Pork scammers urged to resign
THOUSANDS of people from academic, religious, business and civil society groups are expected to converge on Cebu City’s Fuente Osmeña rotunda today to demand not just the abolition of the congressional pork barrel but also the resignation of those involved in its misuse.
Msgr. Rommel Kintanar of the Archdiocesan Discernment Group of Cebu, co-organizer of the Cebu Coalition Against Pork Barrel System, said the group would gather at Fuente Osmeña about 1:30 p.m. before marching down to Plaza Independencia in downtown Cebu City.
One of the highlights of the event would be the reading and signing of the Unity Statement at Plaza Independencia where they would call for the immediate resignation of those who were charged in the pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by Janet Lim Napoles. Among them were Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr.
He said these people must vacate their posts because they were in a position to intimidate the witnesses.
Other demands the statement would make include the abolition of the pork barrel system, the prosecution of those involved in the theft of taxpayers’ money, recovery of the money, and transparency in implementation of government programs and projects.
Copies of the Unity Statement were distributed to different churches, organizations and schools. People would be given a chance to sign the statement during Sunday’s rally, after which copies of the signed statement would be sent to Malacañang, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
In a statement, the Cebu Coalition Against Pork Barrel System said officials of the University of Cebu, Cebu Doctors’ University, University of San Carlos, University of the Visayas, St. Theresa’s College and other Catholic institutions were urging their students and faculty to join the rally.
The mass action at Plaza Independencia would kick off with a Mass at 3 p.m. to be followed by a program during which representatives of the different sectors and religious organizations and would speak.
A video message from Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, who cannot attend the rally because of a prior engagement, would also be shown. Palma had earlier encouraged priests and members of lay organizations to join the mass demonstration.
Politicians could join the rally but they would not be allowed to speak lest the event be politicized.
The rally is expected to end at 6 p.m. with the singing of the song “Bayan Ko” and the lighting of the candles.
Archbishop Palma has urged the Catholic faithful to support today’s mass action.
In a statement posted on the website of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Palma said the Catholic faithful should take part in the rally to support the call for transparency and accountability in the manner administration officials and legislators spend taxpayers’ money and other resources.
He said the Catholic faithful should “fulfill their Christian duty to transform society and restore all things in Christ.”
The Cebu Coalition against Pork Barrel System, a group that calls for the abolition of lump-sum appropriations in government finances, is organizing the march and rally.
“The call is for everyone to be concerned, to be discerning, to be involved,” Palma added. /CHIEF OF REPORTERS DORIS C. BONGCAC AND CORRESPONDENTS JHUNNEX NAPALLACAN AND EDISON DELOS ANGELES
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