The real heroes of today’s interfaith rally at Ayala

I am writing this while sitting here at one corner of Glorietta, after running away from the crowd to file my story for the day.

This is it. It can no longer be stamped out. The broad movement to seek President Arroyo’s removal is on a roll. Imagine, 80,000 people marching and shouting “We want the truth!” and “Gloria resign!”

Just some small things that may have escaped media attention:

1. Two busloads of De La Salle-Dasmarinas students, faculty and administrators were blocked at Daang Hari along Coastal Road sometime past noon today by a certain Col. Quilinguen in a transparent effort to delay their trip to Makati City. Jhay Rocas texted me to say that they committed no traffic violation whatsoever and it appeared that they were just being harassed. They were let go after an hour.

2.  Kudos to the thousands of Catholic students who came out in full force! Rivals Ateneo and La Salle were together in the streets! The Catholic schools easily mobilized what I estimate was a contingent of no less than 10,000 judgingby the long and seemingly endless queue of students in their uniforms, guided by nuns and priests and administrators.
3.  Congratulations, too, to the Youth Act Now! student coalition which led its own contingents from UP, PUP, UST, FEU, TIP and other universities, colleges and even high schools.

4. The trade unions and urban poor, led by the KMU and Kadamay, were there in decent numbers. They may not be as prominent as the rich and the elite who were given the best spots, but when they marched down Ayala, all eyes were on them. Their faces bore disenchantment and outrage that stinking corruption continues to rob them of a good life and opportunities.

5. If about 800 of your adherents and members have been killed, what would you do? Surrender perhaps? Bayan chooses to fight back in the streets as it mobilized about 30,000 of its members today, and artistically portrayed its view of Arroyo with a papier-mache effigy of Arroyo as a poisonous snake (Which is truly biblical because Satan’s first incarnation was as a serpent).

6. Thank you too to the employees who showered the protesters with confetti. Special mention to the employees of BPI who seemed to have shredded all bank documents and deposit slips just to have an endless supply of confetti for perhaps two solid hours. Confetti also rained from atop other buildings especially the Philippine Stock Exchange Plaza whose employees went out of their way to make multicolored confetti.

7. The churchpeople came out in full force too. Plenty of nuns and priests, and scores of ministers, pastors and bishops from both Catholic and non-Catholic churches took a definite stand — so different from the weak position of the more conservative Catholic bishops.

Why do I highlight these? Well, for one simple reason. The heroes for the day weren’t Presidents Aquino and Estrada. They weren’t the United Opposition leaders Adel Tamano and Mayor Jojo Binay. Not even Jun Lozada

The real heroes were the the students, common folk, the employees, the workers, urban poor, the activists in their thousands, who came out to show Mrs. Arroyo today that her days are numbered.

No amount of fear-mongering, which was so shrill last night especially coming from PNP Chief Avelino Razon, would stop them from taking a stand.

As I write this, the rally goes on, with musicians and speakers taking turns lambasting Mrs. Arroyo for her many crimes.

More about the rally later.

In the meantime, go watch ANC and browse GMAnews.tv, Inquirer.net, ABS-CBNnews.com and the blogs for updates.

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