There was no storm, no protest of the raging sort to shake up or terrify the Noynoy Aquino administration.
Among the early birds to move into the Rizal Park, hub of the million people march against abominable park barrel, was Mac Orendain, patron of the arts and veteran street protester.
“Only a pig can love the true pleasures of pork,” Orendain scribbled on the white public board at the right side of the main street leading to the Quirino Grandstand on Monday.
The message carried the right cynicism, but lacked the original sting of Orendain’s patented indignation jabs.
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A storm of protests had indeed brewed after President Aquino initially announced he was not favoring the outright abolition of the pork barrel.
It was an uneasy weekend at Malacañang.
But by Monday, day of the protest proper, the disturbance readily dissipated.
The weather, riotous and truly terrifying the past week, was in no screaming mood itself.
It was drizzly but mostly pleasant; there was a mild, poetic breeze blowing through the park that was now turned into a sparkling canvas abloom with countless colorful umbrellas.
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People came and, finding no pageant or holding program, moved out to mill about aimlessly. Whole families stayed under tents, other pocket groups spread out plastic foil mats, resorting to instant mini picnics among themselves.
There were sporadic marching chants—“Makibaka, huwag maki-baboy”—leaflets were passed around, and young volunteers went around with a pen and sheet of paper to gather signatures and call for total abolition of the pork barrel—in whatever form.
The scheduled march had turned into a holiday break, mainly for the gray, well-heeled senior citizens who must’ve moved out of their carpeted air-conditioned residences for the first time in many years.
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Tony Bulatao, self-taught street sociologist, left his Pasig Bliss residence at daybreak and was at the park early. After withdrawing close to noontime, he expressed mild surprise over the composition of the throng which, he said, consisted mainly of the upper middle-class.
“There was no C or D people out there, so it’s hard to call it a people’s march, the masa was neither involved nor significantly represented,” Bulatao told the Inquirer.
Not a march of the disabled either; although there were old nuns and a number of the handicapped, either in wheel chairs or leaning on walkers and canes, mingling about, Bulatao said he was hardly surprised there was no unifying theme or cry among the scattered marchers.
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He was right. There was no tangible anger.
But the air seethed sharply with disgust, bordering on the complete loss of faith.
There was indeed boiling displeasure at the manner President Aquino had presided over the pork barrel scam.
In fact, Mr. Aquino was visibly roused from bed the day before the march in order to hurriedly declare he was actually for the abolition of the pork barrel.
The surprise announcement was openly interpreted as “damage control.”
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Anyway, Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz next decried what he termed “a litany of failures in governance” under President Aquino.
“There are many other issues which began with the KKK (kabarkada, kabarilan at kaklase), and then the Luneta hostage, the Sabah issue, before the pork barrel,” Cruz noted.
Archbishop Cruz did not say it, but President Aquino could also be likened to a fumbling point guard who has been irresponsibly let loose to call the shots in the national game.
Yes, it was only the tip of the iceberg but, like it or not, it should also serve as storm warning.