My fellow e-Mandirigma,
I believe it is time for all of us to express our indignation over scandal after scandal involving the Arroyo administration, culminating with the indecent haste with which Erap was granted executive clemency.
Some of you might still recall that on December 13, 2000 – at the height of our eMandirigma campaigns during the Erap impeachment, eLagda successfully staged an International Day of Protest with synchronized protest actions in 21 key cities in the Philippines and throughout the world. It only took us 2 weeks to prepare for it and we showed the world that we had the capacity as a people to stand up for what is right. The event caught international attention and was even featured on CNN.com.
We'd like to do a similar synchronized international protest on November 9, 2007.
I know the timing's tight, but there are a few things working for us. First, we've done it before and some of you already know each other enough to quickly organize a small activity. Second, media – particularly TFC (The Filipino Channel), has wider reach now. We can feed them information on the planned protest action in different locations and there's a good chance that the events will be well covered. And third, there's you-tube so you can upload your particular protest action in your locality for every Filipino to see.
We'll keep it simple. All you need to do is gather at least 10 people to go the Philippine embassy or consular office and submit a manifesto. (The Manifesto appears at the end of this post). Wear black shirts. You can print slogans on the shirt, or if possible, on placards. Some suggested slogans:
Patalsikin na! Now na!
Hindi ako gago!
Hindi na kami magpapagago!
GMA – Erap ka rin!
Tama na! Sobra na!
Nakatanggap ka ba? (rhetorically addressed to Congressmen and governors)
How do we operationalize this?
If you're part of an organized group and would like to lead the protest action, just email me directly at email@example.com so I can direct people in your locality to coordinate with you. Otherwise, you may want to subscribe to any of the location-based elagda egroups so you can work with others in your location. The complete list and instructions on how to enroll are appended at the end of this message.
May I also request those who led the various cell groups in the 2000 International Day of Protest to please email me if you're interested in again leading your group for a similar action.
BTW, our brothers in the Middle East are already organizing in the key cities, while Fr. Robert Reyes will lead activities in HongKong.
We will call this event the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST KONTRA SA PANGGAGAGO.
For those of you, especially those outside of the country, who have not been closely following the recent events, please refer to a previous posting: "MQ Test". Click this to read the complete post: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elagda/message/146
Let me just add that after more than 11 days of trying to explain away the payoffs of P500K to Congressmen and Governors attending a meeting at Malacanang through several conflicting stories, the LPP (League of Provinces of the Phils.) owned up to giving out the money. And this happened on the exact same day when LPP came out with full-page ads in all major dailies declaring that there was no such exchange of money at the Palace. Grabe! Ginagago na talaga tayo.
And when the LPP ploy backfired, guess what happened next? GMA pardons Erap. For reconciliation daw. But I think it's more for obfuscation and to shift the public debate away from the scandals hounding her. No, it will not start the healing they proffer; instead, it will open up old wounds that will once again divide the nation.
If you were incensed by the racist slur of Desperate Housewives, you should be even more incensed by a Desperate President who is all too willing to mock our justice system and divide the nation just to stay in power.
To put the famous words of Abraham Lincoln in our local language:
Kaya mong gaguhin ang ilang tao sa lahat ng panahon,
Kaya mong gaguhin ang lahat ng tao paminsan-minsan,
Pero hindi mo kayang gaguhin ang lahat ng tao sa lahat ng panahon.
Tama na! Sobra na! Hindi na tayo magpapagago!
The elagda cell groups:
In December 2000, I created one egroups for each possible location for the purpose of mobilizing for the international day of protest. Many of these cell groups are marginally active, but all of them can still be reactivated for the present campaign.
The name indicates the location. For example, for Batangas, I created firstname.lastname@example.org.
To subscribe, you have to send a blank e-mail to the group's subscribe address. In the case of Batangas, you have to send a blank e-mail to email@example.com. To make it easy for you, I've included the "subscribe" suffix in the email addresses below so you can simply click on it, then click send.
To post a message, you need to send it to the egroups address (without the "subscribe" keyword). Again, using the example above, you send it to "firstname.lastname@example.org".
Here's the list of cell groups with corresponding locations:
email@example.com (for olongapo and subic)
firstname.lastname@example.org (for Cagayan de Oro)
email@example.com (for General Santos)
firstname.lastname@example.org (for Quezon City)
email@example.com (San Francisco)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Los Angeles)
email@example.com (San Diego)
firstname.lastname@example.org (New York)
Manifesto for the International Day of Protest Kontra sa Panggagago
An Urgent Appeal to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
We, Filipinos residing in ________________________________, are scandalized by the indecent haste with which President Arroyo granted executive clemency to former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada.
It came at a time that we were celebrating the fact that our judicial system could actually work, that we were able to exact accountability from the highest official of the land and convict him of the crime of plunder. The untimely pardon, which came barely 5 weeks after conviction, set aside the decision made by our courts and sends the wrong message to our people, “It’s all right to plunder. All you have to do is make a deal with the ruling power.”
We do not see this leading to national healing as the Palace would like us to believe. Instead, it has opened up old wounds that can only lead to further divisiveness amongst our people.
Neither do we see this as a sincere effort at reconciliation. We believe that this is part of a ploy to deflect attention from the ongoing ZTE scandal and palace payoffs. It merely reflects the culture of transactional politics that has led our country to moral bankruptcy.
We are alarmed at the revelations made during the Senate hearings that seem to indicate the involvement of the First Gentleman in the ZTE deal as well as apparently confirm GMA’s intimate knowledge of the bribery attempt by Benjamin Abalos on Romulo Neri. This administration does not seem inclined to bring erring officials to justice or prevent an anomalous transaction from being consummated. On the contrary, GMA allegedly instructed Neri to fast-track the approval of the National Broadband Network project with ZTE.
We are even more alarmed at ostensibly crude attempts to cover up allegations of bribery inside the very walls of Malacanang with even more bribery.
First, a weak impeachment complaint is filed, one that is doomed to fail and intended only to immunize GMA from further impeachment for another year. In this connection, the Deputy Secretary General of KAMPI – the President’s own party, allegedly offers a P2.0M bribe to Cong. Crispin Beltran to endorse the complaint.
Then, Congressmen and Governors are invited to a meeting at Malacanang, presumably to conduct a loyalty check and support the trashing of the impeachment complaint. Attendees are openly given bags with bundles of cash – as much as P500K each, as “gifts”. And when the “gift-giving” is exposed, the League of Provinces of the Philippines belatedly owns up to giving the cash, a ploy eerily similar to Iggy Arroyo owning up to the Jose Pidal account of the First Gentleman.
To make matters even worse, the Palace actually believes we will buy their excuses and cover up stories. Hindi naman siguro ganyan kagago ang mamamayang Pilipino.
We decry the blatant and brazen impunity with which GMA, her Cabinet officials, her allies in Congress and local government have lied to the people. In her desperate attempt to cling to power, she has lost all moral scruples.
We declare our loss of confidence in her leadership, and we appeal to her that if there is any sense of decency and patriotism left in her heart, that she should make the supreme sacrifice by resigning now. We believe that this is the only way that healing can truly begin and pave the way for moral reformation for our nation.
We submit this appeal with urgency, before vested interests in our society exploit the situation and lead us to unchartered and bloody modes of regime change.
Tama na! Sobra na! Hindi na kami magpapagago!