Since the preparations for the August 26 Million People March, we have been hounded by an unexplained fear of having our collective actions “hijacked” by unidentified forces who are out to sabotage our plans while at the same time serve their narrow, vested interests.
Its about time to finger these hijackers and put them in their proper place.
The usual bogeyman
The bogeyman for the longest time was the Left, specifically the multisectoral alliance Bayan, its member-organizations and its allied partylists in Congress which comprise the Makabayan coalition.
The short answer is that the “hijackers” cannot be Bayan for the simple reason that it is an active part of the broad movement against the pork barrel.
However we personally view the Left or Bayan or Makabayan, their track record in forging alliance is quite public. They have played key roles in coalitions since Senators Lorenzo Tanada and Jose W. Diokno and youth leader Lean Alejandro founded in 1984 as a campaign center for anti-dictatorship protests.
Indeed, why would Bayan try to grab the mic, foment violence or do outrageous things some imagine when Bayan and its allied groups thrive on mass support and their partylist groups run for office every three years? It simply doesn’t make sense. The objective of Bayan at any given moment is to arouse, organize and mobilize broad sections of the public on issues important to them – whether sectoral or multisectoral, local or national, regional or international.
Independence, initiative, respect and consensus – these are principles that Bayan upholds in its bilateral and multilateral dealings. For examples of how this happens in real time, please read Amando Doronilla’s book on EDSA Dos.
Makabayan meanwhile has explained in no uncertain terms that its exceptionally proper use of the PDAF should not be opportunistically be used to prop up the pork barrel system. That Makabayan did not loot, steal and plunder their PDAF allocations is laudable. But that cannot erase the fact that PDAF in general is a tool for patronage and corruption between and among the President and lawmakers. Makabayan has since filed a bill abolishing PDAF, renounced whatever PDAF allocations it may have, and has provided our broad movement insider information on PDAF and has kept the pressure on the House leadership and the House appropriations committee on pork barrel issues.
Bayan joined the #MillionPeopleMarch at the Luneta, with its big contingent marching from Liwasang Bonifacio to Quirino Grandstand, held its own program as agreed and just like the other participating groups. And based on its own plan and its independence, marched after the Luneta programs towards Mendiola with the likes of Darryl Shy and other personalities. Bayan chapters in the regions also mobilized and the Bayan-USA chapter staged a picket at the Ritz Carlton in Los Angeles.
We have to review these so that we could find out the truth, expose the rumors and gossip that affect us, and discover that Bayan is a friend and an ally in this fight – and not a “hijacker”.
Soon after the Aug. 26 Million People March, Bayan and the Pagbabago People’s Movement for Change led by Fr. Joe Dizon, Sr. Mary John Mananzan and Prof. Judy Taguiwalo helped convene a broad array of individuals and organizations that is now known as the #AbolishPork Movement.
Under the banner of #AbolishPork Movement, Bayan mobilized its members in Metro Manila, across the country and in various parts of the world for the Sept. 13 #ForwardMarch and the Sept. 21 Never Porkget.
Together with the Sept. 11 EDSA Tayo and the Sept. 19 Zero Remittance Day by overseas Filipinos, the twin actions of Sept. 13 and 21 helped maintain a national momentum for the anti-pork protests.
Again, Bayan and the #AbolishPork Movement cooperated and collaborated with the #ScrapPork Network for the #MillionPeopleMarch at Ayala. One huge improvement since the Aug. 26 Luneta rally which the street parliamentarians helped introduce to the broad alliance is the organizing of interfaith and cultural programs during protest actions.
The successful Ayala rally showcased the broad range of organizations, forces and individuals united by the common cause of abolishing the pork barrel system. It was creative, fun, enlightening and worthy of the efforts made by all the organizers #ScrapPork Network and participating groups like the #AbolishPork Movement, Bayan, Youth Act Now, Taxiapo, the trade unions and and bank employees unions, and others.
The real hijackers: The Pro-PNoy online syndicate
Who then could really be trying to “hijack” the protests? Who are undermining our fighting will and sabotaging our actions every step of the way?
We should not look any further than the bloggers and netizens who are either extremely loyal to President Aquino or have this belief that the pork barrel system is not intrinsically evil. This is the same group that tried to tie Makabayan to the PDAF scams of Napoles, in a transparent and opportunist effort to split the broad anti-pork alliances and coalitions. This is the same group that doing the heavy lifting for their friends and idols in Malacanang.
Through seemingly well-meaning but overtly malicious tweets and posts in social media, these characters were able to insinuate themselves into the internal and public discussions of the anti-pork alliances. While they are pro-pork, they meddle in the anti-pork alliances even to the extent of themselves arrogantly laying down the law, so to speak, on who should and should not be included or welcomed. Di sila kakampi, di sila kasali, pero nakikiaalam. Ang kapal, di ba?
Since the Napoles scam erupted, these same cast of characters have written furiously about the need for the pork barrel and valiantly shielding the President from any and all accountability or liability. During their free time, they go around town with their anti-Left, Red scare tactics . They know fully well the anti-Left biases of people and they hit on this to the hilt. For their efforts, they received encouragement, congratulations, link love and endorsement from Manolo Quezon, Abie Valte, Edwin Lacierda, Jim Paredes and other diehard supporters of President Aquino.
