Church activists joining protests vs Charter change
LUCENA CITY—Opposition to Charter change has spread to a group of activist members of the clergy which announced plans on Thursday to bring their cause to the site of the 1986 People Power Revolt that paved the way for the 1987 Constitution.
In a phone interview, activist priest Robert Reyes called on the people to join nine days of prayer and fasting on Edsa, site of the bloodless revolt that toppled the Marcos dictatorship, to protest Charter change (Cha-cha) aimed at shifting to a federal form of government but which critics of President Duterte described as a ploy to keep him in power beyond his term in 2022.
Reyes said the group Gomburza, which brings together priests, nuns, brothers and laity, would lead a multisectoral protest dubbed “Nine Days of Prayer and Fasting Against Cha-cha and for Democracy” at the People Power Monument on Edsa starting on Feb. 17 until Feb. 25.
The protest was timed with the commemoration of the bloodless revolt that forced the Marcos family to flee the country.
Reyes said the event would also be a tribute to the heroism of priests Jose Burgos, Mariano Gomez and Jacinto Zamora, known as Gomburza, who stood up to Spanish colonialism and were executed on Feb. 17, 1872.
The group Gomburza, known as the vanguard of Church activism during the dark days of martial law, was resurrected last year to again join the parliament of the streets, this time against the Duterte administration.
“Mr. Duterte should stop his arrogance from his tower. We’re not gods here on earth,” said Reyes, Gomburza spokesperson. “We all came from dust and unto dust, we will all return,” he said.
“Extrajudicial killings, violations of the Constitution, disrespect of women, removal from their posts or incarceration of government officials who go against Duterte, abuse of power—all of these are because of his pride and renunciation of God,” the activist priest said.
Reyes, a veteran of many hunger strikes, vowed not to eat but only drink water during the nine-day protest.
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