Sunday, February 17, 2008

Regaining a soul

I couldve sworn I had the digicam in my bag. I get to the office and looked in the bag to check if the battery needed charging and all that, and what do you know, I left it in another bag. Luckily I had the XA2 film camera in the office and it had film in it, so I went and brought that. Four o' clock came and I made my way to Ayala. It was a cloudy afternoon and I was a bit apprehensive that I won't have enough light since the camera was loaded with slower film (ASA 100), and it didnt have a flash, but what are you going to do? I had at most an hour and a half til light fades and my camera becomes useless.

I was able to make my way through the crowds and ended up right at the stage amidst the news reporters and photographers. I was right beside Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes who was coordinating things from the ground as well as giving interviews. I saw Bibeth Orteza, Ricky Recto, Satur Ocampo, and I realized, holy crap, this was the front-row, VIP seat. I looked around and seated behind me was a veritable who's who: Former VP Teofisto Guingona, Ernesto Maceda, Josie Lichauco, and various Makati mestizo types from the business elite.

Bibeth Orteza emceed the second segment of the program

The feisty former DOTC secretary Josie Lichauco

Satur Ocampo

Former VP Tito Guingona with former senator Ernie Maceda

Mayor Jojo Binay

Every sector was represented: the religious, the EDSA 2 people, the EDSA 3 people, the left, the soldiers, students. It was a coming together. The closest thing to a politician who took the stage was UNO's spokesman Adel Tamano, who greeted the crowd in a traditional Muslim greeting. His message was one of unity in the face of the administration's efforts to divide us. Indeed, differences were forgotten that day as all came together to call for Mrs. Arroyo's resignation.

Hello, Garci? Wrong number, pare.

Speaker from the United Church of Christ of the Philippines,
victims of extra-judicial killings

'Running priest' Robert Reyes, who's not about to run from anybody it seems

National artist Prof. Bienvenido Lumbrera gives the Arroyo administration
a failing grade

Jessica Zafra's pals. They thought some of the crowd was hakot and proceeded
to retire to a nearby Starbucks.

When the Wuds took the stage and rocked the joint, even Satur Ocampo got up to dance, together with the other leaders. It had that EDSA I feel to it; a protest rally with the air of a fiesta. I was beside some old ladies when Brownman Revival took the stage and one little old lady was sufficiently impressed and asked me who they were. When The Jerks took the stage, it was all the crowd could do to contain themselves.

The Wuds prepare to rock the house

And Ricky Recto gets jiggy with it.

By the time Joey De Venecia took the stage, it was dark, and Ive run out of film. You could tell he wasnt used to speaking in front of a crowd, but he had them and they were cheering their support. Chants of "Joey, Joey". One can't help thinking that this man, a former substance abuser who loved to party (an aunt of mine remembered him smoking a joint in one of the parties she attended, and he was just 17 at the time), has finally come of age. He's no saint, sure. Neither is Lozada. But like Lozada, he probably took stock of the state of his soul, his self-respect, and decided to save what's left of it, defying his father's wish that he just shut up. I looked out at the crowd, the urban poor were there cheering beside the Makati elite, and knew we could win. I felt a vibe, an energy there that was missing in rallies before. This one had a moral force. The middle class was well represented, and it does seem that they found their soul again. The students found their compass. The masa who once felt betrayed by the middle class, joined them for this fight. Jun Lozada has given them an example and theyre inspired. It also had a triumphant air about it.

I couldnt help thinking that we could win this 'war' but winning the peace would be harder.

Sobra na, tama na, kumilos na, 'tang %$#!!

Addendum 18 Feb 08 11:44. Mea culpa, I forgot this bit, which was quite moving really. (No excuses, I suck.) A man came to the foot of the stage beside me and handed emcee Bibeth Orteza a plastic bottle full of coins. Bibeth said the man was a jeepney driver and he took up a collection for Jun Lozada. It was his bit to help Jun.


cvj said...

Once again, great reporting! Good thing your film camera did not fail you.

Jego said...

Thanks. I couldve done the whole bit and interviewed some people but I was too busy being "part of the news". Let the others do the objective reporting bit. :-)

And I love that 20-year old camera.

john marzan said...

jessica zafra said:

Some friends of mine attended the rally on Ayala Avenue last Friday. They walked over from their offices. As the rally progressed, they grew more and more uncomfortable. They were surrounded by the hakot crowd—busloads of people who had been paid by politicians to appear at the event. This is not about class or snobbery. This is about wanting to express your outrage, and finding that the guy standing next to you was paid to show up. You hope that his outrage is genuine, and you really can’t begrudge him accepting money because he probably needs it. But it’s not right. This is not what People Power was supposed to be. People were supposed to be united by their convictions. Now it’s been reduced to a show of numbers. My friends repaired to a nearby Starbucks, where a whole bunch of people who had also come to the rally from their offices had also taken refuge. That’s what they were: refugees.

I wonder if the "friends" Jessica is using for her source is actually herself. I wonder if she was at that rally herself (not because she supports the cause, but as an "bong austero-ish" usisero) and was just looking something negative to say, but couldn't express her opinions publicly (for it might tar her as a closet arroyo defender), so she made up some "imaginary friends" and lent her voice to them. ;)

Jego said...

Haha. May friends naman siguro si Miss Zafra. Ang bad mo, John. Lagot ka kay Joker. :-D

grifter said...

Forrest? Forrest Gump? is that you?

UP n student said...

Huwag lang kalimutan si Maria Luisa Dominado.