There’s the Rub




However yesterday’s rally turned out, it will already have been a victory of sorts.

It’s a phenomenon all its own.

At the very least, that’s so because it happened at all. Only a month ago or so, I was despairing over the fact that while we did not lack for exposés of corruption, some of them mind-boggling involving as they did fabulous sums amid a backdrop of “the gates of hell,” as Dan Brown called it, we lacked the anger, the outrage, to respond to it.

Which was what it took to stop it. So long as we just said, “What else is new?” so long as we just made text jokes about it, so long as we just thought it was enough that the culprits were exposed, never mind shaming them, never mind reviling them, never mind jailing them, the scams would go on and on. Yet that was all we seemed to do, that was all we seemed to be content to do.

And then suddenly, dazzlingly, an explosion of anger swept over cyberspace. And then instinctively, spontaneously, people began talking of taking to the streets. Yesterday’s rally really had no core organizers, it was just a lot of incensed voices talking as one, it was just a lot of rekindled hearts beating as one. It was as if a people had collectively been struck by light on the way to Damascus.

At the very most, this is the first time I’ve seen a public outcry over corruption.

In the past of course we’ve had the populace spontaneously massing at Edsa and shouting, “Tama na, sobra na, palitan na,” but this was about corruption in a far broader sense. This was about corruption in the sense of “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The protest, the outburst, the willingness to spill out into the streets and spark an upheaval was against Marcos himself and the tyranny he represented.

Just as well, in the past we had the populace massing in Makati, in particular shouting all sorts of invectives against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, particularly after the revelation of “Hello Garci,” and particularly after Jun Lozada risked life and limb to expose the NBN-ZTE scam. Mar Roxas himself was moved to utter the Pinoy’s favorite reference to a bastard’s mother in Jojo Binay’s turf, and gained a mild spike in his tepid ratings. But this too was about corruption in a broader sense, in the sense of “lying, cheating and stealing,” something was rotten in the state of the Philippines. The protest, the outburst, the willingness to go out in the streets—Danny Lim did the last at the head of a crowd, only to be halted in his tracks and do time for it—was against Arroyo herself and the tyranny she represented.

This is the first time I’ve seen a protest, an outburst, a willingness to tumble into the streets like a flood over corruption in the very specific or traditional sense of theft, plunder, pillage. It is not directed against government, or specifically P-Noy, though yesterday’s rally did not lack for elements who tried to channel it in that direction.

At least it is not directed against government yet, many of the demonstrators still hoping to get their president to experience a change of heart, or head, about pork. But that could change overnight if P-Noy continues to hew to his position of moderating the greed by modifying the pork. Rumblings along those lines are already being heard as we speak. The public mood is ugly, the people want the greed itself stopped, the people want pork itself scrapped.

I don’t know how the rally yesterday turned out—I’m writing this the day before—but I do know, or suspect, that the principled, and passionate, discourse that underlay it, that sparked it, will persist, if not grow more thunderous, in weeks to come. Who knows? Maybe in months or even years to come.

It is a luminous development and the social media deserves a great deal of the credit for it. Truly, it’s changing the landscape of this country, it’s defining the discourse of this country. It was there the anger started, it was there the opprobrium started, it was there the not-very-muted cries of “tama  na,  sobra  na,  tigilan  na,” started. Before the massing of bodies happened at the Luneta, the massing of minds happened there.

I’m particularly fascinated by the participation of the Pinoy expatriates there, especially the Pinoys in America. They’re the ones who’ve been quite impassioned in expressing their disgust at the obscenity of wasted resources amid unbelievable want. For good reason, which also shows what the key to stopping corruption is: They have a grasp of the sacredness of taxpayers’ money. The Pinoys in America in particular are the ones who have come to expect that when a crack peeps out in their streets, or trash piles up in their garbage dumps, or someone calls 911, that the crack will be paved, the trash collected and the emergency responded to immediately. It is a right. It is a claim. It is a natural expectation.

That none of it is forthcoming because the money has been stolen is simply unthinkable.

I’m excited by all this. Finally, we’re beginning to see with the eyes of the oppressed and victimized that corruption is stealing, and it is stealing from us. The corrupt are no different from the pickpocket or snatcher or burglar that preys on us in sidewalks, in jeepneys and buses, in our homes while we sleep the sleep of the just, or the dead-tired.

