“We are informing President Aquino that there will be a series of trials and proceedings that will be held in communities, workplaces, schools and streets that will prosecute his government against its anti-people and anti-national policies.” – Raymond Palatino, Bayan-NCR
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Various progressive groups started on Sunday, June 29, what they call as the trial of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s four years as President of the Philippines. The groups said a series of trials would be held on the streets and they would give their final verdict against Aquino on his fifth State of the Nation Address on July 28.
“Four years is enough for our fellow countrymen to give their final verdict on how Aquino performed as President of the country,” Raymond Palatino, chairman of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) – National Capital Region said in the press conference.
The groups said Aquino committed 12-counts of criminal cases against the people:
1. Soaring cost of electricity in the country,
2. Corruption in the bureaucracy (Priority Development Assistance Fund scam and Disbursement Acceleration Program),
3. Criminal neglect of the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda,
4. Joblessness and meager wages for Filipino workers,
5. Lacking of genuine land reform program,
6. High prices of basic commodities,
7. Privatization of public hospitals,
8. Intensification of commercialization of education and neglect of the welfare of teachers,
9. Grave destruction of the environment and massive reclamation schemes,
10. Massive dislocation of urban poor caused by Public-Private Partnership projects,
11. Human rights violations and delay of peace talks,
12. Sell-out of national sovereignty and patrimony
Groups such as #Scrapthepork Movement, Kilusan ng Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Gabriela-NCR, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap-NCR, Save Freedom Island Movement, Akap Bata, Tambuli ng Mamayan among others expressed their disgust over Aquino’s ineptness in addressing the people’s sufferings.
“For four years, all he did was to justify his inactions, present ‘press release’ investigations, use the blame game and force us to tighten our belts. He favored the importation of products and protected the interest of rice cartels, which affect our local producers and farmers,” said Jinky Panganiban, spokeswoman of Gabriela-NCR. She cited that several basic products gravely inflated since the beginning of Aquino’s term.
France Castro, secretary general of ACT, said teachers could not cope with the soaring prices of commodities as call for a salary increase still has not been enacted upon by Congress. “Up to now, the President has not showed any intention to increase the salary of teachers and non-teaching personnel.”
Antonio Flores, secretary general of KMP said under Aquino, farmers do not only suffer from hunger but also from landlessness. “That is why on June 30, the farmers who marched from their respective regions would storm Malacañang and demand from Aquino to junk the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER).”
The groups also slammed corruption under Aquino. “If this administration is really for the righteous path, then it is about time that all the involved in the PDAF scam should be punished,” said Mark Louie Aquino, spokesman of #Scrapthepork Movement.
The groups called the series of protest actions #HatolNgBayan, which will culminate in a Hatol ng Bayan Citizen’s Assembly on July 23 in Manila and the giant People’s Sona rally on July 28 in Batasang Pambansa where they would announce the verdict of the Filipino people on the Aquino administration.
“Important hearings and trials are not only being held in the Sandiganbayan but also outside our courtrooms. We are informing President Aquino that there will be a series of trials and proceedings that will be held in communities, workplaces, schools and streets that will prosecute his government against its anti-people and anti-national policies,” Palatino said.
“On July 28, the people will give their verdict on what kind of government there is for the Filipino people,” said Renato Reyes, secretary general of Bayan National. He said they are encouraging all Filipinos to participate in Aquino’s trial and verdict on his fifth Sona.
Meanwhile, Reyes said they received credible information from Norway that Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles is lobbying for Aquino’s possible nomination to the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize Awards.
“Definitely we oppose this. Aquino does not deserve to be a Nobel Peace Prize Awardee because of the continuing human rights violations, the stalled peace talks with the National Democratic Front and for allowing foreign intervention in Southeast Asia – the reason behind the return of the US bases in our country. It would be a source of embarrassment if the award-giving body commits a second blunder in deciding who should be nominated and awarded.”