‘People Power is alive’ Baclaran, Edsa, Mendiola ring with ‘Gloria resign’ call

February 26, 2008









people powerFORMER President Corazon Aquino and key Senate witness Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada led yesterday’s “Mass for Truth” at the Baclaran church to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the 1986 Edsa “people power revolt” that ended the Marcos dictatorship.

At the Edsa Shrine, Catholic bishops and cause-oriented groups offered a thanksgiving Mass while militant groups marched to the Don Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola) bridge near Malacañang.

About 7,000 to 10,000 heard the Mass at the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran. The police figure was 4,000 to 6,000.

Aquino, in her trademark yellow dress, arrived at about 2:45 p.m. followed shortly by Lozada. They were met with loud applause.

Fr. Joey Echano who co-celebrated the Mass along with 15 priests, said “people power” is not dead. He said the Redemptorist Church was also the place where 24 computer personnel of the Commission on Elections sought refuge after they refused to cheat for the Marcos administration during the 1986 snap elections.

On the wall behind him was the message: “Only the truth, not lies and deceits, will set us free. This truth challenges us now to communal action.”

“Tama na, sobra na, kumilos na. Hindi patay ang People Power ito ay sisibol pagdating ng panahon,” said Fr. Echano.

He said the country is facing a crisis of truth and morality very much the same 22 years ago. He said change cannot be effected without truth and justice.

He said truth is needed not only on the overpriced national broadband network deal but also in the cases of political killings, the “Hello Garci” electoral fraud, the P729 million fertilizer scam, and the alleged anomalous North and South railway contracts.

Aquino said she believed Lozada the first time he came out with his revelations on the NBN-ZTE deal.

“Awang awa na ako sa yo at sa yong pamilya pero darating din ang araw na magkakaroon ng kapayapaan at aalalahanin ng buong bansa ang iyong katapatan,” Aquino said.

P10M BOUNTY

Lozada, who was seated beside Aquino, bared fresh threats to his life, saying his opponents have told him he has a P10 million bounty on his head.

“Iba na po ang death threat sa akin ngayon. Dati text lang, ngayon itinatawag na nila. Ang sinasabi sa akin, ‘Lozada, P10 million ang patong sa ulo mo. Nag-aagawan kami kung sino ang unang makakapatay sa iyo,’” he said.

Lozada has linked First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and resigned Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos to irregularities in the ZTE contract in his testimonies before the Senate.

Lozada said he would not be silenced by the threats.

“Babagsak na naman tayo kung ang iniisip natin ay ang itulak lang ang kasamaan. Sa tingin ko po sa pangatlong beses, magtatagumpay na tayo dahil manggaling na po sa kabutihan puso ng bawat Pilipino ang ating pagkilos,” he added.

‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’

Fr. Eliseo Mercado, who said he has been a friend of President Arroyo since her days as trade undersecretary, joined calls for her resignation because she has lost the moral ascendancy to lead.

“President Arroyo should step down and give way to a constitutional transition of power. There’s honor on her part if she steps down rather down be ousted.” Fr. Mercado said.

He said there is a great chance Arroyo will be ousted if she insists on staying as president.

“People know when enough is enough and now they can feel that it is enough,” he said.

DONATIONS FOR LOZADA

A booth manned by volunteers from the Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation, a religious organization, gathered signatures of support and cash donations for Lozada.

At about 5 p.m., close to 50,000 people have signed their names. Donations reached P1,007,536.

Other personalities in the Mass were Ramon del Rosario of the Makati Business Club, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Vicente Romano and Leah Navarro of the Black and White Movement, Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., La Salle’s Bro. Armin Luistro, former Senate president Franklin Drilon, Gina de Venecia, Namfrel chairman Edward Go, former Presidential adviser on the Peace Process Teresita “Ging” Deles, Lozada’s sister Carmen, Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo, House minority leader Roilo Golez, former Finance secretary Cesar Purisima, former BIR Commissioner Guillermo Parayno, former chair of the National Anti-Poverty Commission Imelda Nicolas, actor Rez Cortez, and Grace Llamanzares, daughter of the late Fernando Poe Jr.

At the Edsa Shrine, about 400 people attended the Mass celebrated by Bishops Teodoro Bacani (Novaliches) and Deogracias Iñiguez (Caloocan).

Among the Mass goers were members of cause-oriented and party-list groups like Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baracquel of Akbayan; former Rep. Etta Rosales, also of Akbayan; Jimmy Regalario, president of the Kilusang Makabayang Ekonomiya; and Princess Nemenzo of the Freedom from Debt Coalition.

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