Monday, August 31, 2015

The INC Mammoth Rally: Political Implications and Where it is headed

The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) leadership is calling for a 1-million person rally by today, which happens to be the day when we commemorate the Day when our heroes sacrificed their lives for the Motherland. As what this corner said the very same day this happened, this rally is turning out to be quite political and worse, being capitalized by shady characters, among them, the braggart "Pastor" Boy Saycon.

Saycon is the lackey of Peping Cojuangco, who fell from power, the minute his nephew, Benigno S. Aquino III assumed the presidency. Saycon was himself berated for reportedly spearheading the smuggling of tons of sugar during the early days of the Aquino administration. Both controlled the sports association, a position given to them as a political accommodation. However, during the time of Peping's reign as "sports czar", the financial condition of sports' associations deteriorated due to massive graft and corruption.

Cojuangco and Saycon both claim to exercise influence over certain members of the Philippine military. The fact is, Saycon and another notorious character but less sinister than these two, Norberto Gonzales, are going around camps in previous months purportedly to rouse military men against this administration. It's fine if they are doing it for the right ideological reasons, and I do not fault Norberto for acting like that. The only thing that is despicable to my mind is the involvement of Saycon and Peping Cojuangco who have already tainted their reputations for being less ideological and more of carpetbaggers than anything. Their motivation is obvious---seize political power for themselves. Why? For their group to get juicy contracts from the government.

Saycon used to brag that he spearheaded EDSA dos, the bogus revolt that toppled Estrada. He is a member of the Council on Philippine Affairs (COPA), a group that toppled a legitimate leader and replaced it with Arroyo who reigned for nine tumultuous years. During these years, nothing came about precisely because the Cojuangco-Saycon clique defended this illegitimate administration.

The presence of Saycon at the stage of the INC was something despicable, and gut-wrenching to see. It tainted a very pure peaceful rally. Saycon and another character, Greco, a former criminal turned pastor turn political activist turn Manila councilor, should not have been allowed to speak before the INC crowd. Their presence further increased public doubts as to the real reasons why the INC church leadership called for the rally in the first place. Besides, their Powerpoint speeches were useless and worse, only propaganda.

As I was writing this, at around 8:30 this morning, August 31, the INC church leadership main evangelist, Bienvenido Santiago announced that the INC leadership has just decided to end the peaceful rally. Santiago says the church has already reached an understanding with the government. He gave no details.

This is now the problem--what was the "compromise" or  this "win-win solution" that the INC and the government had reached? 

If the government backed out and agreed to direct the Justice secretary Leila de Lima to throw out the criminal complaint, then, this is something which is quite problematic because it shows how weak this administration has become. The only solution really is for De Lima to back out of the case and let the courts decide--that is the solution. Is Malacanang ready to announce the resignation of De Lima as some form of a political compromise? This is THE problem---whatever De Lima does right now--resign because she is running for a political post this 2016 or leave the department for personal reasons-- this will surely be interpreted as linked with this issue. In my book, De Lima has been condemned for doing what she thought back then, as the right thing.

Poor De Lima. She was demonized. But, since this, as I said, became an already politicized issue, then, De Lima has nowhere else to go but down South.

Likewise, this "understanding" which Santiago said that justified the pull out of the massive crowds that occupied a part of EDSA for three days--what is the political implications of this insofar as the Liberal Party is concerned?

Again, the problem with this "understanding" is that this will further prolong public discussions about this issue. 

It is the right of the public to know what was discussed between the Aquino administration and the INC church leadership for the very simple reason that this government represents the interests of majority of Filipinos and it should be acting for and in the interests of the Filipino masses. Whatever this administration entered into should be announced for obvious reasons--to avoid a misunderstanding that this government gave an arm and a leg just for its political survival.

As I understand, in a "win-win" solution, something has to give. Someone loses some. What was the loss and the gain?

Did the Liberal Party gained from this issue? What was the compromise?