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At Large

‘Dasal at Ayuno’

Ongoing in the environs of the Supreme Court is the “Dasal at Ayuno para sa Katotohanan at Katarungan” (Prayer and Fasting for Truth and Justice) that seeks to unite people of faith in praying for the country. The activity began last May 1 and will culminate on May 11, the day specified by the high court to hand down its decision on the quo warranto petition filed against Chief Justice (on leave) Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The activity is, say the organizers, “an interfaith expression of sacrifice to the Lord, as Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals and Muslims cry out to God for the restoration of truth, justice and righteousness in our ‘Inang Bayan.’” Those leading the activity are Gomburza, a gathering of progressive clergy, religious and laity led by Fr. Robert Reyes, and evangelical pastors associated with the Coalition for Justice.

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Though many other social and political issues will be discussed and reflected upon during the “Dasal at Ayuno,” the highlight of the spiritual/political exercise is the “utter disregard” by the Supreme Court for the Constitution, “and the serious threat this poses to judicial independence as the Court rushes to a decision on the quo warranto.”

Equally important is the responsibility “to bring to light the serious consequences of granting the quo warranto, and the deep and far-reaching impact of a compromised judicial system on the major issues plaguing the motherland.” Among these consequences has been the targeting of women—individually and as a sector—for harassment, slut-shaming, denigration, exploitation, physical threats if not actual killing, and (in the case of Sen. Leila de Lima) detention and (in the case of Sister Patricia Fox) deportation.

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“Dasal at Ayuno” will also be a venue for learning and reflection on related social and political issues, with each day of the fast devoted to a specific sector and the impact of a compromised justice system on that sector.

Widows and orphans of extrajudicial killings were featured on May 2, and “Victims of Political Persecution,” with focus on Senator De Lima, was the specific topic on May 3. The next day’s theme was “Threat to Sovereignty” with focus on the West Philippine Sea. “Women and Peace” was the featured topic yesterday, with focus on Marawi City. Today, “Farmers’ Issues” will be the dominant theme, with focus on Sister Pat.

Tomorrow, the topic is “Intimidation of Media and the Spread of Fake News,” with focus on the case of Rappler’s Pia Ranada. Jover Laurio of “Pinoy Ako Blog” and I have agreed to be speakers at the afternoon session. It starts at 5 p.m.

On May 8, “Indigenous People, Environmental Justice and Mining,” with focus on Vicky Tauli Corpuz (who has been accused of maligning the country in her work for the UN abroad) will be the featured topic. On May 9, discussions on “Urban Poor, Labor and ‘Endo’” will be the main topic, with focus on Vice President Leni Robredo. On May 10, the featured topic is “Judicial Independence and the Constitution,” with focus on CJ Sereno.

There is a group of “core fasters” staying at the venue and doing the full 10-day fast. But organizers say others can still take part in this exercise, whether at the “Dasal at Ayuno” tent or in your own homes or institutions. Some may choose to do a full-day fast for a day, three days or five days, or else they can do a partial fast for as many days as they are able.

Other roles that volunteers can take on are: as marshals to protect the core fasters especially at night; communication team members; participants during the prayer activities, daily forums, and religious activities like the interfaith prayer, processions and candle-lighting; and as resource providers for the practical needs of the fasters, like drinking water, sleeping cots, tents and others.

Say the “Dasal at Ayuno” leaders: “We’ve reached a point in our history when the separation between darkness and light has become increasingly stark, and the line between good and evil needs to be clearly drawn. We all need to know where we stand.

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“We pray that you will join us in this fight.”

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TAGS: At Large, Dayal At Ayuno, Maria Lourdes Sereno, quo warranto petition, Rina Jimenez-David, Supreme Court
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