A Million People March
Four days after the event: Everything that has to be said has already been posted online. A blog seems superfluous now, especially because the march has been overtaken by other big news headlines:
- Our president had offered a reward of P10 million to anyone who can lead to the arrest of the object of everyone's wrath, Janet Napoles. Hours later, the fugitive surrendered.
- The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court met the press, an unprecedented move by the judiciary which has maintained its dignified silence since time immemorial.
- The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has begun its probe on the scandalous pork barrel scam, beginning with an inquest on the Commission on Audit (COA) report
Nevertheless, I look back to the “A Million People March” as probably one of the peak moments of our nation's political history. Armed with nothing but prayers, I expected a melee between the leftists and hotheads from the right or center. After all, people have been collectively angry at one issue: corruption.
But what I experienced didn't even come close to the combustive anger I had read on FB. People of all ages, in white shirts and blouses, spilled out of nowhere and converged in Luneta, where no program of any kind was held. People came in groups and policed their own ranks.
The leftists unleashed their usual tirade against the government in one area. Families brought their picnic baskets. Many organizations unfurled their flags. Helicopters whirred overhead. Nationalistic songs were sung sporadically. Religious groups huddled to pray and sing praise songs. All kinds of leaflets were distributed. There were rows and rows of squeaky clean portalets. Smiling policemen stood in attention. Pig costumes and masks enlivened the gathering. Some guys even carried a real lechon.
And I had goose bumps. Not at the lechon but at the miracle around and above me.
The crowd was a melange of different personalities, ideologies, and demographics. And I thought, only grace could make it possible for us to come together in a peaceful and polite co-existence to show our disdain over what is wrong in our society.
Tony and I met his grade-school classmates (and their spouses) at a designated place and together, we marched to Luneta.
Walking the stretch of Roxas Boulevard, I remembered the EDSA People Power—that glorious time in our land. Then, we toppled a dictator. This time, we were trying to topple the ugly head of corruption.
Whether we would be successful, as we were then, remains to be seen. But the Luneta event was a beautiful start.
I am grateful for how the Lord helped us mount it. And I should be rejoicing at the event sailing through the way it did, but I am pained at how it has emboldened many participants to gloat, now more vicious than ever—acting as judge, jury, and executioner.
On FB are now a slew of mud-slinging, name-calling, back-stabbing—carelessly ruining many reputations with unverified accusations, unabated cursing, and unbridled speculations. If this goes on, these word slayers are no better than the people they are damning.
I feel that through the march, we have spoken. Yes, we should remain vigilant while due process takes its course, and there is such a thing as rightful indignation, but I wish we didn't have to take our cause to the gutter.
Or we throw away the grace that enabled us to pull it off.
(Aerial photo was grabbed from the Internet.)