Last Wednesday's "EDSA Tayo" rally-slash-vigil was attended by a swarm of flies. I'm talking figuratively here, because from what I saw in the news (and from when I looked outside the window of the MRT train I rode on my way to work), the event failed to gather its targeted number of attendees. The same thing happened with the Million People march last August, when the total number of people around the country who joined the march failed to reach a million.
And if it's not enough, there's another march to Luneta today, as I've heard from the radio news, and it's still to call for the scrapping of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel. If the march proves unsuccessful, the reason for the failure will have to be that the resolve of the people in there to have the pork barrel scrapped isn't strong enough.
Or that there are not enough of them in the march.
Like they say, there is strength in numbers.
The reason why the first two "People Power" revolutions worked is because millions of people fearlessly converged and assembled for a common cause: to call for the ouster of the head honchos at those times. In retrospect, though, they only constituted a fraction of the entire country's population, that's why in some way, it's a question to me how they could represent the sentiment of the whole country when they were a mere 2% of the entire population.
Internet power is not people power
The Internet is too powerful that it goes out of control more often than not in the hands of even normal people. Two senators even called for the passing of the Anti-Cybercrime and Anti-Cyberbullying Bills, which clearly go against the people's rights to freedom of expression over the Internet.
It's that same level of power that's making those lawmakers second-guess the passing of the Freedom of Information Bill; because if that bill becomes law, they'll be required to reveal all their projects—whether they're legitimate or questionable. That's how powerful the Internet is.
But at the end of the day, I don't think Internet power equates to people power. Then again, "people power" isn't comparable to THE people power—one where the majority of the nation's citizens are involved and actively participating.
Speaking of overlooking stuff, apparently, it's also because the administration shrugged the announcement of the Misuari faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) last month that they were planning to declare their independence from the Philippine government anytime soon that the standoff in Zamboanga happened. Not only did it inconvenienced and jeopardized the city's economy, it also caused nationwide panic, especially when thousands were held hostage, not to mention that it claimed lives from both sides of the gunfire.
I think we can try to connect the Moro group's declaration of independence to the pork barrel scam. While they may have hinted a month ago that they were planning to declare their autonomy, I think we can hold the pork barrel scam accountable for further fueling their desire to separate themselves. Their declaration last Monday could be their expression of disgust at the government for being such thieves—that they did what they did to say that don't want to be part of a country where its government takes away from its people instead of serving them. If that's the case, I agree with them.
Though the violence that took place is still unjustifiable.
The power to distract
I was thinking that the timing was impeccable; we were all too focused on the scam, that the MNLF's seemingly unconstitutional declaration of independence from our republic caught us all by surprise. I felt that it somehow seemed convenient especially for the politicians (administration and opposition alike) involved in the scandal that it happened—at the expense of our poor soldiers and residents in Zambo.
It also seemed timely to me that the declaration took place two days before the EDSA Tayo march. It might also be the reason for the small number of attendees in the march; the prospected attendees might have entertained the thought that some MNLF members would be in Manila to wreak havoc in the event, so they decided to go to the self-preservation route and protested over the Internet, and that may be why flies swarmed in the event instead.
If I were to talk about a conspiracy theory, the government might have concocted a plan with the Moro group to create chaos and concern for the people's safety, so that they would divert their attention from the scandal that implicates high-profile public servants. It could be true, but we have no way to say that it is.
All this stuff would never have happened if our public servants were true to their oaths. Their transgressions only serve to solidify my thoughts about our politicians: they all worship money, and they are willing to lie for the sake of it.
To quote Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago:
"How to tell if a politician is telling the truth:
Whenever he’s crossing his arms, he might be telling the truth.
Whenever he’s stroking his chin, he might be telling the truth.
Whenever he looks at you straight in the eyes, he might be telling the truth.
But when he opens his mouth, he is lying."
Alvin has spoken.