacies.
Edgar Bacungan, one of the organizers, said they were challenging the President to swiftly act on the issue of political dynasty and corruption; pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill; scrap the pork barrel system, and the R-I-P or the rectification, inquisition, prosecution of the legislators involved in the pork scam.
“If the President is not able to act on our advocacies, he should expect more demonstrations,” Bacungan warned.
Iñiguez stressed that their battle against the pork barrel will not stop even with the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court.
“We will not stop … the battle will continue and we should even dig deeper to know the truth behind the pork barrel scam,” Iniguez said.
At the same time, he described the prayer vigil at the Edsa Shrine as “people empowerment” after thousands attended.
“We are very, very happy with the presence of these people. This is empowerment of the people, citizen’s awareness, and consciousness awakening,” he said.
Edsa Shrine rector Father Nilo Mangusad, in his homily during the Mass, said that people should be vigilant not for revenge, but for enlightenment.
“Vigilance is very important in the life of the people, just only by keeping watch, but paying close attention, understanding and being enlightened,” he said.
“Being vigilant is also being pro-active,” he added.
Also on Wednesday, militant groups Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Sanlakas and the Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML) added their voices to the mounting rage over the PDAF scam.
They demanded the imprisonment of all those implicated in the anomaly.
The BMP believes that the entire current political system is rotten to the very core.
“It is TRAPO [traditional politics]in turn that has allowed the continued and unmitigated plunder of the coffers of the Filipino people while the large majority of the toiling masses have been kept in poverty and misery. Enough with TRAPO politics! We must carry forward the momentum of the people’s protests and actions towards a system overhaul,” said BMP Chairman Leody de Guzman.
“The implication of certain officials in the Departments of Agriculture, Budget and Management and other implementing agencies such as the National Agribusiness Corporation under the Executive branch shows that this system has bred an organized mafia that conspired to rob hardworking Filipinos of a decent life. They must all languish in prison,” de Guzman said.
Anthony Barnedo, regional Secretary-General of KPML National Capital Region and Rizal chapter, said that now that Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the massive misuse of the pork barrel, is detained and awaiting trial, the wheels of justice must turn swiftly.
Barnedo found it “lamentable that exactly two weeks today since her supposed surrender to President Aquino, the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police has not filed a single case out of the more than 10 billion peso pork barrel scam.”