ORGANIZERS of a massive rally in the nation’s capital against pork barrel funds and those who misuse public monies on Wednesday said they expect thousands of people from the Catholic Church, civil society organizations and militant groups to converge today “against the evils of institutionalized corruption.”
Militant lawyer Argee Guevarra, a convenor of the Scrap Pork Network, said participants who will flock to the Bonifacio Shrine in Manila “are motivated by the spirit of action and righteous indignation.”
“After almost a year of contemplation and reflection over the sheer banality of corruption and the utter absence of conscience among government officials . . . [the government]is oblivious to public clamor for official accountability and moral duty to cleanse and excise the body polity of cancerous cells festering in the executive department and the legislature,” added Guevarra, also the Sanlakas leader.
The groups that will stage what the organizers described as the biggest rally against the pork barrel funds will demand punishment for all officials and private individuals involved in looting P10 billion of such funds.
Some officials of the Catholic Church will join the massive rally that will be preceded by marches in many parts of Manila.
Reports said that similar rallies and marches will also be held in other parts of the country.
Retired Catholic bishop Oscar Cruz said he will join the rally in Manila.
“It’s a rally for independence from corruption,” the outspoken bishop added.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and Sister Mary John Mananzan of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines and co-convenor of the Abolish Pork Movement will also take part in today’s mass action.
Instead of joining the rallies, running priest Fr. Robert Reyes said he will fast. He will be joined by Mae Paner, popularly known as “Juana Change.”
Guevarra lauded Manila Archibishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle for calling on Filipinos to reflect on parental responsibility in preventing seeds of corruption from sprouting in the mind of children.
Tagle’s call, he said, “resonates well into the eve of the Independence Day protest assembly against corruption and the pork barrel system.”
“Cardinal Tagle’s message, and presence in the protest activity, should inspire faith in those who have made a political and moral stand against the evils of institutionalized corruption in society, symbolized by the pork barrel system,” Guevarra pointed out.
Malacañang spokesman Edwin Lacierda said President Benigno Aquino 3rd will push through with his original plan to celebrate Independence Day in Naga City, Camarines Sur.
“The President has made it a tradition to visit the sites . . . where there was a contribution to . . . our struggle for Philippine independence,” he told reporters.
Lacierda also noted that Aquino had marked Independence Day in Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila and in Malolos, Bulacan.
“He’s been moving around the country to show, to highlight, the regions’ contributions to the struggle for independence. Not in any way related to the fact that there is a Scrap Pork Network rally tomorrow [Friday]. They’re free to do that.
We have a vibrant democracy,” he said.