“If they push con-ass, we will resist and fight, and we hope that you, the people, will be with us,” Ocampo said.
“Given the widespread outrage against HR 1109, it is still possible for majority of our congressmen to have second thoughts about supporting GMA’s con-ass,” Ocampo said in a statement released earlier in the day. “If our colleagues see hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets, I’m sure they will realize their folly.”
Ocampo also pointed out that “majority of the congressmen decided to hide behind a viva voce vote in approving HR 1109 precisely because they knew there would be a political backlash. Now that the anger is spilling to the streets, it would be to their and the country’s best interest to side with the minority in preventing HR 1109 from ever being implemented.”
Indeed, at the Makati protest, the rallyists made sure that those who voted to the resolution won’t be forgotten. They put up a “Hall of Shame” showing the pictures of these legislators. They also took turns pelting their pictures with a ball.
Sen. Benigno Aquino III, one of the signatories to a recent Senate resolution opposing the passage of House Resolution 1109, urged the people to be vigilant. “The Arroyo administration loves to sneak things through in the night, so if we fall asleep, they may be able to get away with more,” he said.
Some showed their revulsion toward Arroyo in a different way. Mother Mary John Mananzan of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) and the Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change reiterated the main reasons the people should unite and act against charter change.
“We do not want Gloria, whatever title she may use,” the nun said. “We protest the intention to sell the wealth of our nation,” she added, referring to some proposed changes in the charter that would allow foreigners even more control of local resources.
Invoking the spirit of the babaylan, the healer and religious leader in indigenous Filipino communities, Mananzan put a curse on Arroyo and her allies.
Outrage also filled the streets of other cities. There were reports of similar protest actions in Baguio, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Laguna, Dumaguete, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and General Santos.
In Davao City, the city council passed a resolution a day earlier denouncing House Resolution 1109 and the moves to change the Constitution. Vice-Mayor Sara Duterte also issued a memorandum directing all city employees to join Wednesday’s protest.
Aside from the usual activists, the protest in Davao, which was capped by a torch parade from the Freedom Park to the Rizal Park, was well-attended by local officials, among them councilors.
With many of the protesters wearing black, the Davaoenos railed against House Speaker Prospero Nograles, who represents Davao City’s first district, for pushing charter change. They trooped to Nograles’s office and pelted it with rotten tomatoes. Nograles, they said, is an embarrassment to the people of Davao.
“Chacha is anti-people. It deprives the people of their dignity and it sells out our patrimony,” Bishop Felixberto Calang Jr. of the Iglesia Filipino Independiente said during the protest.
In Cebu, the protests started a little past 9 a.m., with the protesters converging at the Fuente Osmena, considered as Cebu’s Edsa where many protests have been held in the past. More than 500 protesters from different sectors — youth, women, farmers, teachers, gays and lesbians, among them – later marched to the Malacanang sa Sugbo and, later on, to the Department of Agrarian Affairs
“Instead of giving priority to the problems of farmers, Arroyo is prioritizing cha-cha,” said Nick Abasolo of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. Abasolo also urged the military to pull out its troops from farms. He also criticized the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, calling it a useless law. Instead, he said, Congress should pass the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill filed by the late Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran.
During the march, ordinary Cebuanos, among them drivers and passengers of jeepneys, showed their support by throwing coins at the protesters.
In Baguio, the march-rally started at around 4 pm with a street play by the Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera. In the street play, Arroyo was depicted as the pet dog of Uncle Sam, following his commands, like charter change.
The Baguio rally was hampered by a drizzle but it did not stop the protesters. “Our lawmakers have become law breakers,” said Braulio Yaranon, the former Baguio City mayor.
In Cagayan de Oro City, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma called on Cagayanons to participate in the protests against Arroyo. “I’m calling on the people, this is the time to participate. Let’s act on the social ills that are threatening the practice of good governance.”
Hundreds of activists and residents gathered at the Divisoria to register their opposition to charter change. They chanted and shouted anti-government slogans. They ended the program with a candle lighting. (Bulatlat.com)