Middle class leads Luneta rally


Although the vaunted Million People March at Manila’s Rizal Park on Monday was way below its target—police estimate placed the marchers at between 65,000 and 75,000—it brought home a message: The citizenry will no longer tolerate corruption by their leaders.

Most of the participants in the Luneta rally were clergymen, church laymen, office executives, young professionals, students, residents of millionaires’ villages, and the so-called netizens (people who express their opinions through the Internet).

There was a handful of government officials among the marchers.

Even Commissioner Heidi Mendoza of the Commission on Audit was reported to have planned to join the march.

Mendoza’s office, the Commission on Audit (COA), found irregularities in the use of the pork barrel by some senators and congressmen in a special audit for the 2007-2009 period.

Even if the number of rally participants was relatively small (compared to the 1 million organizers said would take part), the Aquino administration should consider the seriousness of the public anger at corruption in government.

The rally participants at the Luneta on Monday came mostly from the intelligentsia and the middle class.

The peaceful Edsa People Power Revolution that sent Ferdinand Marcos and his family fleeing to Hawaii was instigated and led by the middle class and intelligentsia.

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P-Noy’s honesty and integrity are beyond question but many agencies in the executive branch are corrupt, particularly the Bureau of Customs.

The legislature, which is supposed to guard against the excesses of the executive branch, is itself corrupt as shown by the P10-billion pork barrel scam exposed by the Inquirer.

The judiciary, supposedly the least corrupt, is just as corrupt as—if not more corrupt than—the executive and legislative branches of government.

Since P-Noy can’t order the independent legislative and judicial branches to mend their corrupt ways, he could do a thorough housecleaning in the executive branch for the other two co-equal branches to follow.

*  *  *

This columnist and the staff of “Isumbong Mo kay Tulfo” public service program (dwIZ, 882 khz AM) became a conduit on Monday of the generosity of SeaAir airlines and my Chinoy friend, Cyrus Chung, who sent much-needed aid to flood victims in Malabon City.

SeaAir gave away 540 packs of ready-to-eat meals: first-class rice, Vietnamese chicken curry and braised chicken with mushroom.

The flood victims had a treat as the airline-packed meals are apparently served to SeaAir passengers.

On the other hand, Chung, a businessman, gave away 1,000 cans of sardines in 10 boxes.

All told, my staff and I served 1,000 flood victims at Barangays Dalumpit and Panghulo.

Actually, the food packs from SeaAir were given to the Inner Wheel Club District 383, headed by Jeanny Jinang, by the airline’s owner and president, Nick Gitsis.

The Philippine Air Force provided us with a six-by-six truck to transport the goods through knee-deep water.

When I called up Col. Miguel Okol, chief of the Air Force’s public relations office, on Monday to thank him for sending the truck to the calamity-stricken area, he replied, “We’re always here to serve.”

I would also like to thank Philippine Red Cross (PRC) volunteers who assisted us in distributing the relief packs.

No less than the PRC secretary-general, Gwendolyn Pang, was there to coordinate the distribution with local residents.

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