Wexistential Crises, Wayward Thoughts, Welcome Distractions and Willful Pursuits

TindigNation: A Concert Rally Against Con-Ass

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Multi-sectoral groups wave their banners in protest

I haven’t joined a rally since Edsa II. I was in college then, and I’ve since come to realize that there are more productive ways to expend time and energy if you really want to contribute to positive social change. Which is not to say that I don’t see the value in protest actions, because I do. It’s just that in the Philippines it seems like we’re marching onto the streets every other day and somehow the frequency lessens the impact.

But anyway, I was at the anti-con-ass rally on Ayala last June 10 because I felt strongly about the cause. I will not stand for a charter change that does not reflect the will of the people, for term extensions, for no elections in 2010 and for further abuses in government. I wanted to take part in an opportunity to raise awareness about the implications of con-ass.

It started out okay. I particularly liked the skit of Paq Yu (Gabe Mercado) and Juana Change (Mae Paner); I thought they summed up the issues nicely. It started going downhill for me when the politicians started talking. I would have much preferred it if the organizers had invited on stage more representatives of the various groups present, or even just ordinary citizens from different walks of life.

Political rivals sharing the stage: a show of solidarity for a common cause or just another campaign opportunity?

Chiz Escudero, Mar Roxas, Loren Legarda, Among Ed Panlilio among others addressed the crowd. Kiko Aquino Dy read a letter from his grandmother. (I’m sorry Tita Cory, but you lost credibility with me when you started hanging out with the shadier members of the opposition. I thank you for your service to and sacrifice for the country, but you are not the moral compass of the Philippines.) JV Ejercito relayed a message from Erap. (Your father was convicted of plunder and you have the gall to get up there and pontificate?) JV was the last straw for me. I left shortly after.

A banner with the faces of the representatives who supposedly voted for HR 1109

HR 1109 was approved through a viva voce vote. The ayes won simply because they were louder than the nays. There is no official record of who voted what, so we’re not sure if the lists floating around on the internet are accurate. Our best bet is the list of those who signed as co-authors of HR 1109. Obviously (with the exemption of Rep. Luis Villafuerte, who withdrew his signature), legislators will not vote against the measure they authored. I feel that propagating a list that has not been verified is unfair to the congressmen who may not have supported the resolution.

It seemed to me that people at the rally spent more time bashing PGMA and the con-ass congressmen than talking about con-ass itself. I wasn’t expecting a scholarly debate, but is it too much to ask that we focus a little more on issues and a little less on personalities? The backdrop of the stage read “Stop Gloria’s Con-Ass” as did many of the signs and banners people were carrying. I personally am against not just Gloria’s con-ass, but I’m against any attempt to violate our democratic institutions. It’s not just about the people involved in these shenanigans, it’s about what they represent. I don’t want to see just a change in political leadership, I want to see change in our entire political culture.

This will be my last rally for a while, unless something of Edsa I proportions happens.

On a lighter note, I thought this “Amazing Map of the Philippines” was really funny, though I’m not sure why someone was carrying it around at the rally:


Earlier that day, at an MGG meeting in the Ayala Foundation conference room:

The view of Ayala at around 4:00 PM from 10th floor of the BPI building
Me, Paeng and Quintin with the crowd growing on Paseo de Roxas in the background,
Posing with Mae in her full Juana Change glory before the rally

View the full set of photos on Flickr.


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