‘No destabilization plot during anti-corruption rally in EDSA’

Jaime Laude - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Senior security officials said yesterday that they have not monitored any plot to use the scheduled anti-corruption rally along EDSA on Sept. 11 to launch a destabilization campaign against the Aquino government.

Rally organizers said the protest action, dubbed “Sa EDSA Tayo,” is a continuation of the “Million People March” against the pork barrel held in  Rizal Park in Manila on Aug. 26.

Up to 100,000 people joined the Rizal Park rally to demand the abolition of the pork barrel after public outcry spread over the reported scam allegedly led by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, who has been linked to the diversion of funds of several lawmakers through dummy non-government organizations (NGOs) purportedly for ghost projects worth over P10 billion.

Napoles, owner of JLN Corp., has been accused by her distant relative and former trusted assistant Benhur Luy – the whistle-blower in the scandal – as the brains behind the racket and of pocketing billions of pesos of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of several senators and congressmen.

“We don’t see any destabilization indicator in this forthcoming EDSA Tayo rally,” said a senior security official who was among the members of the uniformed services that were involved in the plot to overthrow former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Another official said that there is no ingredient to destabilize the government as President Aquino is standing on solid ground in his anti-corruption campaign that the public supports.

“How can you go against the President when he is the one leading the charge in stamping out corruption in the government? How can there be a destabilization when destabilizers are supposed to be targeting the President?” he said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), for its part, said it respects freedom of speech and assembly as long it is exercised within the bounds of law.

Lt Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP spokesman, said the military, being a professional organization, would always remain non-partisan.

He declined to comment on speculation that several groups might take advantage of the EDSA rally to advance vested political interests.

Organizers of the EDSA rally said the scheduled event is a prayer vigil against the pork barrel fund that is a source of corruption in the country.

“Sa EDSA Tayo is not a political rally. This is not a call for the President to resign,” said Junep Ocampo, an organizer of the event, in his Facebook account.

Meanwhile, thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in various countries would stop dollar remittances for one day to protest corruption and demand the immediate abolition of the pork barrel system.

Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairman, said Filipino workers abroad would observe a “zero remittance day” on Sept. 19 to show their outrage over corruption in  government.

“By not remitting for one day, Filipinos all over the world will use their economic power to make a stand against corruption, patronage politics and social injustice,” Martinez disclosed.

Martinez said Filipino migrants will refrain from remitting to demand the abolition of the pork barrel system, including that of President Aquino, and to punish all those involved in the scam. – With Mayen Jaymalin 



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