About 3,500 call for pork abolition in Luneta

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Fr. Joe Dizon, Bishop Oscar Cruz, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, and Mae Paner, aka Juana Change, were among the personalities from the Catholic Church, politics and showbiz who attended the anti-pork rally at the Luneta Park in Manila on Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. Video by INQUIRER.net’s Noy Morcoso III; “Kawatan” composed and sung by Jograd dela Torre with music from Jessie J’s “Price Tag”

MANILA, Philippines—Around 3,500 people gathered at the Luneta Park in Manila Friday afternoon to denounce the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund, the third protest action against the pork barrel in less than a month.

Participants from various sectors, including students, converged on the open field in an event dubbed “Balik Luneta” to urge Congress to abolish the pork barrel system.

Police estimated about 3,500 took part in the peaceful assembly. Fr. Joe Dizon of Clergy Discernment group said organizers were expecting that about 10,000 would join the protest.

The protesters carried streamers and banners, which they said they weren’t allowed to do during the prayer rally at EDSA Shrine on Wednesday, denouncing the graft-tainted PDAF.

The mass action came a day after whistle-blower  Benhur Luy told a Senate hearing how his cousin Janet Lim-Napoles allegedly siphoned off some P10 billion from the PDAF of several lawmakers through bogus nongovernment organizations.

Actress and political activist Mae Paner, also known as Juana Change, lauded Luy and other whistle-blowers for disclosing the alleged scam.

“It only takes one brave soul to do what he did. And look, he’s able to shake the legislature,” Paner said.

Renato Reyes Jr., Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general, they would stage a similar protest action on September 21, the anniversary of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos’s declaration of Martial Law.

“There was corruption under the Marcos dictatorship then, there is corruption under the so-called ‘Daang Matuwid’ of Aquino today. There’s no fundamental change in terms of corruption and in terms of the situation of our people. The ruling elite, while their faces may change, are still protectors of the rotten and corrupt status quo,” Reyes said.

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