Finally, we’re beginning to realize with the hearts of the outraged that the only ones who can really stop corruption are we ourselves. By our resolute refusal to abide it, by our collective refusal to tolerate it. Government by itself cannot do it, however high-minded its head is. Only we can stop corruption—even if we have to do it in spite of government, even if we have to do it against government.

Finally, we are glimpsing the truth.

And the truth shall set us free.

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  • firmelilia_12LAF

    News: The whistle-blowers wept while watching on tv the mammoth gathering of taxpayers at the Rizal Park condemning the pork barrel scam. We can understand why they, the whistle-blowers wept; somehow they had been instruments in this plunder of people’s money by Napoles and some lawmakers. For sometime they too were afforded the opportunity to live the lifestyle of the rich. When you are choked by guilt and weep, you can not really be that bad. Which brings me to imagine how the same Luneta scenario impacted on the greedy thieving politicians. Umiyak din kaya? Nakaramdam din kaya ng compunction? ng guilt? The cluster of them, whoever they are, who still have a sense of honor no matter how wispy, will probably trounce their heart in … shame? The cluster of them who are tough-hearted will probably just raise an eye-brow and twist their mouth. What you plant is what you reap, fellas! Karma never misses!

    • AlexanderAmproz

      Don’t worry for the Lawmakers.
      Did you have already seen high fly Criminal’s with empathy, shame, honesty, dignity and respect. Theses are unknown notions by them, otherwise they wouldn’t have committed multiple crimes.
      Only unlimited selfishness, arrogance and money moved them.
      At the moment they are thinking about all what is stashed abroad, how to protect it and when it’s the time to run away.
      The hopelessly slow path of the Justice will give them ample time to vanished with their families and dirty billions into thin air.

      The dream to see them fairly court, drowned in shame with life time jail terms and assets sequestered is vain. Justice delayed, Justice denied is on the way.

      A hold departure order, bank account’s frozen(already empty )?
      Is it an already too late emergency, almost as sure as Napoles family eating flowers by the roots ?

    • Oscuro

      Actually my oft repeated thought is….why did no non-leftist congressmen/women make any statement as to the PDAF or the gathering in Luneta? The senators, aspirants for higher office as they are have already made statements favoring the abolition, disingenuous as it may sound.

      But overall, it’s really the big resounding silence.

      And now that it’s over. The same lawmakers and other politicians have nothing to say. Nobody is speaking.

  • pinoynga

    Interesting read of the various posts and comments. I was specifically looking at categorical declarations, “I was there too, three, four . . .,” but I seemed to have missed it, perhaps. If I did, mea culpa! I just read in between the lines that some were in fact there. My understanding was, CDQ wasn’t there. :-(((

    Anyway, I categorically declare, I was there. And I have my muddied rubber shoes to prove it! I took over a hundred pictures and several videos too. Was actually hoping to bump into some of you, “Anonymous lot,” but perhaps maintaining our secret identities other than our known A.K.A.s is the way to go, for now.

    I’m proud to be Pinoy. I’m one among thousands to start and participate in something new in Philippine social media, a social media-led revolution.

    One message was clear to me yesterday, while walking on mud with thousands, already sick and tired of these hooligans in government. From hereon: “Anybody, anyone, anywhere, can start a new Philippine revolution. All one needs is to simply post via the social media!” And yes, they came, and the million plus plus is a work in progress, if you may!

    As I looked at my muddied shoes, I remembered those together with me were walking and standing as well on the muddy grass at the Luneta, not even minding their (should I say expensive and imported) footwear, but simply just happy to be counted in expressing their sentiments against this pork barrel fiasco. Regardless, I felt subliminally though, these crooked politicians are like mud, lets all step on them! They more than deserve it!

    Mga kababayan! We have now lighted a fuse. How the BANG happens and ends, ketsup to us now!

    Ang kasabihan nga ng mga modernong Pinoy sa ngayon: “YAHOO! ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!”



      or is it Frasier who has left the building? I know it for Frasier was one of my favorite tv shows.

  • cross my heart


    What is the significance of the Million People’s March?

    It signifies Danger and Hope.

    Presently, we are standing, shifting to and fro, like a see-saw, on two grounds – one foot on Civil Society ground, another on Government ground.

    DANGER because we seem to have a Government that seeks to extend its administrative powers into all realms of society, seeking a higher degree of centralization in the conduct of its functions, impinging on people’s constitutional rights, and tending toward a wider measure of politicization of social, economic, and cultural life – in the name and symbols of progress and development to the common Pinoys.