We could only guess the motivations of this group of netizens and bloggers, but they should not act as if they are above us or better than us or, worse, one with us. They are solidly, militantly, shamelessly in favor of the pork barrel system. They defend the President. They cannot be part of the anti-pork movement.
But by meddling into our affairs, by faking concern about the conduct of protest actions, by trying to interfere and to influence messaging, by insinuating and inserting their pro-pork selves in anti-pork discussions, they try to hijack the movement.
Who wins? Their idol and themselves. Aquino is shielded from well-deserved criticism. The trolls and netizens get the satisfaction of feeling relevant in social media, of feeling important. And each moment we get sidetracked by the hijacking efforts of pro-PNoy and pro-pork folks is a moment lost on more important work. Each instance they get the better of us, they get to obfuscate, obscure and muddle our vision. If left unchecked, the meddling by these intellectual mercenaries and Lolit Solis wannabes could adversely affect our own reading of the issues and developments in the pork barrel mess.
Look at how they really think about us. All day during the #MillionPeopleMarch in Makati, they were spreading intrigues, raising stupid questions, asking why this group is there, spreading false reports, and belittling the size, composition, creativity, content, substance and fighting will of the marchers. When confronted that they should organize their own, they’d tell you they don’t care about rallies. Assholes.
For them, they enjoy defending pork and hijacking and sabotaging pork protesters. In so doing, they serve the corrupt officials and the corrupt system. If they think they are smart or smarter, here outside their fantasy world, they are intellectual mercenaries.
The big problem of pro-pork defenders
Since they stand as defenders of the PDAF, DAP and the pork barrel system, and some of them are diehard defenders of the President himself, we should ask them every day, every hour, and at every chance about the legal, constitutional, political, intellectual, theoretical and moral basis for the continuation and perpetuation of the pork barrel system. Yan ang gusto niyo? Pwes, ipaliwanag niyo nga.
They have been trying their best to look smarter than all of us, arrogantly implying that all we have is outrage over the Napoles scam. To them we ask: Why continue this system? Why is the President not to be fingered on the issue of DAP, PDAF and presidential lump sums?
Malacanang nga, tikom ang bibig e. Ito pa kayang mga amateurs na ito na eksperto lang sa panloloko, panlalansi, pang-iintriga at panghahati?
Their biggest problem how is someone who they have tried to shield from the pork barrel controversy.
The role of BS Aquino
President BS Aquino perpetuated and continued the pork barrel system when he assumed office. The Office of the President has been found to be the single biggest beneficiary of this system, with more than a trillion pesos in discretionary, lump sum appropriations. Recently, they have been found and forced to admit that the Aquino presidency established a DAP, without authority from Congress as explicitly mandated by the Constitution.
President Aquino also tried to ride the wave of public anger by declaring, days before the first Million People March, that he is allegedly working to abolish the PDAF. We would only found out later that he only changed the name, modified the process and made the Office of the President even more powerful.
President Aquino has key starring role to play in this issue. He is the Chief Executive who oversees the Department of Justice, prosecutors and other investigators. He could have removed the pork barrel from the budgets, but he didn’t. He could have ordered no stone unturned in the investigation into the Napoles scam, but it seems the marching orders he gave to investigators was to limit the damage to oppositionist senators, implying that the rest of the Liberal Party-infested Congress and Senate are like him, walang bahid. Of course, that’s a whole load of crap which we citizens reject. And then, there’s his own pork barrel funds, including DAP. Kaya naman pala kasi ayaw i-abolish ang pork, may sarili pala siyang imbentong pork.
In short, President Aquino is part of this problem. He is a promotor, instigador and, in the case of DAP, imbentor. It would be an injustice to ourselves and to the nation if we believe the BS of the pro-pork syndicate that BS Aquino should be shielded from the protests and the criticisms. That’s what they are in for. They are for the protection of BS Aquino at all costs. They do their share in hijacking and sabotaging the protests and our messaging to limit the scope of our vision and save the skin of their master, idol and leader.
My advice to our allies in the anti-pork movement is to reject the pakikiaalam, panghihimasok, pang-iintriga and pangha-hijack of the pro-pork syndicate. Di sila kasali sa ating network at movement. Di sila anti-pork, pro-pork sila.
No one, especially the President, should be above the law or beyond the reach of citizens demanding transparency and accountability.
What should Aquino, senators, congressmen do?
They should stop dishing out the old BS of blaming everything on Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She has been under hospital arrest. She is no longer the president since 2010. Why should Malacanang and their online rabble-rousers make any claim that she should be held liable for plunder and thievery from 2010 onwards?
The senators and congressmen could place themselves under preventive suspension for up to 90 days and voluntary suspension if the investigation exceeds 90 days.
The COA should release a complete audit of pork barrel funds from June 30, 2010 up until 2012.
BS Aquino, the most powerful leader in our government, has a tougher task. This guy, who in 2010 asked to be measured by his Daang Matuwid standards, should get personally reacquainted with this Filipino trait called delicadeza and perhaps only then would he discover what he should do.