MANILA, Philippines – Progressive organizations commemorated the 31st death anniversary of former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr on Thursday, August 21, by pointing out what they considered a glaring contrast between him and his son, President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.
In a rally at the Ninoy Aquino Monument in Quezon City, they pointed out how the martyred senator led struggles against the Marcos dictatorship, while his son has announced his openness to seeking another term in office, and amending the Constitution that prohibits his reelection.
"The people are afraid that the extension of his term will lead to Martial Law," said Sanlakas' Tita Flor Santos, who was a political prisoner during the Marcos regime.
"Your parents made us proud! Ninoy made us proud to be Filipinos! It is your turn to make your parents proud!" she said at the rally, addressing the President.
Nick Elman, leader of Manggagawang Laban sa Korupsyon, said Aquino should instead focus his efforts on addressing the plight of the poor.
"The oligarchs of this country have bled us dry! They are the ones profiting from the 99% of the population! We need the president to stand with us and against the oppressors!" Elman said.
Aaron Pedrosa, secretary general of Sanlakas said: “We may talk endlessly of the contributions of Ninoy in the struggle against the dictatorship and his selfless dedication to the ideals of a democratic nation, but, more importantly, we are compelled by a higher political circumstance to launch intensified mass actions for the reason that a looming dictatorship is in the offing.”
Instead, he said, Aquino is turning out to have dictatorial tendencies, starting with his budget management principles. “Noynoy’s recent pronouncements may not have came as a surprise since all the tell-tale signs were apparent since he commenced in August 2010 the zero-based budgeting approach, the precursor to his controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program and willingly turned himself into a fiscal dictator.”
For his part, Gie Relova of the socialist group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino said that, “We, the ordinary wage-earners, loyal taxpayers will suffer the heaviest brunt if Noynoy succeeds in amending the Constitution.
“Economically, our wages will continue to deteriorate, the government’s tactic is to depress wages to sub-human standards in order to attract investors. Truth be said, the ASEAN nations shall not compete in terms of superior products and services but shall compete only in lowering labor costs to get the nod of exploitative multinationals,” the labor leader said.
After the program, the groups marched to the Aquino residence on Times Street, also in Quezon City, hoping the President would be at his parents house on the 31st anniversary of his father's death and hear their calls to continue his father's fight for the people.
The President wasn't there.