Aquino slammed before father's monument
MANILA, Philippines – Following the success of the #MillionPeopleMarch in Luneta last August, groups against the pork barrel hold another protest in Makati City. The groups want concrete calls for action and specific policy recommendations.
Paterno Esmaquel reports.
(Watch Rappler's video report below.)
(The script of the video report follows.)
For the first time, hundreds of protesters slam the President right in front of his father's monument in Makati.
Protesters challenge the President to scrap his pork barrel, alleging Aquino’s discretionary funds were misused.
They also challenge lawmakers to let go of their pork.
Fifty-nine-year-old Manolo Pascual came all the way from Bulacan. He isn't an activist, but makes it a point to come here.
He feels betrayed by the President he elected.
MANOLO PASCUAL, BULACAN RESIDENT: Nagpapasalamat ho ako na dito ginawa, dahil nandidiyan ang tatay niya eh. Baka sakaling magising ang mata niya na, "Teka muna, nalilihis na yata ako ng landas. Lumiliko na yata ang campaign slogan kong tuwid na daan." (I'm thankful that we did the rally here, because his father is right here. I hope he opens his eyes: “Wait a minute, I might be going the wrong direction. I might be straying from my campaign slogan of a straight path.”)
Comedienne Mae Paner, Juana Change on social media, says the venue reminds the President of his father's legacy.
She says it's also a wake-up call for the middle-class in the country's financial capital.
MAE PANER, A.K.A. JUANA CHANGE: I think napakamagandang lugar ng Makati sapagkat ito ang sentro ng negosyo kaya naisip natin na gawin dito, para sabihin natin sa mga tao ng Makati, the business sector. Kasi sila ang pinaka-iffy sa pork barrel system. Ewan ko kung takot sila, masyado silang takot sa presidente, o masyadong sariling interest nila ang iniisip nila. (I think Makati is a good venue because this is the center of commerce, so we thought of doing it here, to send a message to the people of Makati, the business sector. Because they're the most iffy about the pork barrel system. I don't know if they're scared, or if they're too scared of the President, or they're thinking too much of their own interests.)
Organizers say they want specific policies to address patronage politics, the root of fund misuse.
Protesters end the rally with a symbol of vigilance against corruption.
PATERNO ESMAQUEL, REPORTING: This is the monument of the President's father, the martyred senator Benigno Aquino Jr. It evokes memories of heroism. For protesters, it's also a warning for the President not to stain his father's legacy.
Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler, Manila.