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Corona booed out of rally

JOVEN CAGANDE/ERNIE PEÑAREDONDO/EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, Philippines - The “Million People March” attracted a motley crowd, with ZTE scam whistle-blower Jun Lozada seen in Rizal Park along with Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, and ousted chief justice Renato Corona raising his fist and posing for photos in solidarity with the protesters.

After a few minutes, however, Corona was booed out of the rally by irate protesters.

Among his hecklers were marchers from his alma mater, Ateneo de Manila University.

With their thumbs down, people booed, chanted “Epal, epal,” shouted “magnanakaw” (thief) and “Corona baboy” (pig) as the retired chief justice passed by.

The booing became louder when Corona reached the Quirino Grandstand and more people realized his presence.

“Why are you here? You are all the same,” someone shouted. “This event is for ordinary people, get out of here.”

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Corona’s lawyer Dennis Manalo tried to pacify the crowd as the former magistrate left the grandstand. An unidentified woman, who tried to defend the former chief justice by saying he too was a victim of injustice, was also booed.

“The nerve to come here. It’s a disgrace to this event, “ businesswoman Eleanor Calixto said.

Calixto said they are protesting against corrupt people in government and Corona is “no different” from the senators that impeached him.

Corona was ousted from his post last year after senators, sitting as an impeachment court, found him guilty of culpable violation of the Constitution for non-disclosure of millions of assets in his statement of assets, liabilities and  net worth.

Corona, his wife Cristina and daughter Carla were first seen having breakfast at the Manila Hotel before 9 a.m.

Call for accountability

In an interview before they went to the Quirino Grandstand, Corona said he was “one with our people in their anger over abuses in the use of pork barrel and in the call for accountability of public officers.”

“We thought the taxes deducted from monthly salaries of ordinary working class and government employees are properly used, but it turns out they are not,” he said.

He also asked why the report released by the Commission on Audit on  the pork barrel scam covered only the allocations from 2007 to 2009.

“How about 2010 to the present?” he asked.

Other personalities booed

Atienza, a former Manila mayor, was also booed while being interviewed by a TV reporter for saying he was pushing for the abolition of the pork barrel.

He was one of several officials accused by Lozada of playing a role in spiriting him away to Hong Kong and then in an apparent attempt to kidnap the whistle-blower at the height of the ZTE scandal.

Designer JC Buendia and host Raymond Gutierrez were also heckled. Some protesters shouted “epal” at them.

Former Miss Universe Gloria Diaz, TV host Willie Revillame and singers Jim Paredes, Jograd de la Torre and Noel Cabangon were also seen during the rally.

Some members of the media, who were on their day off, also joined the rally.

Enterprising individuals sold snacks, T-shirts, hats and umbrellas.

Mini-concert

The indignation rally turned into a mini-concert as the crowd sang socially relevant songs.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle started it all when he enjoined the public to sing “Pananagutan,” which is usually sung in churches.

With clenched fist, the crowd also sang “Bayan Ko” a couple of times.

The crowd favorite was De la Torre’s “Kawatan,” a parody of British singer Jessie J’s

“Price Tag.” Part of the lyrics of the song goes: “Huwag ganid sa pera baka kayo ma karma.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said there is nothing wrong with prosecutors and employees joining the march.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said joining a peaceful rally with a legitimate causeis within the rights of everybody,including governmentemployees. –With Aie Balagtas See,Cecille Suerte Felipe

 

 

 

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