    Worse, it is automatically accepted by everyone, like by the businessmen in need of profits, by the educators in need of funds, or by the labor sector in need of jobs. Worst, the whole system is infected by a swarm of racketeers.

    HOPE because of the Million People’s March that professes we, Pinoys have still our one foot on the Civil Society ground – our fertile soil that is our social source of freedom – and that manifests our calling Heaven to witness that our will has not yet been anesthetized into moral passivity.


    Are some of you not doing Corona an injustice? maybe he went there to show that his SALN is nothing compared with the lawmakers’ scam. As regards to his unexplained wealth, is it proven, ha Ms. Henares and OW. C. Morales? A slow delivery of verdict is an injustice in itself.

    Teddy Boy Locsin said that the heckler was just one irate woman and the reporter of ABS CBN reported it differently.

    • marionics

      it’s like the pot calling the kettle putanginamokaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!

      he he

      • TGM_ERICK


      • marionics

        really naman???

        i have to explain this???

        ok sige na nga.

        the saying actually goes “it’s like the pot calling the kettle black” (i just used the mura as a filipino slant on the saying) which basically means that someone who is equally if not more guilty should not accuse someone else of such acts. so in this case i am jestingly agreeing to that portion of your comment where you said “maybe he went there to show that his SALN is nothing compared with the lawmakers’ scam”.

        so is this adequately explained? because i would not know how else to simplify it.

        kumare naman e, it is like pearls before swine naman e

      • TGM_ERICK

        Because I disn’t like your PI. Thanks anyway for explaining. I know the meaning of that statement about the kettle. :-)

      • Guest

        You know I made you explain to make you swallow your PI given to me. I don’t want to hear fro you again, ever. You may not like my opinion but be decent and brave enough to really direct whatever you want to say. You are a coward. Double bladed iyang ginawa mo. I am just a woman maybe a little like your Mom but no other woman like me.

      • marionics

        wow you are really missing the forest for the trees

        or should i explain that too????


        well, just as well. i was really going to stop wasting my pearls on you anyways .

        in any event, it was my fault for assuming you were smart or witty enough for my comments he he

      • marionics

        naku my mom is not a pillock like you.

        you should have been honored kasi i do not usually explain things to those who really have no ability to understand pero for some reason naawa ako sa iyo e kaya pinagtiyagaan kita pero ayun…nasasayang lang talaga kasi talagang hanggang doon lang ang kakayanan mo he he

    • Eric Samuel P. Joven

      It is not just the ABS CBN who reported it, GMA and Rappler also. There are also a lot of post in Social Media about that from people who were there. Corona was heckled because the people there were not fooled by the stunt he tried to achieve. Kala siguro niya nakalimutan na na kasalanan niya.

      • TGM_ERICK

        It was really a wrong move. But I think we still should give him the due respect for Henares and Morales have not come out yet with their decisions. It is just like my disapproval of what the angry mob did to the two hold up kids where one was beaten to death.

    • Anak Dalita

      It’s really bad to see Corona in the anti corruption rally ‘coz his case ignited the fire in the heart of the Filipinos against corrupt gov’t officials like him. Better for him to have stayed home and used the Internet in declaring his support to the rally. Good for him.

      • TGM_ERICK

        It was a wrong decision onn his part. He should have waited for the time when his name would be cleared.

  • pinoynga

    On a more serious Pinoy business. Has anyone of you tried accessing COA dot GOV dot PH yet? Suggest we all start understanding the innards of government. Here’s a small part of an audit report:

    Table II.7-B: Common Audit Findings: Weak Internal Controls and Administrative Lapses (COA CY2011 Report)

    A. Pecuniary Loss
    Most audit findings categorically indicate pecuniary loss on the part of the

    government as a result of violations of law, rules and regulations. For
    CY 2011, unauthorized/irregular/unnecessary expenses,unliquidated cash
    advances,violations of the Procurement Act, underassessment/
    undercollection, unutilized/ineffective projects, and l
    ack of appropriation constituted the most number of cases where the public coffers suffered unwarranted loss as shown in the succeeding table:

    Table II.7-A.
    Common Audit Findings with Pecuniary Loss
    Particular / Total / No. of Findings / Amount (in Million Pesos)

