Re: SONA2007 photos

July 27, 2007 at 2:41 am Leave a comment

An email reply

Demonstrations are not new. Even before the election of the partylist congressmen, demonstrations like these have been going on—during the Marcos years, Cory and all the presidents since then. A rally is an occasion to ventilate issues through placards, streamers, speeches, street plays and the like. It is one form shrine in the Constitution, freedom of assembly, for redress of grievances by the citizens. Isn’t it a fine thing that people would still try to redress grievances via demonstrations with the hope that the authorities would be prodded to act on them rather than take the law into their own hands?

Let me cite some specific examples. Mrs. Connie Empeño, the mother of the still missing abducted UP student Karen, took a vacation leave for one day (and without pay — she is a public school principal) so she could march with her entire family and carry placards asking for justice for her daughter, and demanding too that the military release her daughter, if still alive, or send her the body, if already dead.

Aside from joining demonstrations like this, Mrs. Empeño and her family have resorted to all the legal means, including writing the President, DOJ, etc which unfortunately have not produced results, not even a reply from any of them, not even a short note, verbal or written, assuring her family that the authorities are doing everything to look for her abducted daughter, their favorite scholar ng bayan, in the family.

And there are hundreds of them, all in a similar situation and with the same problem and grievance to be redressed. For them, it is certainly not a waste of time nor resources nor even the loss of a precious day’s pay to join activities like this to ventilate the issues and seek justice.

Another is Dr. Edita Burgos, mother of Jonas Burgos, abducted by the military two months ago. She has joined every demonstration of the relatives of the victims quite apart from writing letters to the authorities, even seeking audience with them, with also no results yet.

I think that when you are confronted with issues like that, and it concerns your loved ones who were killed or missing, you would not think of the difficulties of marching and standing under the heat of the sun, carrying a placard with you, or even spending hard-earned pesos.

Well, different personal circumstances produce different responses. I have known or seen some of those who are missing or killed and I always find the strength to cover the rallies on these issues from the thought that these men and women were working for something higher than themselves. One wishes there were more of them.

Others join demonstratons on the basis of their belief in issues. Thus, there is our FSH Josie Lichauco who feels strongly against the continuing extrajudicial killings now in the 880s count, and of course all the anomalies in the elections and in government. There is also our other FSH former UP Dean Connie Paz who is focused too on the issue of killings and governance. And certainly there are the church workers, priests and nuns and layworkers, who are a permanent fixture in these demonstrations, joining them on the basis of moral and Christian principles.

People who demonstrate or try to redress their grievances by variousl means, including demonstrations, of course, do not always initially win their case. Which reminds me of a quotable quote from a Reader’s Digest issue given to me when I was in detention in Fort Bonifacio in late 1992:

“Don’t believe that winning is really everything. It’s more important to stand for something. If you don’t stand for something, what do you win?”

Just wondering: what if people would just sit idly by, don’t speak up, or stage demonstrations or pickets? Would the world be a better place?

As Alex Kho would express it when dissenting, Anong Say Mo, Brod?


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