By Jun Ledesma

Rallies fizzle for who can quarrel with success?

September 23, 2017, 4:35 pm

They marched and rallied to beat a long dead horse called Marcos martial law and dictatorial regime. They came from various political persuasions and agenda. The most vociferous of them are the assemblage of the usual bunch of professional street parliamentarians and some characters who not too long ago were in bed with President Rodrigo R. Duterte. 

Rejected by the Commission on Appointments and dejected for the President cancelled the peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army/National Democratic Front), and in retaliation, they now joined the ranks of the political opposition who are salivating to take control of the government again. 

The clergy of course wanted to be counted and with the usual bravado challenged Digong they dubbed as killer, diktador and…a US lackey. 

“Kung kami hindi natatakot sa Diyos sa iyo pa kaya?” Sounds like we have an emerging cabal of fallen angels.

Calling Duterte a US pawn made their “Tindig Pilipinas” clarion call a rib tickler. Wasn’t it the irrepressible Digong who told ex-US Pres. Barack Obama “you go to hell” after the former admonished him to go slow on extra-judicial killing and violence?

It was a manic Thursday. While they were burning the effigy of Duterte, their penchant was back in the battle front in Marawi, giving encouragement to his soldiers fighting the last Maute ISIS standing.

It is a sublime paradox that while the rallyists condemned Duterte as a dictator, they had all the space and time delivering their incendiary speeches and oratory. But nobody wants to listen anymore. It is the same refrain, from the time the first quarter storm which took place at the height of civic unrest that led to the declaration of Martial Law by the late Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, up to Thursday. The slogans are the same and the organizers did not even bother that it has been nearly five decades since they used those mantras.

The thousands of indigenous peoples who were herded by the organizers and brought to Metro Manila by land and sea, were oblivious of what was happening and why there’s anger and hatred in the air.

In Davao City, about 600 rally participants led by men in their white soutanes marched peacefully while the microphone was blaring invectives against Duterte for declaring martial law in Mindanao and demanding that it should be lifted. At one point, they marveled in awe seeing the Avida Towers in C. M Recto Avenue undergoing finishing touches. The children among them were fascinated.

The Davao group had a sprinkling of indigenous tribesmen and women. But the Christians among them cannot also hide their captivation over the tall edifices their clinched fists now pointing at the buildings which many of them saw for the first time. 

Back in Manila, the usual coterie of the now moribund Liberal Party huddled in a chapel in UP Diliman in what they bannered as “Mass for Justice.. They had shed off the usual yellow attire and they came all dressed in immaculate white, the sheen was like that of a sheep’s clothing. Former Pres. Noynoy Aquino had lost so much weight. Senators Frank Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, loser Mar Roxas and VP Leni Robredo were all there wearing glum faces. Noynoy managed to say a brief statement saying “dapat magkaisa para pigilan ang pagpapatay”. He forgot that he too is actually facing a case in the Sandiganbayan for the slaughter of SAF 44. I need not elaborate on that one. Roxas is still in disbelief. Did I hear him say ‘I told you so’?

Conspicuously absent in the rallies were Sen. Sonny Trillanes and Riza Hontiveros or maybe the camera just missed them. For how could they miss an occasion like this? Duterte himself encouraged them to join the protest rallies.

Forty-five years had elapsed. The corpse of Marcos is buried seven feet below the ground. We have a new President who was duly elected by 16-million people. Some smart asses would say that is not a majority. They conveniently brushed aside the fact that as of the latest survey, almost 85 percent of Filipinos already approved of what Duterte and his administration are doing. If they cannot accept that, then maybe they should ponder why the rallies last Thursday were so pipsqueak. So insignificant the so-called “Yellowtards” have to hide in a chapel in the safe confines of UP Diliman for yet another show of piety.

You want a piece of advice? Better help in nation building. Next year is a Build, Build, Build year to borrow the slogan of Vince Dizon of BCDA. Next year, we will run out of labor force as the government will embark on an unprecedented implementation of railway projects, six systems in all, these according to DOTr Usec. Cesar Chavez. 

Sec. Arthur Tugade himself said that DOTr will have to set up a railway academy to have thousands of laborers, engineers and maintenance crew educated and trained. 

President Duterte himself had set a simple terms of peace settlement.

The combatants of the New Peoples Army, he instructed, just show up in any military or police headquarters, indicate that he or she wants to go back to the folds of the law. If he wants to go farming, he will be given a piece of land to till. Others can be employed as forest guards, or, as Chavez and Tugade said, be employed in railways, MRTs and LRTs. 

I cannot say the same for Joma Sison. The last time Duterte talked to him he was offered an eternal safe conduct pass to come home to the Philippines and avail of free hospitalization courtesy of the government as he looks ill. 

The master of double talk, however, answered with an ambush of Duterte’s presidential security guards. In the meantime, Moody’s rating of the Philippines remains at Baa2, a stable outlook and an investment grade. The last time I met Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez, he was all sparkling and contentedly happy. This workaholic pilots the Philippines economic flagship. Secretary Dominguez is doubly happy Moody’s sees 6.5 GDP growth by the end of 2017. 

Even the critical Rappler banners that . Frankly, who can refute or quarrel with success?


About the Columnist

Image of Jun Ledesma

Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.