    1.Unauthorized/Irregular/Unnecessary expenses 1,642 18,653.516
    2.Unliquidated Cash Advances1,003 7,534.153
    3.No bidding/Not in Accordance with Procurement Law 692 15,163.353
    4.Underassessment/Undercollection157 20,813.224
    5.Unutilized/Ineffective Projects104 13,583.533
    6.Lack of appropriation 100 525.363
    7.Unliquidated Fund Transfer 77 6,800.313
    8. Delayed remittance/unremitted withholding tax/loans/premiums of employees and other trust liabilities 73 750.910
    9.Non-existent cash/unaccounted assets 49 1,199.753
    10.Unimplemented projects/Unutilized funds 47 3,276.235
    11. Shortages and malversation of funds 42 282.327
    12. Delayed implementation of projects/ suspended projects 36 2,554.056
    13. Unremitted/ Uncollected income/Accounts Receivables 34 3,511.810
    14.Overpricing / excessive contract cost 34 1,117.419
    15.Unsettled Suspensions/Disallowances/Charges 32 203.750
    16. Fictitious claims/expenses 26 5,198.772
    17.Untitled land purchased/ owned 17 390.671
    18.Undeposited collections 9 149.658
    19. Unrecouped advances/mobilization 6 107.860
    (this is just a small part of COA 111 pages Audit Report CY2011)

    The KEY question is what will government do now with these findings?

    • Timbuktu & Kiribati

      naku po ano po ba ito. ang mga halaga ay nasa million piso kaya’t ang unang kaso ay nangangahulugan ng P18.653B sa 1,642 na mga kaso. tama po ba ang intindi ko? bilang OFW ako po ay nalunglungkot kung ganito ang mga natipon na kaganapan sa gobyerno ng ating COA. dapat po sana maibunyag ang mga taong may kinalaman sa hindi wastong pagsunod sa mga patakarang panggastos ng pamahalaan.

      • wysiwyg81

        tumpak bro. at tignan mo rin ang pang limang item (Unutilized/Ineffective Projects) sa isang daan at apat na cases ang amount is already P13.6B ang nagastos subalit and COA findings ay unutilized at ineffective projects ang mga ito! just between items 1 to 5 the amount wasted by govt is already P75.7B! heads should start to roll if these audit is accurate!

    • Mamang Pulis

      …kung ako magbabasa ng report sa loob ng COA…malamang lumagpas ng 200 over 190 ang bp ko at matuluyang matigok na ako sa sama ng loob at poot…kulang ang p_keng inang syet yan ang lalabas sa bibig ko…

  • just another human

    It was indeed great to see you all there,God Bless You All

  • thadeothadeo

    Corruption starts from Malacanang where the budget is prepared. From here the Congress conducts the budget hearings until it is passed and signed into law by the president. That’s how both departments make the systematic looting of the people’s taxes legal. That’s the reason it is next to impossible to convict the thieves for plunder, because the legislators are given the discretion to (1) point out the projects for their constituents (2) choose their conduits or contractors on how to carry out the project. Since the amount is in lump sum, there is no need for details or specifics on how to spend the amount for the project/s, hence the legislator is not required to liquidate, nor submit the expenditures for accounting/auditing. This mechanism of insulating the pigs from prosecution for corruption is a conspiracy of the Office of the President and the Congress. The DOJ and the COA know this. They can’t prove the crime and the pigs are laughing all the way to the bank.

    If this brief is not enough for you to hate pork, then I don’t know what will.

  • outsidersnake

    I am so happy to see that finally, i am sad I could not join because I am abroad, finally Fillipinos are requesting their basic rights, god bless you all

  • @centaurchief



  • Pork_Republik

    This protest is simply against a rotten system. The PDAF scandal literally blew the people’s gaskets.

    PNoy’s administration had been fueling the people’s fury from the very beginning of his presidency. They wanted to keep it at a simmering level and leave it hanging over the politicians head like Damocles sword for his ‘tuwid na daan’.

    I guess PNoy’s boys and girls overdid it with the PDAF. Suddenly, all eyes is on PNoy’s own piece of pork. Just look at the DBM and COA, I think they’re having fun time making fun of each other.

    What we have here is Mexican standoff. Everybody in power could lose their precious pork. Expect a “win-win for all” solution is forthcoming; back to the status quo where the legislative system will function as expected.

    Even Sen. Franklin Drilon, the senate president admitted live in tv, if we want to abolish PDAF or pork barrel, we might as well abolish the legislative branch of the government.

    God help us!

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