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Philippines: Freedom from Corruption and Plunder on Independence Day
On Independence Day, we call upon all Filipinos to take a stand and take back what is rightfully ours.
Good governance, with full transparency and accountability, is the people’s basic right. On this day of freedom, let us send this strong message: Zero Tolerance for state corruption, mismanagement and neglect. Let us break free from the crippling hold of corruption, perpetrated by individuals at the very heart of government.
The long-running Pork Barrel scam masterminded by Janet Napoles and other scammers like her, as well as recent events where we continue to be robbed blind of justice, transparency, and untold losses to our national budget, make a mockery of our justice system and other tenets of Philippine democracy.
As such, we shall mark June 12, 2014 as the day we confront all public servants who have failed to fulfill their duties and who have broken the public trust bestowed upon them. The true enemies of the state are some of our own leaders, having plundered an estimated P200 billion, robbing national coffers dry. These internal enemies have direly sabotaged national development, hindering resolution of pressing concerns and efforts to face external threats.
Many of our very own law-makers are our biggest law-breakers. On 6.12.14, Freedom from Corruption Day, we declare, “Enough!”
We do not speak as a single organization but rather as the collective voice of outraged Filipinos. We are a growing coalition of individuals and groups, disgusted at the rapidly deteriorating level of public service despite claims of economic growth. If you are one of the tens of millions hit by low wages, high costs, lack of healthcare, low standards of education, and poor national infrastructure, join us. If you are one of the multitudes who continue to wonder where the money goes, join us.
We get the government that we deserve. The time to act and demand payback is now. Lists and affidavits, from the Napoles scam alone, indicate that a crippling chunk of Senate and Congress are involved. With as many as 25 (incumbent and former) Senators, 100+ Congressmen, and even a few Cabinet officials implicated, this is nothing short of a national scandal. But these very same purported lists are used by our leaders to continue politicking and jockeying for position – an indication of the shameless lengths they will resort to, for selfish promotion and not just self-preservation.
The so-called Napolist, a public document, was withheld from the public for weeks, with the people possibly being last to be privy to its details. Have we so easily forgotten that the second EDSA uprising was a result of a similar situation?
Citizens worldwide are demanding more from the governments that serve them. Asia is changing and the world is changing around us. Our turn for a change for the better is way past due.
We are calling for the purging and imprisonment of all those implicated in the plunder of our nation’s assets. Many months have passed and yet not a single person has been convicted, of the over 100 accused. We ask our President Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. to not engage in the coddling of these most despicable of criminals, lest he be tagged as an accessory to over 100 of the most heinous crimes in Philippine history.
We are weary of having our protests fall on deaf ears. We will make ourselves heard worldwide via a massive public demonstration on the scheduled date, a day of reckoning for all of the accused. If our cries remain unheeded, we shall resort to more drastic measures by or before the 1st year marking the Million People March at Luneta on August 26. These may include a Metro-wide strike, a welgang bayan, or national day of protest and widespread civil disobedience.
Let the chips fall where they may.
UNITY STATEMENT OF THE 6.12.14 Protest Coalition
“The Philippines is a democratic and republican state. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.” – Article II, Section 1, The Philippine Constitution.
The painfully slow progress in the investigation and prosecution of the pork scandals involving Janet Lim-Napoles’ network, among others, robs the nation blind in the realms of justice and transparency, and steals energy that could otherwise be focused on development tasks.
The expanse and breadth of the corruption linked to pork shakes the very foundation of Filipino society. The delays and theatrics, whether by the current crop of suspects or the incumbent administration, make a mockery of the basic tenets of Philippine democracy.
The Filipino people have been given the run-around. Several reports and lists -- from the Commission on Audit, to those collated by Benhur Luy and other whistleblowers, to the various Napoles lists -- show a vast number of legislators and executive department officials involved in pork-related corruption.
All these sectors seemingly use and discard lists or delete names according to their interests. Until now, we have yet to see a hint of resolution of this controversy. From the camps of those already named in plunder cases, all the way to President Aquino, what we see are efforts to tar enemies but coddle allies.
Enough! The Filipino people demand full transparency and accountability from all branches of the government.
From now on, Zero Tolerance for any aspect of the culture of corruption. We demand that the government probe, prosecute and Jail All found guilty of stealing and misusing the people’s money and abusing the people’s trust. No one must be spared.
We call on each and every Filipino to come out and join this Unified Expression of Outrage and Disgust. Together, Let Us All Demand Our Freedom from – 6.12.14
There is nothing hard to understand about “ALL.” If you refuse to even start an investigation, then you are coddling the corrupt. We address this to you, President Aquino: Start acting like the President of the nation, not just of your friends. Let the wheels of justice turn and give much-needed closure to this travesty.
We are counting on you, Mr. President. Are you with us? Or against us?
With the People or with the real enemies of the State? It is time to call on President Aquino to back the people on specific issues pertaining to the theft and misuse of public monies.
Malacanang’s attempt to once more show the President as blameless in the pork scandals does not wash. Secretary Lacierda interprets public outcry for a probe of charges involving Budget Secretary Abad, Agriculture Secretary Alcala and other allies, as signs of failure to rake up any guilt on the part of the President.
That is dodging the issue. EVERY public official is accountable. To clear a friend in government of guilt without the benefit of an investigation is a violation of the tenets of public accountability. Those who enable the corrupt usually benefit from the corruption, whether in terms of financial bonanza or strengthening their hold on power.
Secretary Coloma also betrays this administration’s mindset when he says the Supreme Court must consider “good intentions” in its review of the DAP. He is also very forgetful of history: Tyrants have always bannered good intentions in stomping against civil liberties and established democratic systems.
The government tries to mislead the public when it presents the outcry against corruption as an attempt to divert attention from the long-running pork scandals. The People have called loudly and consistently for cases to be filed against those already named. Where are those cases? The People have also loudly and consistently called for investigations to expand and include all named in various lists – including those mentioned by Commission on Audit reports, Benhur Luy and other whistleblowers and Napoles.
The Justice Department says it is still “vetting” those lists. So why is Malacanang so eager to clear its allies immediately? Refusing to take the first steps to establishing accountability IS a form of corruption. It could also be a sign of guilt and cover-up. ZERO TOLERANCE for corruption. ENOUGH OF CODDLING THE CORRUPT. Hasten the filing of charges against all those probed already. Expand the investigation to cover both opposition and administration politicians and executive officials. Expedite those probes and file charges as warranted. No special treatment for those undergoing trial. And JAIL ALL the guilty.
In order to make ourselves heard, our coalition of all concerned groups and citizens will mount a protest on June 12 at 3PM at the Kartilya ng Katipunan (Bonifacio Shrine) situated next to the Manila City Hall. The event, titled “Ouch PiNOY – Sagutin. Managot. Kung hindi… LAGOT!” is a challenge to our President from millions of Filipinos hurt by widespread corruption. It is also a call to every Filipino citizen to demand what we deserve from our leaders. Groups comprising the growing coalition, at this point, are:
2. NATIONALIST MOVEMENT
3. ANTI-TRAPO MOVEMENT
12. PARTIDO LAKAS NG MASA
14. PHIL. TRIAL BY JURY MOVEMENT
20. KONTRA PORK
22. YOUTH ACT NOW/UST CENTRAL STUDENT COMMITTEE
23. KILOS KAAYUSAN
25. KONTRA PORK
28. SAVE THE NATION
30. GRAND JURY/TRIAL BY JURY
31. LUPON PARA SA MARTSA PARA SA KALAYAAN
34. BUKLOD POLITICAL PARTY
35. STOP CORRUPTION PHIL
36. GREEN DREAM/UNION